Detailed MPG Comparison - 2016 Elantra vs 2013 Civic

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1,328
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Central Oklahoma
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We recently took two identical trips to visit her side of the family, one in each car (one trip unexpectedly). OKC-ish to Springfield, IL and back. Obviously it's 100% impossible to get perfect scientific conditions, but both times were as identical as can be. Same weight (our cargo) in the cars, same calm-ish winds, nearly the same temperatures, etc. I used cruise control in both vehicles both ways set to the speed limit (I only took over on the extra large hills in MO, such as the Piney Rivers on 44). The speed limit for 95% of Oklahoma is 75, 95% of the rest is 70. I stopped at the exact same gas stations along the way for both trips. I used A/C for the entire trip both times. I hand calculated the mpgs using the tripometer and gallons used (filling on the slowest 'click' setting, stopping when the pump clicks off on it's own, no squeezing). I feel this is as good as it gets. I didn't record (because it's irrelevant) what the cars 'said' the mpgs were, however I remember the Elantra overcompensated 1-2 full mpgs, and the Civic was either on the money or overcompensated by a ~1/2mpg. For both vehicles, on the way there I had the ECO/ECON modes disabled. For the return trip I enabled these. This way I could directly compare both vehicles in both modes side by side. The results really surprised me. For the record: The 2016 Elantra 1.8L 6-speed auto is EPA rated 28/37 (31 average). The 2013 Civic 1.8L 5-speed auto is EPA rated 28/39 (32 average). My stop in-between was in St. Robert MO (farthest East you can go before paying IL gas prices... mad). So we'll call home (closest gas station) A, St. Robert B, and Springfield C. The mileage from A<->B is 385.5 miles The mileage from B<->C is 241.9 miles The Elantra's numbers: A->B - 9.629 gallons - 40.04mpg (NON-ECO) B->C - 5.602 gallons - 43.18mpg (NON-ECO) C->B - 6.655 gallons - 36.35mpg (ECO) B->A - 9.829 gallons - 39.22mpg (ECO) The Civic's numbers: A->B - 9.835 gallons - 39.20mpg (NON-ECON) B->C - 5.931 gallons - 40.79mpg (NON-ECON) C->B - 6.810 gallons - 35.52mpg (ECON) B->A - 10.237 gallons - 37.66mpg (***NON-ECON***) ***After knowing the results from the Elantra's ECO mode, and after the first leg of the Civic's ECON mode, I decided it wasn't worth it for the data. It would clearly be worse. Regardless, I learned a few things. One, clearly the ECO/ECON modes are terrible for highway driving. Two, the EPA obviously played favorites with Honda. Three, I now know Hondas are overrated (literally) and I love my underrated Elantra even more. But I'll give credit where it's due, Honda's mpg calculator is pretty legit, at least for this model and year. Hopefully this wasn't too much of a novel and was enjoyable smile. I just felt this is data that someone would find interesting and/or could utilize, and may not be able to replicate themselves. It was definitely eye-opening for me.

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Western S.C.
Interesting. What exactly do ECO or ECON mode do on those vehicles? I'll guess you had a little breeze from the west or southwest.
 
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Central Oklahoma
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Originally Posted by CR94
What exactly do ECO or ECON mode do on those vehicles?
You tell me and we'll both know. Honda doesn't tell you much, Hyundai doesn't tell you anything. I'm under the assumption both cars change shift points, affect A/C compressor operation...idk what else. But it's supposed to INCREASE fuel economy. Ironic. Knowing this, I just laugh in my head at several people I used to know who would leave that button on 24/7 "to help me get better gas mileage." Both cars will not be using it going forward.
 
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ROCHESTER, NY
My daughter's 2015 Civic LX w/CVT is quite comparable in MPG compared to the EPA rating(YMMV). There is a difference in MPG with the CVT. And this Civic's MPG calculator(in dash) has been right on(within a couple of 1/10s) compared to any other car we've experienced. All of our vehicles that we've owned since 2000-01 MPG calculator has been optimistic by at least 2-3 MPG. In my opinion, anyone that only used the vehicles MPG calculator for their fuel economy is only fooling themselves especially if they've never done a hard reading. Who knows, you may actually get better if you calculate it on your own...I've seen this too! And my daughter would also agree that using the ECON Mode on the highway nets worst fuel economy so therefore, she doesn't use ECON Mode on the hiwy but does in fact use it otherwise during her daily commute. My BIL had a 2011 & 13 Elantra with the 1.8L automatic and he DID NOT experience the MPG that you were getting. In fact, he got a Annual Check from Hyundai from some class action lawsuit due to Hyundai overstating their EPA fuel economy figures in which Hyundai must have fixed by 2016 with some reprogramming. He did love the Elantras and I can attest to that as well. Nice cars! My Niece currently has the previous generation Elantra('08/'09) she loves it to this day. And my other niece(her sister) has an '05 Civic with lots of miles and continues to love it as well. My nephew(their brother) has an '01 Civic and loves it too. So, it seems as though, we all love our cars! laugh
 
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ZFW
The only thing I can definitively say that ECO mode does in my Elantra is change shift points. It will stay at lower RPMs. As far as everything else, I couldn't tell you.
 
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PA
Good thorough report. It's amazing how much difference direction of travel can make. West to east is almost always better fuel economy, plus it takes a lot less time to fly across the ocean. Trade winds and all that. Maybe next time take this trip with the cruise control set to 65 mph; see how much difference 5-10 mph makes.
 
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Kendall, FL
Thanks for your efforts OP. Nice report. I wonder how much difference the newly introduced CVT will make on the 2020 Elantras. Civics have now used CVT for a few years.
 
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Canuck living in California
Most ECO models alter shift points and alter throttle opening, meaning the throttle plate will open less with the same pedal input when accelerating. It can make a difference in city or stop and go traffic for heavy footed drivers. On long trips it can actually hinder mpg, especially on hilly terrain and when using cruise control because the downshifts are more delayed and the programming tries to keep the tranny in the tallest gear possible. So what ends up happening going up an incline, is the car will slow down a lot more than normal before downshift is commended, and then it has to accelerate much harder up a hill to the set CC speed. As anyone can imagine, accelerating up a hill wastes a lot of fuel. The ECO mode in my grand caravan is really bad in this regard.
 
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Central Arkansastan
Originally Posted by KrisZ
Most ECO models alter shift points and alter throttle opening, meaning the throttle plate will open less with the same pedal input when accelerating. It can make a difference in city or stop and go traffic for heavy footed drivers. On long trips it can actually hinder mpg, especially on hilly terrain and when using cruise control because the downshifts are more delayed and the programming tries to keep the tranny in the tallest gear possible. So what ends up happening going up an incline, is the car will slow down a lot more than normal before downshift is commended, and then it has to accelerate much harder up a hill to the set CC speed. As anyone can imagine, accelerating up a hill wastes a lot of fuel. The ECO mode in my grand caravan is really bad in this regard.
This pretty much sums it up. I know when my 2013 Elantra (RIP) boasted the eco mode as retarding the timing and achievement of up to 7% better mileage. In my case I never use it. I always have gotten better mileage with it off, city or highway.
 
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Houston, TX
Originally Posted by tony1679
Regardless, I learned a few things. One, clearly the ECO/ECON modes are terrible for highway driving. Two, the EPA obviously played favorites with Honda. Three, I now know Hondas are overrated (literally) and I love my underrated Elantra even more. But I'll give credit where it's due, Honda's mpg calculator is pretty legit, at least for this model and year.
I don't know if you should really claim Honda mpg is overrated and that the EPA is playing favorites. Fuelly.com shows the average mpg of the 2016 Hyundai Elantra 1.8L at 29.33 mpg so 1-2 mpg within the combined rating of the EPA. Fuelly shows the average mpg of the 2013 Honda Civic with the 1.8L at 31.42 mpg so less than 1 mpg from the EPA combined rating.
 
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Location
Atlanta, GA
My parents have a 2017 or 2018 Pilot with the eco mode, I have driven it on longer trips (state roads with 60-65 MPH) and used Eco mode. It definitely neuters the throttle and shift points, the only time that was an issue was on passing maneuvers (1 lane each direction) where it would just refuse to downshift and if you dipped into the throttle enough then it would garner a 2-3 gear downshift giving way more acceleration. Mom ended up driving us to dinner and I forgot to take it off Eco. My parents did a number of Houston to northern Minnesota road trips back and forth and did a similar test to yours. She said she did not see any difference between Eco vs non-Eco so she just leaves it off all the time now. I will say the Eco mode made the drive awful to say the least, it was a complete slug off of the line.
 
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Location
Atlanta, GA
My parents have a 2017 or 2018 Pilot with the eco mode, I have driven it on longer trips (state roads with 60-65 MPH) and used Eco mode. It definitely neuters the throttle and shift points, the only time that was an issue was on passing maneuvers (1 lane each direction) where it would just refuse to downshift and if you dipped into the throttle enough then it would garner a 2-3 gear downshift giving way more acceleration. Mom ended up driving us to dinner and I forgot to take it off Eco. My parents did a number of Houston to northern Minnesota road trips back and forth and did a similar test to yours. She said she did not see any difference between Eco vs non-Eco so she just leaves it off all the time now. I will say the Eco mode made the drive awful to say the least, it was a complete slug off of the line.
 
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Phoenix, AZ
Interesting results, but makes sense based on some of the above comments. I had a '12 Civic that I averaged 37ish mpg in over 44K miles, very impressed with that car. Always disliked using the econ mode for sure.
 
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Central Oklahoma
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Originally Posted by aquariuscsm
If you follow Marco's posts,I think he gets in the 40+ mpg range in his Civic.
*with a CVT. I'll sacrifice a few mpgs for a set of gears any day of the week.
 
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Illinois
You can stop in STL and go R/T from Springfield to STL on a tank of fuel as it's only 90 miles from the state line to Springfield, IL. But I hear you on the gas prices. I paid $2.279 in South STL County yesterday at Sam's Club, while the same gallon of gas at my local IL Sam's Club was 2.699 or $0.42 more per gallon. Interesting numbers for sure.
Originally Posted by tony1679
My stop in-between was in St. Robert MO (farthest East you can go before paying IL gas prices... mad). So we'll call home (closest gas station) A, St. Robert B, and Springfield C. The mileage from A<->B is 385.5 miles The mileage from B<->C is 241.9 miles The Elantra's numbers: A->B - 9.629 gallons - 40.04mpg (NON-ECO) B->C - 5.602 gallons - 43.18mpg (NON-ECO) C->B - 6.655 gallons - 36.35mpg (ECO) B->A - 9.829 gallons - 39.22mpg (ECO) The Civic's numbers: .
 
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Central Oklahoma
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Originally Posted by javacontour
You can stop in STL and go R/T from Springfield to STL on a tank of fuel as it's only 90 miles from the state line to Springfield, IL. But I hear you on the gas prices. I paid $2.279 in South STL County yesterday at Sam's Club, while the same gallon of gas at my local IL Sam's Club was 2.699 or $0.42 more per gallon. Interesting numbers for sure.
St. Robert's prices are the farthest East you can go that are still similar to OK's prices. Rolla/Cuba/Pacific/STL is a decent amount higher and IL, well, you know.
 
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Central Oklahoma
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So I figured I'd revive this thread for an important reason. I had to make another trip up there, so I made it as identical as possible again. Took the Elantra since it gets better mpgs and is more comfortable. Almost the same conditions, same almost calm winds, about 10 degrees hotter though. Here's the original data from page 1: The Elantra's numbers: A->B - 9.629 gallons - 40.04mpg (NON-ECO) B->C - 5.602 gallons - 43.18mpg (NON-ECO) C->B - 6.655 gallons - 36.35mpg (ECO) B->A - 9.829 gallons - 39.22mpg (ECO) The Civic's numbers: A->B - 9.835 gallons - 39.20mpg (NON-ECON) B->C - 5.931 gallons - 40.79mpg (NON-ECON) C->B - 6.810 gallons - 35.52mpg (ECON) B->A - 10.237 gallons - 37.66mpg (***NON-ECON***) My stop in-between was in St. Robert MO (farthest East you can go before paying IL gas prices... mad). So we'll call home (closest gas station) A, St. Robert B, and Springfield C. The mileage from A<->B is 385.5 miles The mileage from B<->C is 241.9 miles And I'll paste the original Elantra trip again with the most recent trip below it: The Elantra's numbers: A->B - 9.629 gallons - 40.04mpg (NON-ECO) B->C - 5.602 gallons - 43.18mpg (NON-ECO) C->B - 6.655 gallons - 36.35mpg (ECO) B->A - 9.829 gallons - 39.22mpg (ECO) Elantra trip #2 numbers: A->B - 9.306 gallons - 41.38mpg (NON-ECO)* B->C - 5.578 gallons - 43.37mpg (NON-ECO) C->B - 5.402 gallons - 44.78mpg (NON-ECO) B->A - 9.677 gallons - 39.84mpg (NON-ECO) * - stopped at a station exactly 1 mile farther from my house/closer to "B" so I subtracted a mile from the calculation I think it's safe to say the Elantra is definitely superior to the Civic in the MPG department, and without a doubt ECO mode in the Elantra is garbage on the highway.
 
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PEARL River la
As far as I understand it Eco is for in town not interstate. In my van Eco mode gives me decent in town and on interstate it shifts to late causing burst of higher rpm. Just my observation with the Kia and my Caravan.
 
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