In this era of extremely strong and ambitious federal mileage standards, conditions are ripe for controversies and battles to ensue over how honest and accurate window sticker city/highway/combined fuel economy numbers really are. Hyundai and Kia are going through this struggle now not long after the EPA found discrepancies between its own test results and what the company is claiming. The two companies have to compensate owners of 900,000 cars sold over the past two years for what the EPA says are faulty claims. Hyundai and Kia will also lower the fuel-economy estimates by one or two miles per gallon on most of their 2012 and 2013 models.
The biggest loser is the Kia Soul, which is getting its window sticker number reduced by a whopping six mpg for highway mileage. Hyundai and Kia had been enjoying strong sales surges in recent years, as US consumers adopted the brands and heard more positive things from automotive writers and safety/quality ratings. They’ve been offering very price competitive, high fuel economy vehicles in the small and midsize car segments. In an age of promoting 40 mpg highway driving, it’s not especially surprising that the company had to make restitution with the EPA.