Wrecked my Elantra on Monday...

Discussion in 'Hyundai' started by peacefrog_0521, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. peacefrog_0521

    peacefrog_0521 Raj Against The Machine

    So on my way to work on Monday, up I-75 (just past the Chrysler HQ), I had to suddenly swerve left to avoid a Mercedes which was prractically PARKED in my lane. I wish I'd seen it sooner. Anyway, I swerved and lost control, hit the center barrier with my front right corner, spun around and hit it again with my rear right corner, then bounced back across four lanes to the right shoulder. Luckily I was able to get it off the road so as to not get hit by traffic from behind. I never did see what happened to the Mercedes after that, it probably took off after seeing me hit the wall. I only remember it was a putty colored late 90's/early 2000's model sedan.

    Thankfully of course I was not hurt (which still surprises me), and I didn't hit any other cars or property. The airbags never went off, which I'm not sure if they should have because it wasn't quite a head-on collision. I remember I much more calm than I thought I might be, not shaking or anything.

    I called 911 and they sent police and a tow truck. After taking my statement the officer agreed that I was not at fault. He had already received a complaint about a car going slowly on the highway, he asked if it was me but I said no, that I had swerved to avoid such a car. He put out a notice about the Mercedes but not sure if they ever found it. The officer was professional and courteous, and dropped me off at work a couple miles away.

    Over lunch, my manager & I drove in her car to the tow yard to see my car again; I took some pictures, and it looked even worse than I remembered.


    I got a ride home and got a rental for this week, a brand-new 2009 Ford Focus. (Or as I have always called it, a Ford F**kup.) In spite of the nickname I actually like the car so far, but there's not enough there to make me want to buy it. Sync is a really nice feature. And it has heated leather seats which are wonderful in sub-freezing Michigan weather.

    So Progressive decided the car was totalled, and I got my settlement this morning. They base the payout on NADA Retail value, rathe than Trade-In value. So with that and the low mileage (only 64k), it was valued at $1200 more than I actually paid for it! (I found out later that they forgot to include the sunroof in the options, so I'm going to go back and ask for another $300. Nothing to lose at this point.) They also will reimburse me the 6% Michigan sales tax on a replacement vehicle if I buy within 30 days. I cannot say enough good things about Progressive, I'm quite impressed with the experience and would encourage others to check out Progressive.

    So now I'm back in the market for another car; I'm thinking of the following options, in no particular order:
    • Volkswagen Jetta/Golf TDI Diesel
    • Ford Escape Hybrid
    • Another Hyundai Elantra
    • Hyundai Sonata
    • Audi A4 sedan
    • Take my dad's Buick off his hands

    Finally a couple of lessons learned from the experience:
    • Never buy a car without ABS. It has already saved me from serious accidents in a few cases, and might have saved me from this one if I'd had it.
    • Always wear your seatbelt.
    • Always scan the road ahead for stopped vehicles.
    • Always have an exit strategy in case of impending danger.

    Hope you all keep safe this holiday season.

    Best Regards,
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2008
  2. SentraSE-R

    SentraSE-R Pishtaco

    Glad to hear you weren't injured, Raj. Cars can be replaced, but not your health. It's a bummer you lost your ride. I liked the looks of the Elantra hatchback.

    You've got a pretty wide choice of cars for a replacement. I like several of them - the Elantra for mileage potential, the VW TDi for ultimate mileage, the Audi for looks, the FEH for technological mileage potential. My bottom line is usually the cheapest car with mileage potential, since cars are basic transportation to get me from point A to point B. The rest of my money is better spent on other things. Your priorities may be different.
  3. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Oh man. That hurt just looking at it!! :eek:
  4. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    If it makes you feel any better, I witnessed an accident under similar circumstances to yours this past summer. Someone was driving along in a new-ish Highlander in the right lane and came up on some old pickup that might have been parked for real. By the time the driver saw it he/she didn't even have time to swerve. The impact probably took place at 60 and both cars ended up in the middle of the road with the rest of us scrambling to split the uprights. Long story short, these things happen. Glad you weren't hurt!
  5. Skwyre7

    Skwyre7 Well-Known Member

    A slow-moving car on the interstate? Darn those hypermilers!

    Seriously, I'm glad you weren't hurt!
  6. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Glad it worked out OK.You might consider a Prius. If all the talk about the oversupply of Prius is true, maybe you can get an invoice price on one- maybe under $22000 or so reasonably equipped.
    I haven't noticed anyone bragging about how cheaply they got their Prius, but most folks here have already bought their car- and they are frugal types, so they don't switch cars very often.

    Well, just a thought if you are considering the VW TDIs-same price range. I'm really curious to see if the Toyota dealers are coming off their usual rip off prices.
  7. ILAveo

    ILAveo Well-Known Member

    If it weren't for the sales tax rebate I'd say buy a Winter beater for $500 and shop around for a couple of months--your list of cars makes it sound like you really aren't yet sure what sort of car you want.

    I expect that many salesmen/dealers will be in a panic to make year end sales volume incentives so you may be able to swing a really good deal in the next two weeks.
  8. peacefrog_0521

    peacefrog_0521 Raj Against The Machine

    Thanks - I find those are pretty much my priorities as well, which is why I liked the Elantra so much. It was cheap, but didn't feel cheap.

    I hear they're coming with another hatchback next year, but it will be the boxy style, not the fastback coupe style, more like the current Kia Spectra5, which may also be added to my list.

  9. peacefrog_0521

    peacefrog_0521 Raj Against The Machine

    Thanks - just when I was getting ready to trade notes with you on your Elantra, too...
  10. peacefrog_0521

    peacefrog_0521 Raj Against The Machine

    Thanks - you're right, I still have no idea what I want. In fact, I didn;t know back in May what I wanted until my dad came across the Elantra, and I decided it was exactly what I had been looking for, so I took it off his hands.

    That was kind of my rationale for the option of borrowing the Buick, to allow more time for shopping and decision making, especially with the holiday shutdown. It also gets surprisingly good mileage if driven right. But that would leave my folks with only one car, and it barely fits in my garage anyway (can't walk around it). Still, seems like a nice hypermiling challenge...

  11. peacefrog_0521

    peacefrog_0521 Raj Against The Machine

    Thanks Charlie. I've bypassed Toyota Prius at this point, mainly because I have past personal beefs with Toyota (interviewed there twice, got good initial feedback, then never heard back even after multiple calls & email to their HR dept.) I just don't like them as a company. I don't like Chrysler as a company either, even though I specialize in launching Chrysler programs. But at least they let me do it, and it's what I do best.

    Anyway, I do also have a Honda Civic Hybrid on my list. I love Honda as a company, I used to work there many years ago and still wish I'd never left. Only drawback is that it doesn't have a sunroof. And I really want a factory power sunroof.

  12. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Raj, the stick shift model is worth some really nice numbers if you are willing to work for it and even though the quality is good, Hyundai is still undervalued. Another used model meeting your approval shouldn't be too hard to locate?

    I can understand your distaste for Toyota, but do at least test drive one. You should at least be fully aware of what you are rejecting if you don't want to own one.

    The HCH is a very nice vehicle but it is WAY happy on the assist algorithms around town -- this is bad for FE. It is a monster out on the highway, though. :)

    You might also consider the 5MT Yaris -- I fit (at 6'5") just fine in Brian's (Bailout's) last February and though having the gauge cluster in the center of the dash is weird, it wasn't hard to get used to. You can center a SG in front of the wheel and have most of what you need in the traditional place that way. It has some really nice potential but I don't know what your chances of finding one with a sunroof are...
  13. CapriRacer

    CapriRacer Well-Known Member

    First let me say that I'm glad you weren't hurt.

    But there is a lesson worth teaching:

    It would be better to have avoided the accident!

    It could be argued that it's the responsibility of the driver to avoid any accident - even ones where the vehicle is parked in the middle of the road. While it may be understandable - and you might not be cited - it does not change the basic quation - a driver is supposed to anticpate problems and avoid them.

    So while we don't have all the details, here's a couple of thoughts of how to avoid these situations in the future.

    Don't follow closely behind the driver in front of you. If we swerves to avoid something, you have to be able to also - or - you have to be able to stop!

    Situational awareness: Easier said than done. But make sure you always have an "out". That may mean using the berm or riding over the curb (watch for pedestrians!) Don't put yourself in a situation where you only have one choice - particularly if that one could be taken away from you.

    Look further down the road. Notice what other drivers are doing. (personal story: I was once in Miami, FL, where the highway rises to go over a street then comes back down to ground level. When you're at the top you can see a lot further than when you're at the bottom. At the top of one, I noticed at the top of the next hill, a lot of cars in the middle of 3 lanes and sort of saw someone moving quickly out of the leftmost lane. I moved into the middle lane and by the time I got to the top of the next hill, I saw the reason: a car driving very slowly in the leftmost lane.)

    Anticipate problems. A car stopped at an intersection might not stay stopped. The best place to know they are moving is to watch their wheels.

    I'm sure there are more.
  14. peacefrog_0521

    peacefrog_0521 Raj Against The Machine

    Thanks Capri.

    In hindsight, ultimately, yes. That was precisely my intent when I swerved to avoid the car, rather than slamming into it.

    There was no one in front of me until I came upon the the Mercedes.

    I had an out, and I used it to avoid a more serious, costly, and probably fatal accident.

    Always. But you don't always get to see a putty-colored Mercedes with no lights on in early morning conditions in Michigan, so that it practically blends into the road.

    I'm sure there are too. But how to anticipate all of these things at once is beyond me. And apparently, the authorities agreed.

    Nevertheless, lesson learned.
    Now I just have to wait for the next person to come up and hit me from behind.

    Sometimes these things just can't be avoided completely, no matter what. There are no guarantees, only degrees. I'm leaving it at that. After a week of reflection I'm quite happy with what I did, and with how things turned out.
  15. peacefrog_0521

    peacefrog_0521 Raj Against The Machine

    Thanks. I also agree the Hyundai is WAY undervalued; I've been highly impressed with those I've driven in the past as rentals. I had an Accent while staying in Mexico on business for a couple months that I beat to all hell on Mexico roads, including over railroad tracks (they are not as well-maintained as US railroads, which are already pretty bad). It never groaned or complained.

    I'll consider Toyotas; however our experience with Toyota vehicles has been less than stellar. My dad's old Corolla had multiple problems, and my mom's new Matrix is noisy and has a very harsh ride. (Of course, he has a Buick.)

    As for the company itself, well, I also interviewed with Hyundai in Alabama some years ago and had much the same experience. Yet I'd buy and drive another Hyundai with little reservation. So maybe it's just me.

    I have definitely looked for other 2001-2006 Elantra GT's and found a few, including locally, with everything I want (including ABS this time !!!).

    I also drive a 2006 HCH yesterday (the 2005 I saw listed was already sold), and I wasn't impressed with it for FE, I got mid-20's. It never shut down the ICE for some reason, even in low-speed stop-and-go traffic. I think the reasons you mentioned may be why - not to mention it was "cold enough to freeze the nuts off a Jeep". That probably meant the battery needed to warm up, and I never got a chance to take it on the highway.
  16. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Based on your other thread mentioning the temps, yes I'd say the battery never got up to temperature.

    Some quirks of the HCH should be kept in mind and also a basic understanding of how the hybrid powertrains work. The FEH/MMH duo you tested yesterday have a system very similar to the one used by Toyota (no, one was not licensed from the other... they were independently developed and both based on the tech created by the big 3 for the PNGV efforts back in the '90s) -- they have a full electric mode. They don't really have a transmission in the traditional sense but use a pair of electric motors interacting via a simple planetary gearset to regulate effective ratios and speeds. (By the way, this is one of the reasons you should seriously consider the Prius -- vastly simpler power transmission means the car is very robust and reliable, and also avoids a lot of traditional maintenance concerns.) You can easily run the vehicle on the gas, the electric, or both. The HCH-II is somewhat different... its motor is bolted directly to the engine and while it does have a very limited all electric propulsion mode it isn't powerful enough to move the car from a stop. Part of this is because of the fact that the engine must be turned even when off if the motor is being used for propulsion (the reverse is also true, but turning the motor with the engine isn't nearly the same problem).

    What does the above mean in practical terms? Toyota and Ford do really well in stop and go if everything is warmed up because they can use the electric propulsion for those situations where gasoline engines are really inefficient; namely, at very low speed and RPM as well as idling. Honda hybrids on the other hand can't do this so unless you intervene manually with FASing they suffer almost as much as a conventional vehicle in that sort of driving environment.

    Something else to keep in mind. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but you will receive your best fuel economy by consistently avoiding use of the electric drivetrain components in any hybrid other than a plug in model. I'm sure you are asking why right about now because everyone else does. ;) The reason is that those batteries you can pull extra energy from ONLY get charged by regenerative braking. This is a process which is essentially a very inefficient conversion from gasoline following the model of gas -> combustion -> transmission -> momentum -> generation (during slow down) -> charging circuit -> battery. This is a long chain with lots of associated energy losses and it turns out (except in specific cases where you are forced to slow down no matter what) you can't come out ahead of pure gas propulsion by using more electric propulsion. This is why I never use electric assist in my Insight but I will utilize the extra braking characteristics of regeneration when I have to slow down. The result is stupid high mileage wherever I go because the engine is very small and I only use it when I need it. Using assist will lower those numbers substantially.

    Now we come to one of the main complaints about the HCH (all generations) -- it is extremely "assist happy" at low speeds. In the 5MT model it is very difficult but possible to avoid assist at low speeds. In the CVT equipped models up to '06 it is more difficult but still possible with a light foot. For '06 and newer models, you can't avoid it unless you are rolling downhill. :( This means that EVERY start from a stop or low speeds means you deplete some of the hybrid pack and will have to use that very inefficient charging route to get the state of charge back up. As discussed above, this means a mileage hit.

    Why did Honda do this? Simple -- their philosophy is to fit their hybrids with an engine sized just barely big enough to propel the vehicle at steady state with just a tiny reserve of power left over. For most people this means the power performance is way too anemic to be "acceptable." To counteract this they added an electric motor so that the driver has extra torque when needed -- a turbo charger of sorts. They just over compensated in the attempt to make the car feel more responsive (and closer to expected conventional vehicle norms). Sadly, this means your best numbers in the HCH will be found at steady state speeds.

    I hope that helped a bit?
  17. 98CRV

    98CRV Well-Known Member

    What about a Pontiac Vibe? Toyota mechanicals at a GM price?
  18. peacefrog_0521

    peacefrog_0521 Raj Against The Machine

    Funny you should say that. My parents bought a Matrix a couple months ago. I BEGGED them to consider a Vibe to get a discount, but my mom just HAD to have a Toyota...

    Since then my dad has done nothing but complain about it, it's noisy, it rides harsh, etc., so I kinda got turned off from the idea. Of course, he drives a Buick, so I should have known better.

    I finally got to see and drive this new Matrix this past weekend when I visited them in Pittsburgh. They have the Matrix S with AWD and the 2.4L engine. WOW DOES THIS THING MOVE !!! I easily had it going up to 90-95 MPH uphill.

    My mom even offered to give it to me, but I declined. No sunroof, no idea how to get it back to Michigan, and too many strings attached. And at thirty-something, I think I've been spoiled enough for now. :)
  19. peacefrog_0521

    peacefrog_0521 Raj Against The Machine

    To paraphrase the late Gerald R. Ford - My fellow CleanMPG'ers, our long nightmare is over. The saga came to an end today (Monday)....I know I get long-winded so I'll try to make this quick...

    After visiting my folks in Pittsburgh over Christmas, I didn't find anything else available that interested me. As a side note, my parents somehow got interested in the idea of buying a car for themselves. With no apparent reasoning, they drove a Mazda 3 sedan and an Acura TL sedan. My dad really liked the Acura, but too much driveline noise on acceleration. On my recommendation, he test drove a couple of Hyundai Sonatas, both 4-cylinders. While he acknowledged they were quiet, they weren't quiet enough to make him give up his Buick LeSabre (plus they insulted him with their trade-in offer).

    As I was by this time tired and stressed from all of the discussion regarding cars, I came back on Sunday with plans to buy the Elantra on Monday.

    Monday I woke up at the crack of mid-morning :) and called the Hummer dealer to let them know I'd be coming back out, and I also wanted to see the 2008 Hyundai Sonata they had. I decided to have another look on Autotrader for Sonatas for price comparison. Lo and behold, I found a 2008 Hyundai Sonata for nearly $3k less at another dealer! In fact, it was nearly the same asking price as for the Elantra!

    So I hightailed it to the other dealer, took it for a couple of test-drives, and decided I liked it enough to put down a deposit. I went back to the Hummer dealer, hoping they could come down a couple grand on the Elantra. But I couldn't find the guy, and by this time I'd decided that the Sonata was the better choice....

    ...so I went back and bought the Sonata.

    Deep blue, 4-cylinder, GLS, with sunroof, traction control, and Electronic Stability Control. Clean inside & out (used to be an Enterprise rental vehicle). 41500 miles, so still under bumper-to-bumper warranty (100,000 mile powertrain warranty does not transfer, and I knew this).

    So far, I'm happy with it. (And even if I'm not, it was so cheap that in the long run, I could probably get enough at trade-in to break even or minimize the loss.) It's quiet and smooth, but still quick enough (same power-to-weight ratio as the Elantra). I have a fairly comfortable seating position, though I'm getting used to cloth seats again (had leather for the past 10 years!).

    So far the FCD is showing about 25 MPG, kinda mixed, but have been doing more around-town driving this evening. It dips quickly when I press the pedal, which I would have expected for the V6 but not so much for the 4-cyl. If I manage my foot properly on the highway I can get above 30 MPG. I just hooked up my ScanGauge this evening and will have more results in the days ahead.

    Now I can finally enjoy my vacation...


    P.S. - In a strange twist of fate, at almost exactly the same time I was putting my deposit on the Sonata, my parents were trading in their Buick LeSabre for a Buick Lacrosse. Go figure. But actually that was the last idea I left in my dad's head before I returned to Michigan. The Lacrosse was designed and built specifically to be super-quiet.
  20. SentraSE-R

    SentraSE-R Pishtaco

    Congratulations Raj,

    It sounds like a nice car. Keep us informed how your hypermiling efforts go with your new ride.

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