The $50 Hyundai Sonata ECO Challenge: Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Rockets!

Discussion in 'Hyundai' started by xcel, Dec 11, 2014.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG] How far can you drive on just $50?

    [​IMG]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Dec. 8, 2014

    2015 Hyundai Sonata ECO - $24,210 to start incl. D&H and EPA rated at 28/38 mpgUS city/highway.

    Today's ride is the full size Hyundai Sonata ECO on the $50 Planes, Trains and Automobiles Challenge I have been posting about lately.

    What is unique about the 2015 Sonata ECO is the 3 mpg higher city and 1 mpg higher highway rating over the base 2.4L. This is due in part to the inclusion of a 177 HP and 195 lb-ft of torque direct injected and turbocharged 1.6L I4. A slicker Cd of just 0.27 also helps along with lower RRc tires. No loss in performance and a nice uptick in both efficiency and range.

    When I say large car, the all-new Sonata is significantly larger than every midsize most compare it to with 122.4 cu.ft. of total volume. Its 106.1 cu. ft of passenger volume is larger than the large Impala and Avalon yet is far more affordable. Knock off almost $10k when similarly equipped.

    Full Sized Automobiles - Competitive Comparison

    YearMakeModelTrimInt. Vol. (cu. ft.)Cargo Vol. (cu.ft)EngineTransmissionHPWeightPower/wt (hp/lb)Fuel Economy (city/highway/combined)Price
    2015HyundaiSonataECO106.116.31.6L I47-Speed DSG1773,250.05428/38/32$28,310*
    2015Chrysler300S106.316.33.6L V68-Speed AT3004,029.07419/31/24$35,390**
    2015ToyotaAvalonXLE Prem102.316.03.5L V66-Speed AT2683,461.07721/31/24$36,030***
    2015ChevroletImpala1LTZ105.018.82.5L I46-Speed AT196 3,730.05322/31/25$36,720
    2015FordTaurusLimited102.220.23.5L V66-Speed AT2883,917.07419/29/23$38,175****

    * With Tech Package incl. basic Active Safety BSD and RCTA. ** Estimated price from 2014 build. *** Incl. power sunroof. **** Incl. basic Active Safety BLIS and RCTA.
    All the above equipped with Leather, NAVI, proximity key and high end stereo.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata ECO

    Segment leading interior!​

    Except for the Avalon Hybrid, none of those competitors comes close to what the ECO has to offer.

    That is one large trunk!​

    With the new model arrives with well-tuned struts up front and independent multi-link out back. It rides flatter without the bottoming suspension of its predecessor and even has a little more road feel.

    2015 Sonata ECO from the backside.​

    At the short lead earlier this year, Hyundai brought an early prototype. This is the final variant and the 7-speed DSG torque holes have been filled while not losing the responsiveness one might have expected. In addition, the pre-production prototype had the injector tick at idle like most DI drivetrains coming through the firewall. This is far more refined and quieter to boot.

    A little about infotainment. It already includes the full BlueLink suite. Apple's CarPlay - The 2014 LA Auto Shows Best in Show Was Not a Car - and Android Auto is just around the corner. Siri control that works will soon be the order if the day.

    And our reason to drive this beauty? With gas prices what they are today, you can drive solo or with a full sized family in comfort for a lot less than you can fly, take a train, or bus on a local or distant vacation.

    The $50 Challenge

    Hah? Well here are some personal goals I laid out for this drive with the Sonata ECO leading the way.

    Goal #1: Detroit (actually Toledo) to New Orleans without refueling. Preliminary distance is 1,007 + actual miles with no detours. I have some cool detours planned too. ;)

    Goal #2: Drive the distance on < $50.00 in fuel.

    By comparison, 3 weeks ago I looked up what it would cost to fly from Detroit to New Orleans on Dec. 8th. and it was something like $275. From the New Orleans airport a rental car cost $65 IIRC totaling $340.

    A single train ticket from Detroit to New Orleans is in the $100+ range. It cost me $40.75 to ride a local Metra train from Waukegan, IL to Chicago and an Amtrak from Chicago to Ann Arbor this morning. A Greyhound bus ticket is about the same if you can stand to sit/live on a bus for > 24 hours straight. Trust me, been there and done that. It sucks. An airplane? Not so convenient and expensive for one let alone a family. Plus renting a car with all three approaches when you get to New Orleans!

    Metra – Waukegan IL to Chicago

    $6.75 to ride 40 miles.

    Amtrak – Chicago to Ann Arbor, MI.

    Chicago’s Union Station Celebrates 100 Years of Wrigley Field!

    Anyone remember the Untouchable shootout at Chicago’s Union Station? It happened here. :)

    Chicago’s Union Station - To the Trains!

    All Aboard! - $34.00 to ride 243 miles.​

    So whatever that difference is between how far I can drive on $50 in fuel and the plane ticket plus rental is going to go to the Hyundai Hope on Wheels charity. They provide funds for Children's Cancer Research. Early funding helped my youngest survive when he was diagnosed a little over a decade ago. He graduated from college last year and is in a Master’s program today thanks to research to cure him of this dreadful disease. Hopefully others will benefit in the sane fortunate way that the Gerdes family did.

    Hyundai Hope on Wheels​

    The first 45 miles with 7 local/suburban and 38 all highway miles allowed over 53 mpg displayed with the 18.5 gal. rated tank - suspect 20.0 actual since she took 1.9 gal. after first click to top off - the Sonata ECO may have 1,000 miles of range in her. This is hopefully enough to cover the distance for < $50 in fuel.

    Toledo, OH Shell

    $0.03 rewards card knocked that $2.40 down to just $2.37/gallon.

    She’s topped off and tank seal applied.​

    Enough of my ramblings, it is New Orleans or bust starting in just a few minutes. And a little trip over to Montgomery, AL to visit the Sonata/Elantra manufacturing facility. And then to Washington DC where journalists from the East Coast will be able to experience what the 2015 Hyundai Sonata ECO has to offer as well.

    Besides the $23,275 MSRP, this ECO includes the Tech package ($4,100) incl. leather all-around, proximity key, proximity trunk, dual auto climate, heated seats, 8" touch screen with NAVI, high end audio, auto dimming rear view with compass and home link. Add mats ($125), net ($90), cargo tray ($110), First Aid ($30), and wheel locks ($55) + D&H if $810, she lists for $28,560. Discounts abound too! As in $2k on the hood and another $1k + from the dealerships.

    She's topped off - $2.37 per with my Fuel Rewards Network card, the tank is sealed, the displays are reset and it's time to roll.

    PS: What does Rockets have to do with the 2015 Hyundai Sonata ECO drive? Stay tuned. Plus a lot of other cool things along the way. ;)
  2. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    Hi Wayne

    On the highway at 55 mph the Prius a little over 1000 miles and the FSP Volvo more like 430 miles. :rolleyes:

    I was at the dealer this morning for my annual State Inspection and oil change and the dealer had a 2.0 liter turbo S60 250 HP that had an EPA highway rating of 37 mpg.
    All I could say was about F-ing time they got on the fuel mileage bandwagon. The shocker was the MSRP's of the cars they had on the showroom floor, $44,500 was the cheapest and the rest were right at $47,000 to $48,500. I just smiled and realized the Prius was the best decision I have ever made, when I bought it in 2009 over a new Volvo.

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2014
  3. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Al:

    The farthest I have ever gotten a Prius on an all-highway drive is 800 + miles. The Volvo sounds like the MDX. A FSP. :D

  4. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    Hi Wayne,

    I was going by $50 worth of gas will get me X miles. :)

  5. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Al:


  6. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    I could possibly, just barely do the 1000mi on $50 in my Echo. Maybe. I think the seats would break my back beforehand, though. Doing this in comfort with the Sonata will be a good show of how far FE has come recently.
  7. Bruce

    Bruce cheapskate

  8. fishnrib

    fishnrib Christian

    Hi Wayne:flag:

    Does it have fuel saving technologies - Integrated Stop & Go (ISG)?
  9. Die2self

    Die2self Saving more by using less!

    Wayne based on my best tank at 61.35 MPG I could go 1300 miles on $50 (@2.359 for gas) and if I used close to my average tank number of 52.6 MPG then it would be closer to 1100 miles (and not all on one tank either). :p

    Now this would be different out on the open road, maybe ;)
  10. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    Re : The $50 Hyundai Sonata ECO Challenge: Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Rockets!

    Gas buddy's showing E10 for $1.89 in Oklahoma City, soooo.... you might want to consider a detour. :0
  11. Pavel4

    Pavel4 Well-Known Member

    Please excuse this "northerner", but I don't understand a comparison between a purchased Hyundai traveling a distance and flying or riding an aircraft/train/bus the same distance...
    In one case you spend $20K+ and have to drive for a considerable amount of time on a highway which many people find boring, dangerous and bum-numbing. The mass transport involves sitting back and snoozing or perhaps drinking in the bar-car (the bus being the least pleasant) with no responsibility or long term commitment whatsoever and no further cost. Very odd to me. Now if you rented the Hyundai...
    What about comparing the trip to one on a bicycle? That might be the most thrifty.

    As to comparing the driving of a Prius to any Volvo, it's the same as having Kraft dinner or Spring salmon for dinner - admittedly the Kraft dinner "does the job" for much less.
  12. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    Bicycles are very efficient for short distances, but for long distances they tend to cost more per mile than a car, if one is spending nights in motels.

    Aesthetics aside, your salmon dinner would likely be nutritionally superior to the Kraft one. I don't believe there's any analogous advantage of a Volvo over a Prius. Which is more likely to leave you stranded?
  13. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Bruce:

    That was a great link! ;)

    Tom, no ISG. Just a really efficient 1.6L and 7-speed DSG.

    Jason, you have 20-hours to cover the 1,000 miles incl. the stops you are about to see.

    Carcus, I planned the route well in advance but had to cover 2,400 miles in 4-days with an end location in Washington DC. You will see the aftermath as I get it posted.

    Pavel4, if you own a car, you are paying insurance and it is depreciating if you drive it or not. The premise is would you fly or drive. One costs a ton. The other does not. Add your family and costs go through the roof! And what you see along the way is ... Well, the destination is just that.


    The Sonata is Large car big so if you do take your family, it is about as comfortable as one can get. Airplanes and a rental on the other side, not so much. Now if 1,000 miles on a bicycle with the family works, good for that too. This is a plane, train, and automobile comparison and given the 1,000 miles in < a day, you have some choices. Some better than others.

    More to come.

  14. Pavel4

    Pavel4 Well-Known Member

    Yes, I guess if you assume a person/family must own a car, the logic of the comparison holds true. But more and more young people are choosing not to own a car (many urbanites don't even bother to get a driver's license anymore..) Both my 30+ "children" own no vehicles and simply use the "Car to go" Mercedes Smart car service which is extremely efficient and very inexpensive. When they travel big distances (rarely), they fly or take other mass transport.
    So, I still don't see the comparison - if you want to factor in the percentage of insurance, potential danger etc. and depreciation into the longer road trip, then the comparison becomes better.
    I agree, the journey is often better than the destination, but again, many younger people won't agree since they stay glued to their hand-held devices most of the day, every day.

    In my driving, since 1962, I've only had two automotive breakdowns that disabled the vehicle completely... one was in a Volvo.
  15. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Pavel4:

    Just wait until you see what was visited. ;)

  16. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    First stop after picking up the 2015 Hyundai Sonata ECO at the AMTRAK train station is a quick visit to the world famous Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor, MI. It was just a few blocks away so why not?


    A little on the Delicatessen’s history. Zingerman’s opened in March of 1982 by Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig. The location then is the same as today, a historic building near the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market. The Deli got its start with a small selection of specialty foods, a host of traditional Jewish dishes and a relatively short sandwich menu.

    Today, Zingerman’s Delicatessen is an Ann Arbor institution, the source of great food and great experiences for thousands of visitors every year.

    The Deli serves up thousands of made-to-order sandwiches with ingredients like premium Black Angus corned beef and pastrami, free-range chicken and turkey, house made chopped liver and chicken salad. The Deli also stocks an array of farmhouse cheeses, estate-bottled olive oils, varietal vinegars, smoked fish, salami, coffee, tea and much, much more.

    Thirty years later, what started as a little deli has grown into Zingerman’s Community of Businesses.

    The Zingerman’s Deli and Business Timeline.

    Ahhh, what to order?​

    I am sure a few University of Michigan alums are drooling after seeing the menu.

    Unique Delicatessen artwork too!​

    I should have ordered the Corned Beef or Pastrami but purchased a Zingerman’s BLT instead.


    Anyone see the irony of this particular order? ;)

    So if you were heading to the airport either by yourself or with family, would you have stopped at the world Zingerman’s? I think not.

    Last edited: Dec 15, 2014
  17. Pavel4

    Pavel4 Well-Known Member


    Clearly you know how to win a debate... I concede! Any vehicle that can bring me to places like Zingerman's should be used, regardless of costs. There used to be a similar place in Portland Oregon that we happily drove 300 miles to visit - "Rose's" - gone these last 20 years.

  18. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    That order is for Wayne Gerdes, and there's a glass of water in the picture (no Pepsi in sight)

    /so you were "planning" on a 1,000 mile trip from Detroit to New Orleans ... but now are driving 2,400 miles to DC?? Sounds like most of the planning went out the window.
  19. Zingermans ships for all you out of state readers.
  20. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    As the Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Rockets starring the full size 2015 Hyundai Sonata ECO was closing in on getting real, a look back at the AMTRAK Wolverine between Chicago and Ann Arbor.

    The good news is the AMTRAK ‪Wolverine‬ now has Wi-Fi! The bad news is it is about as fast as 28k dialup. Tried a Speed Test a number of times. I got a ping time of 1,097 ms once. Never could get a download or upload speed to even start. :(

    AMTRAK Wi-Fi


    In addition, it left on time. It arrived just over an hour late. Amtrak does not own the tracks so Freight traffic gets priority. The train driver did try and make up for it but to many halts for traffic made it a losing proposition form the start.

    Surely a little lead in those boots!​

    While racing down the tracks, I saw a few sheep apparently grazing on corn stover out the window of the Amtrak Wolverine. Anyone know if that is what sheep eat???


    Rob Neff replied with the following:
    I learned something new that day! :)

    Last edited: Dec 15, 2014

Share This Page