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

    Hi Pavel:

    Wold have loved to visit Rose's back in the day!!!

    Carcus, I had a Pepsi stash in the Sonata ECO. ;)

    [​IMG]

    Some of the planning went out the window although DC was the final destination as Hyundai needed their car for that Press Fleet.

    James, have you eaten there yet? Great BLT!!! Best I have ever had in fact.

    Wayne
     
  2. joesgot4

    joesgot4 Well-Known Member

    wayne, you take the coolest pictures, you should write a book about your adventures and include fuel mileage tips. ill buy one! good luck
     
  3. xcel

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

    Hi All:

    Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Rockets starring the full size 28/38 mpg city/highway rated 2015 Hyundai ‎Sonata‬ ECO detours for a quick stop at the Hyundai America Tech Center (HATCI).

    [​IMG]
    Sonata ECO parked at HATCI​

    The facility is the core research base for production and sales support in North America. It is the hub for designing, planning and overall development of Hyundai and KIA automobiles perfectly tailored for the North American market.

    The HATCI engineers focus on safety, style and quality from initial design concepts to mass production.

    In detail, the teams design, prototypes and develop automotive components that meet or exceed government regulations and customer satisfaction. They also implement design guidelines to improve product performance, evaluate and recommend improvements for current and future products while meeting safety and performance requirements.

    Lobby of the HATCI

    [​IMG]
    Notice the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited front and center? ;)

    Behind every HATCI design is the support of the Materials Department which is responsible for all metals, polymers, rubbers, coatings, fluids, fabrics and leathers.

    With regard to the 2015 Hyundai Sonata ECO, the HATCI team spent quite a few hours to smooth out the company’s first dual dry clutch 7-speed DSG automatic transmission (AT).

    The facility engineers and techs are responsible for engine and transmission system integration in an attempt to create a performance oriented yet luxurious driving experience. Key areas of development focused on enhancing vehicle performance and fuel economy to meet current and future customers’ needs.

    The last time I visited the facility a few years back, it was being upgraded to perform the EPA 5-cycle fuel economy tests.

    The engine calibration team handles the Fuel Economy and Emissions testing, performance tuning, development of future automobiles including excellent ATs incorporating new fuel efficient technologies, performance tuning and shift quality development.

    In detail, the transmissions team calibrates the electronic controls for shift scheduling, torque converter clutch scheduling, shift quality, adaptive controls and engine/transmission interaction.

    [​IMG]
    Saying goodbye to the HATCI testing facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan.​

    They did such a good job with this 7-speed DSG in the Sonata ECO that I think it should be the standard AT for all Hyundai’s going forward!

    Wayne
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2014
  4. xcel

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

    Hi Joesgot4:

    Thanks! Next trip down south I will have to stop and say hello. It has been a few years.

    Wayne
     
  5. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    Hope the HATCI has upgraded transmissions since my wife's Rio. That AT sucks! I realize they don't use the same trans or engine anymore, but what bothers me is that the ca. '10 or '11 Sonatas I drove didn't make an impression on me either way. The Rio's trans was one of the worst I have run into, it crashes into 2nd and makes what I feel is a competent engine feel sluggish and disconnected. Despite it's tendency to shift early and use lockup from low revs in both 3rd and 4th, FE has never been a strong suit. It even presents a strange dichotomy: on paper it is slow and in the pilot's seat the car feels slow as well, yet I find that even during a low-throttle acceleration, it attains a higher speed than I thought, sooner than I thought. Feels like decent engine fighting a poor transmission..?
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2014
  6. xcel

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

    Hi James:

    The Sonata ECOs 7-speed DSG is much improved from the prototype driven earlier this year and much better than past Hyundai ATs.

    Wayne
     
  7. xcel

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

    Hi All:

    And now to catch back up to the story.

    As mentioned in the original post, I only had a few miles in the Sonata ECO at the short lead in Montgomery, AL earlier this year and needed a few more to come up with a plan to meet the two goals. 47-miles later, I sort of had it figured out although the temperatures were lousy and the expected headwinds and rain from the MI/OH border all the way to KY as dusk turned to night was going to hurt.

    Google Map Route from HATCI to the Shell

    [​IMG]

    And the result of the short drive in 40 degree temps.

    [​IMG]

    I needed to achieve a minimum 52 mpg from the hopefully 19.5 gallon capacity fuel tank to cover the 1,000 miles without refueling. I also needed to find a fuel stop in New Orleans with < $2.56/gallon fuel to cover the < $50 in fuel cos goal.

    No point in looking back now as we are back on the road for real this time.

    Wayne
     
  8. xcel

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

    Hi All:

    22 hours in total from the 04:00 AM wake up to get to the Waukegan Metra train to Chicago, the Amtrak to Ann Arbor, Zingerman’s, HATCI, first drive, a long refuel, write-up the initial introduction post on the smartphone, and the long drive in challenging conditions until the 02:00 AM shutdown of the Sonata ECO for the night.

    To conclude Day 1 of the Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Rockets with the 2015 Hyundai Sonata ECO $50 Challenge, the actual drive started with temps in the low 40’s and raining within 10 miles of leaving the Shell in Toledo. Another 10 miles and strong 10 to 15+ mph headwinds began. I saw a high of 50.5 mpg in that first 10 miles and then the battle really began. 150 miles out, the Sonata ECO was down to just 48.6 mpg with rain, temps in the high 30s and strong headwinds. And I have one hell of a long ways to go too! The headwinds began to subside and the rain became more intermittent from that point forward. By the time I reached the KY Welcome Center some 324 actual miles out on I-65, she was barely back over 50 mpg and that is a hard floor target too! The 41 degrees F temp was not welcome but it is what it is.

    By this time I was familiar with every Rest Area along I-75, 71 and 65 from Ohio to Kentucky.

    Tough first day

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    KY Welcome Center on I-65: 51.5 mpg over 317 miles indicated and 324 actual miles.​

    The following day should be better. I hope ;)

    Wayne
     
  9. joesgot4

    joesgot4 Well-Known Member

    wayne, what route are you taking from kentucky to new orleans
     
  10. xcel

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

    Hi Joe:

    I-65, I-20, and finally I-59 to I-10 and into New Orleans, LA proper.

    We begin the day with a quick detour to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata ECO visits the National Corvette Museum

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And the aFCD continues to climb after the poor condito0ns driven through a few hours prior.

    The National Corvette Museum is the very same where 8 very expensive Vettes fell into a 40' across by 25 to 30' deep sinkhole that developed within the museum itself. Most of the Vettes will be completely restored although according to a friend, one was too far damaged to be resurrected and restored.

    From their website, this is the museums story.

    National Corvette Museum in 7-minutes or less.

    Since 1953 the Corvette has been America's Sports Car. The National Corvette Museum was established as a non-profit foundation with a mission of celebrating the invention of the Corvette; preserving its past, present and future; and educating the public about Corvette.

    Corvette enthusiasts from all over the world kindly refer to the NCM as their home... Their Mecca.

    The website will give you some feeling of visiting and strives to be the resource center that Corvette enthusiast’s world-wide want and deserve. We invite you to visit and revisit our website often.

    We especially invite you to visit us in person (in Bowling Green, KY) and experience firsthand the passion and the excitement of America's Sports Car, the Chevrolet Corvette. The GM Bowling Green Corvette Assembly Plant, the only place in the world where Corvettes are made, is located across the street from the National Corvette Museum at I-65, exit 28.

    Open 8am-5pm CT, 7 Days a Week with the last admission tickets sold at 4:30pm. It is closed on New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.

    Admission is $10 for adults. $5 for kids 6 to 16 with 5 and under free. A family admission is $25.

    Keep all of this in mind for the conclusion of this story.

    Wayne
     
  11. xcel

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

    Hi All:

    After leaving the National Corvette Museum, it was half a state before the big Sonata ECO crossed into Tennessee.

    [​IMG]
    KY/TN border crossing on I-65 south.​

    A short stay at the Tennessee Welcome Center on I-65 was in order and noteworthy. The following pic is the way all guests are greeted. I was sitting in one of the Rocking chairs as I typed this short description up in fact.

    [​IMG]
    Comfortable and cozy next to the fire after a cold morning drive.​

    As I was traveling through Nashville, I made a small detour into downtown toward a mecca for country music fans everywhere.

    Toledo Shell to downtown Nashville

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately due to my self-imposed tight schedule, I did not drive up to the front of the Country Music Hall of Fame. I could however see it from the I-40 turnoff and it would have been a great excursion for anyone interested in downhome or modern Country Music.

    Here are few of the Country Music Hall of Fame details…

    The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is described as the definitive home for this purely American art form, safeguarding over two million artifacts, and has recently completed a major expansion that increased gallery and archive space.

    RCA Studio B and Hatch Show Print are historic properties of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum.

    Nestled on Music Row, STUDIO B is one of the most famous studios in the world where more than 35,000 songs were recorded by stars such as Elvis, Dolly Parton, and more – over 1,000 of which became hits.

    Tours depart daily from the Museum, and are available as part of the Platinum Package with Museum admission.

    Hatch Show Print is one of America’s oldest working letterpress print shops, and has created original art for Elvis Presley, Grand Ole Opry stars, and many of today’s artists. Hatch produces reprints of classic posters, and creates new work daily.

    Country Music Hall of Fame

    [​IMG]

    In 2014, the Museum more than doubled in size making Nashville’s cultural treasure an even greater destination for the individual and families! Keep this in mind for the end of the drive story.

    Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Admission and Hours

    Pricing for the Museum tour itself starts at $24.95 per adult and $12.95 for Children. The Museum opens daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

    Just a few miles out of Nashville, I pulled off for a little relief - about every 100 to 150 miles - and a refill. The refill being my liquid refreshment as my Pepsi stash ran out. ;)

    A little warmer and even a tailwind this afternoon is helping both speed and FE. 8 of 16 pips on the fuel gauge disappeared at 521 miles out - about 530 miles actual - so the kilo tank may be in jeopardy but the $50 Challenge is smooth sailing.

    [​IMG]

    Wayne
     
  12. xcel

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

    Hi All:

    Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Rockets on the $50 Challenge with the 2015 Hyundai Sonata ECO reaches the great state of Alabama. And the aFCD continues to climb...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    52.3 mpg at the border and still climbing in cold temps.​

    And here is where the Rockets part of the story unexpectedly came into the picture.

    A few miles down I-65 from the AL border crossing something really cool appeared over the tree line. I have traveled a lot of Interstates over the course of decades but had never traversed this section of I-65 into Alabama before. As I looked out of the windscreen, I could see the top of a rocket. I was thinking this must be the Alabama Space Complex? I saw the Welcome Center/Rest Area sign and it appeared as if the rocket was about the same distance out. Well I’ll be, the space complex must be next to the Welcome Center. As I got closer, I could see the exit to the Welcome Center and the Rocket was within the roadway split.

    Oh wow is this going to be a cool and totally unexpected stop!!!

    Meet the Saturn 1B

    [​IMG]

    The 2015 Hyundai Sonata ECO at the Alabama Welcome Center on I-65 southbound.

    Definitely worth the stop and not a chance a bus, train, or plane was going to ever arrive here to marvel at this. If you have children and or are the least interested in science and exploration, you cannot buy this wealth of awe and amazement at any price. I grew up during the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions so I was more than just a kid staring into the candy store window. It was more like being in the store eating all the candy I could possibly eat. :)

    Given the latest generation Orion space flight success just over a week ago, what a great way to honor the country’s future space endeavors with a look into the past. Here is a full blown Saturn 1B! Lady at the counter told me it was erected in 79/80 with the help of thousands of individuals to make it what it is today. AWESOME!

    [​IMG]
    The Legacy, Perspective, Visitor Center and Alabama’s Role information displays.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    The Saturn 1B description.​

    Two awesome parting shots of this awesome Alabama Welcome Center before I had to say goodbye. :(

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    But wait, there is more here!

    Wayne
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2014
  13. xcel

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

    Hi All:

    At the same Alabama Welcome Center, the state created a number of memorials honoring its sons and daughters who made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Alabama Honors Its Fallen from infantryman to Korea and onto Vietnam.​

    A reminder that our freedom has a steep price. A prayer was provided for all.

    Wayne
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2014
  14. xcel

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

    Hi All:

    The 2015 Hyundai Sonata ECO stops for a quick bite at a McDonald's in Decatur, AL before the final push.

    [​IMG]

    While on the road, Pandora from my T-Mobile unlimited music streaming provided my favorite tunes including these two classics.

    [​IMG]
    Wildwood Valley Boys “Silver Ghost” and Dixie Chicks “Travelin Soldier”.​

    Wayne
     
  15. xcel

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

    Hi All:

    2015 Hyundai Sonata ECO visits another Rest Area = another break in Eutaw, Alabama.

    [​IMG]

    The Sonata ECO is 750+ miles out with 257 miles to go, 155 miles DTE displayed and approximately 25 miles into the last 1/4 of a tank.

    Living large and on the edge.

    Now I am beginning to continuously calculate the race to 0 miles between the NAVI distance to destination and the DTE. I hope the NAVI wins. ;)

    [​IMG]
    Crossing the MS and LA borders into the night as the aFCD continues to tick up and the DTE ticks down…​

    Wayne
     
  16. xcel

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

    Hi All:

    Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Rockets with the 2015 @Hyundai ‪#‎Sonata‬ ECO arrives in New Orleans. From the Shell in Toledo just off the 475 on U.S. 20, I chose at a Shell on 4701 Canal St in New Orleans for the Sonata ECOs refueling point. A bit beyond the New Orleans airport in case anyone is keeping track.

    2015 Hyundai ‪#Sonata‬ ECO Toledo to New Orleans Google Map Route

    [​IMG]
    Toledo Shell to New Orleans Shell.

    Goal #1: She made it! Detroit (actually Toledo) to New Orleans without refueling. Distance of 1,015 actual miles - 987.9 miles displayed - with 26 miles DTE still left to go before Bingo fuel. Typical Hyundai under report of 2.7% odometer miles benefitting the consumer.

    [​IMG]

    After removing the seal, she took 19.376 gallons to top off (18.526 +. 850) for an actual 52.4 mpg vs 53.7 mpg displayed.

    [​IMG]

    Goal #2: It cost just $47.06 in fuel to drive the 1, 015 miles besting my $50 budget goal! The $0.03 off per gallon my Fuel Rewards Network card allowed did not hurt either. ;)

    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 $236. From the New Orleans airport a rental car cost $65 totaling $301.

    I now owe my favorite charity, "Hyundai Hope on Wheels", a check for $253.40 for the "How far can you drive on $50" challenge. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata ECO beat the goal and any flyer by hundreds of dollars!!! It completed this drive in terrible rain and windy conditions too!

    For the trip down I spent $11.00 at Zingerman’s - not incl. since that would be home for a Detroiter, $9.80 on McDonalds and Pepsi purchases totaled $5.50 with some still left. You would easily spend double that for a single meal at Detroit (DTW) before departure to New Orleans (MSY) and again in New Orleans.

    While the flyer would have spent maybe 10 hours with transport to Detroit and shuttle to the Rental car after the flight vs 18 hours to drive, he or she would have missed the National Corvette Museum ($25 admission) in Bowling Green, KY, the Country Music Hall of Fame ($25 admission) in downtown Nashville, and the Saturn 1B at the Rest Area (free). I also did not include any $ amount to cover a flyer's airport parking either. I'd take the loss of 10+ hours any day of the week to see all of that. In fact I did and it was well worth it! ;)

    I have the train and bus costs from the three week ago search at ~ $241 and $234 incl. a one-day car rental in New Orleans.

    Planes, Trains and Automobiles Travel Cost Comparison

    Column1Column2Column3Column4
    ModeTransportation*Car Rental**Total Cost
    2015 Hyundai Sonata ECO$47.06 for fuelNA$47.06
    Delta Airlines Flight$236 ticket$65$301
    AMTRAK Wolverine and City of New Orleans$176 ticket$65$241
    Greyhound Bus$169 ticket$65$234

    * Prices recorded on 11/24/2014
    **Cheapest rental out of New Orleans​

    Since that early lookup, flights have come down into the low $170 range and it still costs a lot more to fly while missing out on the attraction opportunities including paying admission along the way.

    The all-new 2015 Hyundai Sonata ECO can carry 5 comfortably. Multiply any of the above tickets by 4 or 5 and the family vacation sans a 2015 Hyundai Sonata ECO gets very expensive even with a hotel night included!

    Now off to Montgomery, AL to catch the morning shift building new 2015 Hyundai Sonatas and Elantras for the rest of America to try their own $50 Challenge.

    Oh wait, I had better catch a few Zs first. :D

    Wayne
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2014
  17. xcel

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

    Hi All:

    Dawn breaks over the Bijou with the 2015 Hyundai ‎Sonata‬ ECO and I am at a McDonalds on a Main street in Biloxi, MS. Wishing I was overlooking the bijou right now actually.

    [​IMG]

    Wayne
     
  18. xcel

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

    Hi All:

    Driving the 2015 Hyundai ‪Sonata‬ ECO up I-65 up towards Hyundai Motors Manufacturing America (HMMA) facility in Montgomery, AL and I saw how close I was to the Florida border. I just had to make the extra 5 mile detour for that!

    [​IMG]
    Florida!​

    Actually it was for a friend of all of us, Robert Winger, whose mom passed away last after a long bout with the aging process.

    Almost 2 years ago Bob and I were on a 48-State Guinness World Record (GWR) drive that began in his home state of Virginia. We departed while headed right into the teeth of a Tropical storm that was making its way up the coast. We just could not wait the few days for it to pass. After more than 500 miles of torrential rain, it stopped just as we came upon the Sunshine State sign in the exact spot where the 2015 Hyundai Sonata ECO is currently parked. We were both high fiving each other and were relieved the rain was finally over. As we got out of the car for GWR documentation pics and vids, the rain began coming down in buckets yet again.

    We were laughing hard as we got back in the car and discussed our predicament while soaked yet again. The irony could not have been any more poignant.

    In any case, I hope it brings back a good memory of two poor souls that were having a great time while taking on the world in conditions meant more for fish than humans. To conclude that story, it continued raining until we crossed the Louisiana border while heading almost due west in fact.

    Bob, I am raising a Pepsi in honor of your mom right now. God speed to her my friend.

    [​IMG]

    While in Walnut Hill, Florida, I stopped at a local grocery to refill the stocks… The Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Cookies never made it to North Carolina. ;)

    [​IMG]

    And on my way out while passing through Atmore, AL, I saw three Hyundai Sonata Hybrids in as many minutes. Still love that car.

    Next stop, HMMA!

    Wayne
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
  19. xcel

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

    Hi All:

    Planes, Trains and Automobiles with the 2015 @Hyundai ‪#‎Sonata‬ ECO. She has a homecoming of sorts as we visit Hyundai Motor Manufacturing of Alabama (HMMA) in Montgomery, Alabama.

    [​IMG]
    Plant site comes into view!​

    It is located on 1,744 acres – almost 3 sq. miles! - with more than 2 million sq.ft. of manufacturing and assembly facilities including the engines, chassis', body, interiors and everything else related to deliver Sonatas and Elantras to over 800 dealers across North America.

    [​IMG]

    Not only does the plant build ~ 300,000 Sonatas (first in May 2005) and Elantras - (first in November of 2010) with ~ 3, 000 employees over three shifts, this is where the 2015 Sonata ECO was and is built.

    [​IMG]

    I visited the plant during the 2015 Sonata Short Lead earlier this year and like most plant visits, to see rolls of sheet metal stamped into car parts and then put together with a consumer ready drivable car rolling off the end of the line is truly amazing.

    The 2015 Hyundai ‪#‎Sonata‬ ECO now has over 1,300 miles behind her over the previous 2 days and 800 miles ahead as we make our way from HMMA to Washington DC over the next 24 hours. There she will be handed over to the STI Press Fleet handlers.

    [​IMG]

    Topped off at a Shell just outside the HMMA plant and she's ready for some higher speed indoctrination.

    [​IMG]

    I also get a kick out of this $0.03 off per gallon thingie too. :)

    Wayne
     
  20. xcel

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

    Hi All:

    The 2015 Hyundai ‪#‎Sonata‬ ECO comes into the final stretch.

    First off some more Pandora favorites while passing through Alabama the night before.

    [​IMG]

    Since leaving New Orleans, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, HMMA, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and now Virginia at dawn have flown by.

    [​IMG]

    The Virginia Welcome Center at dawn is the best yet. Other than the Rockets at the Alabama Welcome Center anyway. ;)

    [​IMG]

    A throwback to the states historic past with the Southern Plantation exterior façade and a peaceful museum like atmosphere inside.

    [​IMG]

    Temps in the low 20s and 30s are lousy for efficiency but the Sonata ECO continues to purr.

    I have a lot of good things to say about the DI and turbod 1.6L mated to the 7-speed DSG. Since the prototype at launch, the Koreans and Americans responsible for its drivability should be very proud. It is very hard to get the quick shifting 7-speed to hiccup. Even in the worst stop and go traffic which is a testament to the hard work the drivetrain team had to put in to make it this good. Now wish this 7-speed dual clutch was in everything Hyundai makes.

    [​IMG]
    Even in below freezing temps, the Sonata ECO continues to perform well.
    Experienced a low of 23 degrees F a few hours prior.​

    Some excellent fuel saving capabilities from this all-new 7-speed DSG in Manual mode as well. Working with CC as a hard deck, in run out, and to remove any unnecessary downshifts during mild climbs of limited grade and duration, there is a lot to play with.

    Good stuff all around.

    Typed up from the Virginia Welcome Center at Bracey.

    Wayne
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014

Share This Page