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Six Month Road Test Hyundai Veloster: A Real-World 40 MPG?

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As the odometer on our 2012 Hyundai Veloster has been nearing the 1,500-mile mark, we've noticed the gas mileage getting better, especially the last tank or so—an indication that the engine is broken-in.

Yes, the dealership might not have informed you of this, but vehicles don't get their peak mileage, or their peak performance, straight from the showroom. They should be treated gently—or at least a little differently—during the first few hundred miles. For instance, our Veloster's owner's manual advises that during the first 600 miles “you may add to the performance, fuel economy, and life of your vehicle” by following a few precautions: Don't race the engine; keep engine speed between 2,000 and 4,000 rpm for most driving; vary speed and engine speed; avoid hard stops (just to seat the brakes); and don't let the engine idle longer than three minutes at a time.

While the Veloster achieves an EPA fuel economy rating of 28 mpg city, 40 mpg highway, our Veloster has the available EcoShift DCT dual-clutch gearbox—a more economical (and in theory, more responsive) alternative to a conventional automatic transmission; and that comes rated at 29/38.

Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik, at the national launch of the Veloster here in Portland last summer, commented that although the EcoShift DCT gearbox didn't quite hit the 40-mpg highway rating, owners would be pleased with its real-world mpg.

So far we can see what he meant. This past weekend, on a trip from Portland out over the coast range, to the beach, and back—a mix of Interstates and two-laners—we recorded about 35 mpg for the tank.

Then this week we decided to put it to the test and see, when we really use restraint and drive carefully, how good it can get. Driving out on our 'economy loop,' a 40-mile stretch with gradual terrain changes and nearly equally split between low-speed city stop-and-go, suburban boulevards, and 55-65-mph freeways, we managed an impressive 41.4 mpg as shown by the trip computer (correlated closely at the pump). That's better than the 37 mpg we saw on the same route recently in a Scion iQ, with an equally light foot.

Of course, this wasn't quite 'normal' driving. We accelerated gradually, especially after getting to top gear, and coasted as much as possible—all without backing up traffic and causing congestion for others. As it was a dry, sunny evening, with temps around 60 degrees F, we didn't use the A/C either. But that's all we did differently.

In any case, the Veloster is capable of achieving 40 mpg in real-world, varied driving, provided you can use a lot of restraint—not just at 55 mph, with the cruise control, on flat ground, where we reckon we could do a few mpg better.

See our review pages on the Veloster for our full take, and stay tuned for more updates in our Six Month Road Test of the Veloster.

 
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