My journey to a new ride from Hyundai. Chris Bernius – CleanMPG – Sept. 23, 2022 We have all read the stories and watched the videos of the Supply Chain Issues and Chip Shortage. We see factories and chip fabricators idled until their workforce is virus-free. As increased production appears to be "coming soon", inflation and increases in interest rates mean our cars - new and used - are about to get more expensive, both in transaction price and in monthly payment when financed. The trade-in prices have been on a downward trend since mid-summer and increases in loan defaults - a function of people overbuying and overestimating their budget - will push them down further as the repo cars start to hit the auction block. And more low-mile repos mean fewer new cars need to be built because there is a healthy supply of bank-owned inventory. The problem within the problem is that people who really need a car can't find one. Look at what is on the lot and ready for spot delivery, and you find older FSPs with higher mileage, and they typically look like they've been used for shooting storm chaser videos on YouTube, or they've been used as getaway cars in bank robberies. If you were to wander onto the lot at the exact moment that two Seasoned Citizens were trading in their fuel efficient, babied, garaged, well-appointed vehicle, you'd end up paying a little more than the cost of a new car, by the time they added in all the fees (tire air fee at $3.99/lb, 32lb of air, $127.68 per tire). And if you don't want to pay the price, step aside. There's someone behind you who will. Faced with the reality of the auto market as it looks today and looking ahead to realize it will get worse before it gets better, I decided it was time to buy something new. It would be an addition to the driveway rather than a replacement of anything already there. If one car gets wrecked, burned, stolen, serious/sudden mechanical catastrophe, etc, there's another car available for transportation. The challenge in buying a new car is finding one that is not only on the lot and ready to drive home but is selling at or around MSRP. There are dealers doing exactly that, while some are charging more than $10,000 over MSRP. You can find the worst offenders, as well as the no-markup retailers, at markups.org to see how dealers in your area are pricing their inventory. Time to use a little strategy. As gas prices have fallen to about 2/3 of their all-time high, people with the shortest memories are back to shopping for 300+hp V6 AWD 2+ton Circus Wagon EX(travaganza) lease queens. So, what are you most likely to find sitting there alongside the locomotive with square wheels or the Charlie-In-The-Box on the Island of Misfit Toys? Ah yes, the lowly midsize sedan. These days, people would rather be seen with an "I Kick Puppies" bumper sticker on their daily driver than to be seen driving a sedan. What will the neighbors think of you, with only one drive wheel and no chrome brush guards or mud tires or tacky trim level names borrowed from deserts or rainforests or Native American groups? And if choosing a sedan dramatically increases your chances of finding something "available now", search for the more fuel-efficient version to further improve the likelihood of success. And then the clincher - the Limited trim version that will push the monthly payment for most households into the Red Zone, so you have a better chance of finding one in inventory, with one or more spider webs on the mirrors to indicate the passage of time. Hmmm. How about something spotted locally, painted in an inoffensive platinum metallic ("Fluid Metal", as they say), in the sedan form factor, with its "boot" displaying the following identification? The 2023 Hyundai Elantra Limited retails for $29,000 + D&H of $1,045. Std. equipment includes the following: •1.6L I4 Hybrid mated to a 6-speed DCT •4-wheel disc brakes •17-inch Alloy wheels w/ 225/45R17 tires •LED DRLs •Solar glass control •Motor Driven Power Steering (MDPS) •Multi-link Rear Suspension •PTC Heater •Dual automatic temperature control •Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist w/ Pedestrian Detection •Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA) •Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCA) •Safe Exit Waring (SEW) •Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) •Lane Following Assist (LFA) •Safe Exit Warning & Rear Occupant Alert •Electronic Parking Brake (EPB) •LED headlamps •Proximity key w/ push button start and hands-free smart trunk release •Driver’s auto-up window •Illuminated vanity mirrors and sliding sun visors •Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist w/ Pedestrian, Cyclist and Junction-Turning Detection •Parking Distance Warning - Reverse •Highway Drive Assist (HDA) •High Beam Assist (HBA) •Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist – Reverse (PCA-R) •Driver Attention Warning (DAW) •Advanced dual front airbags w/ Occupant Classification System (OCS) •Front seat-mounted side-impact airbags •Roof-mounted side-curtain airbags •Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) •Electronic Stability Control (ESC) •Traction Control System (TCS) •Hill Assist Control (HAC) •Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) w/ Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) •Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) •Smart Cruise Control w/ Stop & Go •Electronic Parking Brake (EPB) •Sunroof •Dark chrome exterior accents •LED + bulb taillights •Side mirror turn signal indicators •Heated outside mirror •Rearview camera w/ dynamic guidelines •Auto headlamp control •Full 10.25-inch LCD TFT cluster •Power windows w/ driver’s auto-down •Bluetooth hands-free phone •Map lights w/ dome lamp & trunk lamp •Leather-trimmed seating •6-way adjustable driver’s seat w/ lumbar •Heated front seats •Ventilated front seats •Driver Integrated Memory Seating System (IMS) •Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter •Wireless charging pad •Passenger seat back pocket •Auto-dimming rearview mirror •Ambient LED interior lighting •Dynamic voice recognition •Hyundai digital key •4-way adjustable passenger seat •Center armrest w/ flip-up storage compartment •60/40 split folding rear seatback with armrest & cup holders •Compact spare tire •10.25-inch Display AM/FM/HD/SXM w/ Navigation •Bose Premium Audio w/8 speakers •Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto •Blue Link Connected Car Service •Dual USB Input •12V outlet (1) Up front, as we saw above, the Angry Whale Shark styling theme is appealing, and looks far better in states that don't require a front plate. The profile is an attractive wedge with the hybrid listed with a drag coefficient of 0.28, or 10% lower than the 0.31 of the more basic Elantra models. Within the wheelbase is the Mark Of Zorro sheet metal theme that is sure to give your local body shop fits if the car ever gets sideswiped and needs some door repair. Now, the real reason for buying an Elantra Hybrid is to greatly reduce the number of recycled dinosaurs we need to buy from terrorist countries. The Elantra Hybrid has two trim levels - the basic Blue and the rolling-computer-lab Limited. The Blue, with its lighter curb weight and modest wheel/tire fitment wears a 53/56/54 rating on its Monroney sticker. The Limited ladles on the luxury and is adorned with a wheel/tire package that would be at home in an MTV video. (Do they make videos anymore?) The added weight and the motorhome tires earn it a 49/52/50 rating. That's down 4 on each: City, Highway and Combined. The dynamometer test results inside the blue box show what CleanMPG drivers aim for in their daily driving. Surpass them and that's really Beating the EPA. CleanMPG's definition of Hypermiling is simple. Beat the EPA estimate in whatever you're driving. Over the years, over 15000 people have joined, and we can reasonably conclude that most have taken the initiative to beat the EPA in their vehicles. There has been a wide range of success, and world records have been set. We will never know how many millions of gallons of petroleum have been saved by CleanMPGers doing what they do every day. And the majority of CleanMPG hypermilers compound their savings by choosing fuel efficient vehicles for their daily drivers. The Elantra Hybrid Limited - EPA of 50mpg combined - is fun to drive, with its fully independent suspension, long wheelbase and sharp steering. And it's wildly capable. Here's what I saw after the 18-mile 50/50 city/highway trip home from the dealer. The car itself is very clearly still learning how to behave, and learning how I drive, so I suspect the only way to go is up. There's no OBD gage in there yet, so we're flying blind other than the stock i-FCD that appears to max out at an abysmal 75mpg. Still, beating the EPA by 55% on the first drive home in a new car on dealer-flattened tire pressure in the Hankook Kinergy GT tires is very encouraging. This is going to be a fun and frugal journey with the new Elantra Hybrid.