Help: Hyundai i30 Excessive Fuel Consumption


Hi John,

I'm in desperate need of your help as Tynan Motors and Hyundai Australia want nothing to do with me since the purchase of my brand new i30 Premium Hyundai which i picked up on the 1st May 2013.

I traded my V6 toyota Kluger to save on fuel with the rising costs of living. Was told by Tynan Motors prior to purchase that the i30 will do 6.9 litres/100km or at least 500km per 50litre tank. My car has never reached over 380km per tank.

I am a mother and drive the car very sedately. Ive been back and forth to Tynans on numerous occasions and was told to try BP fuel, then was told to wait for my car to do 5000km for the motor to wear in, then was told by Hyundai Australia to do one tank and have photo evidence of the kms and fuel receipts and take the car back to Tynan with the evidence (car did 354km), was told by Hyundai Australia and Tynan Motors that these figures are within Hyundai's specs.

I find it hard to believe 6.9 (which they rub in your face prior to buying)  or 9.9 (which they fail to tell you prior to purchasing the vehicle ) on their website falls within theses figures. Based on the test I did we found it to be around 12.5. 


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We stopped random people in the street that own the same car and every one of them have stated they are getting over 500km in urban conditions and way over on highway driving. (We are collecting all their names and tel nos to use as proof if the need arises.)

Hyundai Australia and Tynan Motors keep fobbing me off saying there is nothing wrong with the vehicle, which tests ok on their diagnostic scans, which I think something is not getting picked up by these tests.


Thank you, 


VIDEO REPORT BELOW: Understanding Official Fuel Consumption


Hi Danielle, 

 It's hard to advise you specifically without knowing exactly which powertrain you have. (Which engine? Which transmission? Which body - the hatch or the wagon?)

The first thing to realise is that the claimed fuel consumption figures in the brochure are always wildly optimistic. This is because they are based on laboratory standard tests that are not very realistic. (The tests are unlike real driving.)

These tests are regulatory tests: not an example of car companies lying to get you across the line. The government requires them to be performed in this particular way. They're globally standardized. As far as consumers are concerned, they are almost certainly bullshit, from the point of view of setting customers up for unrealistic expectations about the fuel consumption of the car they buy.

(Car companies have become very good at getting the cars to ace the test, too ... which is different to being frugal across a range of real-world driving conditions. The official number is very important to them from a marketing and competitive claim perspective. And also for selling into government fleets, which often have specific mandatory consumption requirements.) 

All the official numbers are really good for is comparing cars - to see how the i30 compares with, say, the Corolla or the Mazda3 in relative terms. Or to see how the i30 diesel compares with the petrol, or to see how the manual compares with the auto. 

Remember, as a barometer of what you will actually consume, out there, in the traffic, the stated numbers are bullshit.  If the official number is, say, 10, you better bet on 13, basically.

There are two official tests. The first is a 'highway' test (called 'extra-urban cycle') and the second is a city driving test (called 'urban cycle') . The two results are combined to produce a 'combined cycle' fuel consumption figure.

All three numbers are commonly quoted in the glossy brochures, so it can get very confusing. With i30 there are four engines across two body styles, and two transmissions for each engine ... and each one gets its own set of three fuel numbers. Even more confusing. And none of these numbers are representative of real world driving, which is pretty much the icing on the cake baked entirely from official fuel consumption bullshit numbers...

Based on your information I'm presuming you have a 5dr premium i30 hatch with the 1.8-litre petrol engine and an auto transmission (it's the one that most closely represents your stated numbers). 

The official fuel consumption numbers for that car are:  Highway - 5.4 litres/100km. City - 9.9 litres/100km. Combined - 7.1 litres/100km.

Presuming you do mainly city driving, you will not achieve 9.9 litres/100km. Not once. Never. Not in a million years. Not after 5000km. Not when hell freezes over. Not even after Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard kiss and make up.

For cars the i30's size, you can expect consumption about 25 per cent higher than the claimed number - so your 12.5 result is pretty much as good as it's going to get for running around town.  Sorry. (The 1.8 petrol is not that fuel efficient in the real world - I've had several i30 petrol owners voice their concerns about 'excessive' consumption.)  

I really don't think your vehicle has a problem. It's a reasonably heavy car with a reasonably small engine, which isn't a recipe for class-leading economy in the real world. But it's not tremendously thirsty either.

Whoever told you to use BP fuel at Tynan's is an A-grade dickhead (or a liar). All fuel is the same (it all comes here on a big ship from Singapore, basically). Branding of fuels is merely cosmetic - there's no difference between BP, Shell, Coles, Woolies, 7-Eleven. It's all the same. 

There are differences between the fuel grades. E10, 91, 95 and 98 are different. E10 has about 3 per cent less energy than 100 per cent petrol, so fuel consumption goes up when you use E10 (by about 3 per cent). Fuel consumption improves very slightly when you use 95 or 98 compared with 91, because the engine adapts slightly to the higher octane. However, this boost in efficiency is not usually enough to offset the additional cost of the fuel.  (Me? I'd use 91 in your car.)

Having the dealer say you'd get 500km out of a tank (in the petrol) is quite simply just more dealership bullshit. They'll say anything to get you over the line. I think this claim by the dealer, plus the wildly optimistic nature of the official numbers has set you up for a hugely unrealistic expectation in respect of the car's consumption, and you've been bitten by reality. 

As for the claims of others that they're getting more than 500km out of a tank in city driving, I don't believe they're accurate. It can't happen. I believe it's very likely you're approaching these people with a view to prosecute an argument you've already decided the outcome of (as opposed to doing impartial research). Something in the way you're asking the questions is skewing the response. (If you asked me how far I was driving on a tank in my car, I would have to reverse-engineer it from what I pay at the pump - and I have a degree in engineering and I'm interested in this stuff. Most people would have no idea on this in my opinion, and I'm used to bouncing people in the street and asking automotive questions with a camera crew.)  I reckon you're saying: 'Do you get more than 500km out of every tank?' And they're saying: 'Yeah, sure. I guess.' (Not robust.)

Danielle, if fuel is $1.60 per litre, and you do 15,000km of running around town annually (that's about average according to Ausstats) then the annual fuel bill (at 12.5 litres per 100km) is going to be $3000 - about $60 a week. That's not unreasonable, given the tremendous convenience on offer. And if you can afford a new car, you can certainly afford $60 a week in petrol. If it were possible to wave a magic wand at the car and get the consumption down to 10.0 you'd save $12 a week (about three or four coffees).

The main thing is, I don't think your car is defective.  One thing that is defective though is the way you say the dealership has dealt with you. Hyundai and Tynan's should both have been able to communicate this issue more clearly - it's not rocket science. It's in their interest to keep you happy - dealers and car companies often lose sight of this once they have your money.

See this similar fuel consumption enquiry.


John Cadogan