Hyundai and Kia reassess fuel economy ratings, reimburse customers

2013 Hyundai Accent

Both Hyundai and Kia recently announced voluntary adjustments to fuel economy estimates on several models ranging from the 2011-13 model year. In addition to the fuel efficiency ratings corrections, both automakers plan to compensate buyers for the difference.

Fuel economy estimates are a funny thing. We often hear anecdotally how many automakers’ fuel economy estimates are overreaching, especially as fuel economy standards increase. Customers frequently wonder how such numbers are generated and how they can be so inaccurate.

Trying to concisely explain how automakers and the EPA come up with fuel economy figures is just like trying to explain torque; it virtually can’t be done. That’s why it comes as no surprise that the smoke and mirrors that is fuel economy estimates has proven a liability for a two major automakers: Hyundai and Kia.

Owned by the same parent corporation and sharing drivetrain research and design facilities, Hyundai and Kia face a daunting predicament: Around 900,000 (35 percent of total sales) of the vehicles sold over a two-year period were branded with incorrect fuel economy estimates.

On average, the fuel efficiency numbers listed on the window sticker of various Hyundai and Kia models — often the numbers that drew customers to the showrooms in the first place  — were three-percent too high.

The mistake, the manufactures claim, originated in procedural errors during the “coastdown” process of fuel-economy testing. Simulating wind resistance, rolling resistance, and drivetrain frictional loss, coastdown results affect the programming of test dynamometers that generate EPA fuel economy ratings.

Both Kia and Hyundai are eager to make things right. Customers who purchased an affected model will be issued a personalized debit card, reimbursing the customer for the difference between the advertised fuel economy and the adjusted numbers —  plus 15 percent for good measure. The amount put onto the debit account will be based upon the model, miles driven, and the fuel prices in the customer’s location.

Current owners will receive compensation funds dating from original purchase, on going throughout ownership. Customers who purchased one of the affected models but who has already sold the vehicle will still receive a debit card reimbursement for their ownership period.

If you’d like to know more about the reimbursement program and see a list of eligible vehicles, go to: and

While this slip-up is unfortunate, we’re glad to see both automakers stepping up to do what’s right for their customers. Additionally, we hope other automakers learn a lesson from the Korean manufacturers.


We get up close with the Vision iNext concept to learn about BMW’s future

Through a massive worldwide campaign that visits various major cities around the world, we get our exclusive opportunity to get up close and personal with BMW’s latest Vision iNEXT Concept to learn about automaker’s future plans.

End your dependence on fossil fuels with one of these amazing electric cars

Electric cars are getting smarter, safer, and more capable with each passing year. Here are our picks for the best electric cars on the market, whether you're looking for a performance ride or a family-friendly crossover.
Product Review

It looks like a concept, but the Lexus LC500 is very much a real-life stunner

The LC500 sports car combines exotic looks, a raucous V8 engine, sumptuous interior, and responsive steering to make one of the most compelling Lexus-badged models ever and one of the sexiest vehicles on sale.
Product Review

Mercedes’ 2019 Sprinter proves vans don’t have to be low-tech

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter boasts infotainment and driver-assist tech from Mercedes’ passenger cars. It’s not something normally seen on big vans, but it makes the Sprinter a much easier vehicle to use.

Tesla extends battery capacity to help owners of the older Model S flee Florence

Over 10 million people may be affected by Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia. Tesla Motors decided to lend a helping hand to owners of its vehicles who want to escape Florence's path.
Product Review

Alfa Romeo delivers the quintessential Italian high-performance SUV

Alfa’s Romeo’s Ferrari-powered sport utility delivers hair-raising straight-line performance, admirable capability in the corners, and head-turning style, but comes up a bit short in a few key areas.
Smart Home

Amazon reportedly will introduce an Alexa-enabled microwave, amp, and more

Amazon's Fall 2018 Alexa device rollout is about to begin, sources say. Look for an Alexa microwave, an amplifier, receiver, and subwoofer, and an Alexa voice-responsive device for your car. Amazon is maximizing its voice-command presence.

Elon Musk: Tesla is bringing most collision repair in-house, outsiders too slow

Dissatisfied with third-party collision repair shops, Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to announce the firm is bring most repair work in-house. The goal is a car as good or better than new with repair completed in under an hour.

Audi is finally taking the wraps off its Tesla-fighting e-tron electric SUV

The 2019 Audi e-tron is an electric SUV aimed at the Tesla Model X, Jaguar I-Pace, and Mercedes-Benz EQC. It's Audi's first mass-market electric car, but will it make a good first impression?

Volkswagen built a 210-mph Jetta, and broke a land-speed record with it

A modified 2019 Volkswagen Jetta just set a land-speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the G/BGC class. Boasting a 600-horsepower engine, the Jetta hit 210 mph on the salt.
Emerging Tech

Smart sound system will give every car passenger their own wireless audio stream

Can't agree on what to listen to in the car? Imagine if each passenger could get their own way, courtesy of a personal audio stream — no headphones required. Sounds impossible, but it's almost here.
Emerging Tech

No more scraping? Anti-frosting advance could mark end of frozen windshields

Hate frozen windshields in winter? Researchers at Virginia Tech may have found a way to banish them for good, thanks to the world’s first passive anti-frosting surface. Here's how it works.

Ferrari’s latest special editions are stripped down, old-school sports cars

The Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2 are inspired by some of the Italian automaker's most legendary sports cars. They mix old school rawness with modern carbon fiber construction and 789-horsepower V12 power.

Lucid Motors accepts $1 billion investment from Saudi Arabian fund

The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia will invest $1 billion in upstart electric car company Lucid Motors. Lucid hopes to launch a Tesla-fighting luxury sedan called the Air by 2020.