Can a car with a conventional gasoline engine earn a green award?
When one thinks of a green car, a hybrid or electric car usually comes to mind. Or maybe a compressed natural gas or micro-car with a tiny engine is the image. However, Hyundai has proven that a car need not have a complex hybrid powertrain or be burdened with the range limitations and slow performance that most electric cars suffer from. The 2012 Hyundai Elantra has earned a spot of the KBB 10 Best Green Cars For 2012 list. This is the second year in a row that the Elantra has earned that recognition. Award repeats are not new to Hyundai. Elantra was named the 2012 North American International Auto Show Car of Year in Detroit this year marking the second time in the past few years that Hyundai earned that distinction.
Good Looking Not Thirsty
The Elantra is usually mentioned in discussions regarding styling. The Elantra is widely viewed as the best looking car in its class. Known as Fluidic Sculpture, the design theme is also seen on the Elantra’s larger sibling, the Hyundai Sonata. In addition to good looks, the Elantra scores well on crash tests and is considered to be very price competitive, and possibly the overall value leader, in the segment. KBB sums up the Elantra formula by saying “The elusive 40 mpg mark is hit and miss for non-hybrid cars, but for the 2012 Hyundai Elantra it's an easy target…The Elantra obtains 40 highway mpg in all trim levels thanks to its fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine, all while looking good in its wavy sheet metal and offering value with its low entry price.”
Hitting the Elusive 40 MPG Mark
What earned the Elantra the green car recognition is primarily its miles per gallon rating of 40 highway. In a car that uses a conventional gas engine, and does not employ a lot of expensive and complicated fuel saving measures such as active aerodynamics and cylinder deactivation, the 40 MPG mark is considered the high bar. One remarkable thing about this rating for the current Hyunda Elantra is that Hyundai has yet to employ the biggest weapon in its arsenal to improve fuel economy, direct fuel injection. When Hyundai does add this technology a further 5 to 10% fuel economy gain might be coming.
The 2012 Hyundai Elantra joins the list of elite green cars recognized by KBB and does so without the usual formula.
Photo by John Goreham