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Turbo Veloster Fuel Economy - Report of 3,500 miles of driving across the US

2149 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  dplight
I know the fuel economy issue with the new 2013 Turbos has been a concern for new owners and potential buyers. I can offer the benefit of 3,500 miles of driving my new 2013 Turbo over the last month and additionally 8 months and 12,100 miles of driving a 2012 non-turbo Veloster. Bottom line, we think both cars are great but have a strong preference for the Turbo!

Purchasing Information

I purchased the Matte Grey Turbo with a manual transmission and the Ultimate package on August 9. I was lucky to find one from the shipping list provided by "CHUCKinFLL" on the forum thread entitled "Look here to find your US Turbo - here is what is shipping!". I found the car I wanted before the dealer listed as sales inventory and made a downpayment over the phone on 7-31-13 of $500. The car was delived to the dealer a week later and my wife and son drove to pick-it up 1,800 miles away (Utah to Alabama). We traded our 2012 non-turbo after 8 months of driving 12,100 miles. We paid straight sticker price with no premium and no discount. We negotiated a trade value of just under $17K for the 2012 (manual tranny with the equivalent of ultimate package) which had just completed a high quality repair from a rear end collision.

I will first focus on the fuel economy of the Tubo after 3,500 miles of dirving all types of terrain and in various city/highway environments. I will then briefly give my opinion of the both the turbo and non-turbo versions.

Actual Fuel Economy

I would suggest visiting a website to review actual fuel economy records by owners of the Veloster and many other cars at Fuelly | Share and Compare Your MPG. You can begin tracking the actuals of your own Veloster for the benefit of all.

Hyundai states the the Turbo should achieve 26 MPG for city, 38 MPG for highway, and 30 MPG for combined 50/50 driving. At home, in central Utah about 50 miles south of Salt Lake City near Provo, I use my Turbo for commuting to work on mountain roads. I usually end up with about a 40/60 mix of city and highway driving with an average actual fuel economy of 32 MPG. This is 2 MPG better than the Hyundai EPA average! My average for the 2012 non-turbo was about 34 MPG. According to Hyundai, the difference between the two cars should be 2 MPG which is what I experienced.

The drive across the US gave some different and interesting fuel economy results. My normal driving to and from work is at an average elevation of about 4,300 ft above sea level. This is the altitude we achieved the 32 MPG city/highway actuals while driving 50 to 60 mph. Driving highway only at 4,300 ft. resulted in about 34 MPG at 70 to 80 mph. When the car was at sea level, the city/highway average was only 28 MPG at 50 to 60 mph with a highway average of about 30 MPG at 70 to 80 mph. We never achieved 38 MPG for straight highway driving at sea level nor at 4,300 ft. In fairness, we have yet to drive highway only at 4,300 ft at 50 to 60 mph to see if we pick up the estimated 4 MPG lost due to the higher speeds. Consistently, at higher altitudes, the fuel economy increased on the car computer, the ECO 2.5 min average, and based on actual fill-up calculations. The higher the altitude, the better the fuel economy.

As a professional pilot and engineer, I can offer an assessment of the actual fuel economies we experienced. The fuel economy performance of vehicles for which wind drag is a factor normally increases with altitude at the same speed. This is because the air drag decreases as the air gets thinner. We recorded an increase in fuel economy as we increased our altitude. However, the force of drag increases based on the square of the speed. As you would expect, we experienced a significant decrease in fuel economy with an increase in speed. The sweet spot for fuel economy has been between 50 and 60 mph. At 70 mph, the fuel economy starts decreasing rapidly by about 2 MPG. At 80 mph the decline was about 4 MPG. At this speed, the tubo is running constantly at a much higher RPM.

The increase in fuel economy was relatively consistent as altitude increased for all the speed ranges recorded (50 to 60 mph and 70 to 80 mph). Without more info from Hyundai or more controlled testing, I would guess that a driver would gain about 1 MPG for every 1,000 ft increase in altitude. This is not what those of you drivng at sea level want to hear, but this has been my experience with both the 2012 and 2013 Velosters. The Turbo seems more sensitive to altitude and road grades in the mountains than the non-turbo.

I must also add that we used mid-octane gas. Others have tested fuel economy vs. octane and have reported that fuel economy increases about 1 MPG for each level of octane. So, premium vs. regular should yield about a 2 MPG increase. I have not confirmed this result myself.

The Summary of the Fuel Economy is in the table Below:

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Another note is that our fuel computer on the Turbo seems off by about 4 MPG on the high side. We consistently achieved an actual MPG about 4 MPG lower than the car computed, but the ECO 2.5 minute average on the 7" screen seemed to be more accurate. Our 2012 non-turbo was very accurate with the fuel computer showing averages within about .3 MPG of actual. We are trying to get the local dealer to fix this problem.

Comparison to Non-Turbo and Opinion of Matte Finish

Regarding a comparison of the general features of the 2013 Turbo vs. the 2012 non-turbo for similar packages (Ultimate), I highly recommend both vehicles. Refinements have been made to the 2013 Turbo that makes the car seem to be a higher priced vehicle. The interior seems to have a higher quality fit and finish with the seats conforming even more comfortably to my body than the 2012. The lumbar support feature is a real benefit for anyone with back problems. The Turbo adds the power that makes the car a true pleasure to drive. The Matte Grey finish is beautiful, easy to care for (basically hand wash with quick spray and wipes in between washes), and does not show dirt at a distance. In the sunlight, the color appears to be more of a rose/brown. The flat finish appears very high class in most light conditions. Unfortunately, the matte finish does not show its unique appeal in photographs like it does when you are actually looking at the car 5 to 20 feet away! We love the turbo version and would definately buy again.

I would like to hear from other owners regarding their fuel economy experience.


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Interesting read, thank you.
I am seeing 26-27mpg's in the city myself but haven't had a chance to try it out on the highway yet or for longer drives. I might get a chance at the end of this month though, so we'll see.
I did change my rims and tires, they are now almost 5lbs per rim lighter. I'm in MI so no high altitude here.
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