A war is brewing in the compact car class. A war based on highway (and city, but mostly highway) fuel efficiency and advertising that number as loudly as possible. That is, as long as your number is big enough to compete.
The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze comes in a 40 mpg flavor as will the 2012 Ford Focus. Ford also offers the Fiesta in a 40 mpg flavor. There is one catch with all these vehicles: they have a dirty asterisk required in their marketing.
For the Chevrolet Cruze to achieve 40 mpg you are required to buy a special Eco model and equip it with a manual transmission. The Fiesta must be purchased in a specific configuration as well to achieve the magical 40 mpg. As for the Focus, we are told the projected volume model will reach 40 mpg.
Hyundai has thrown off the gloves and is coming into the ring swinging. They are touting the new Elantra marketing loud and clear; every model Elantra will achieve 40 mpg regardless of trim or configuration. That's quite a bold statement.
Hyundai is taking this whole thing one step further by calling out the competition in the sales race. Hyundai made the claim that they will sell more 40 mpg Elantras in January than any two competitors will all year. This includes Chevrolet and Ford. Bold? Yes, but we are guessing they wouldn't make the claim if they didn't think that they would win. With how good looking the new Elantra is, and that downright bargain price, we think they know what they are doing.
Check out the video below that Hyundai has created for our amusement. The fact is, we truly need to save the asterisks, if not for us, then for our kids and their kids. Someone has to.