Hyundai i30 Diesel Excessive Fuel Consumption


Hi John,

I bought a Hyundai i30 CRDI in July 2012, and ever since I've made circa 67,000Km. I use the car to commute between Wollongong and Chatswood, which means I do about 190km/day.

The main reason why I chose this car was the fact that it is a Diesel and also the announced fuel consumption values:

  • Urban - 5.6l/100Km
  • Combined - 4.5l/100Km
  • Open Road - 3.7l/100Km

Unfortunately and despite using the car for commuting and actually avoiding peak hours in the Sydney/Chatswood area, the fact is that the car is not getting fuel consumption anywhere near the announced values. To this day the car has a consumption of +/- 4.96L/100km, which I've been measuring and recording constantly.

Once I realized that the figures were nowhere near what is announced, I approached Hyundai and they simply brushed it off and advised that the figures that I'm getting are absolutely normal.

As you can understand, I'm not happy with this situation as I feel that I was tricked / deceived... especially considering that other cars that I drove before would achieve the figures that are noted by the manufacturers.

I'd like to put in a formal complaint but I'm not sure how to do this. Can you help in any way?

Thank you very much,



Hi Joao,

I don't think your car is defective. I think you've been handled badly by the dealer and (possibly) Hyundai.

I've already written a lengthy answer about why the quoted fuel consumption values for cars are ridiculous here. Please read this before continuing here.

In summary, the quoted fuel consumption figures are derived from standardised, tightly controlled laboratory tests. They are excellent for comparing the fuel consumption of different cars (for example, the i30 Vs the Mazda3 Vs the Corolla). They are also excellent for comparing the different powertrains available in a particular model (for example, manual Vs auto of a particular engine, or diesel Vs petrol). 

Unfortunately the tests are out of step with real-world driving and they always quote numbers that normal owners cannot achieve. Yours is a very common misunderstanding. Many people are frustrated and angry as a result of this issue.

This is not just an Hyundai problem; it's a problem across the entire car industry.

The urban test in particular is very out of step with what you achieve in practise when driving in the city.

I would stress that the car companies are not 'cooking the books' or fraudulently claiming overly optimistic numbers. They are required by law to state the official test numbers. This is a regulatory failure (ie governmental) and not an example of car companies ripping you off.

These tests are actually global industry-standard regulatory tests - so if it's any consolation there are angry and frustrated people just like you, everywhere from Australia to Zambia.

Car companies and dealerships do market those fuel numbers very heavily, and they use them to compete with the other brands. They push the numbers in your face very hard. This sets up in the minds of many buyers the expectation that they will in fact achieve the quoted test numbers when they drive the car out there on the road. Fuel efficiency has become a major factor in the decision to purchase a new vehicle - and very few companies (none, in fact) want you to see 3.7L/100km followed by a disclaimer that you'll never even get close to that if you buy the car.

When you buy the car and that quoted fuel number doesn't happen, the consumption seems excessive, and many buyers like you get angry and frustrated - especially after getting the brush off from dealers.

Many dealers just don't care about you once you've bought the car. To many other dealers, this is a very common complaint. They've heard it all before. They're used to it, and they brush you off because you are the 400th person they've had complain about this issue - this month.

This is a failure on their part to recognise that you have a legitimate concern. It's quite reasonable to express concern when the numbers literally don't add up. The consumption does seem excessive. You've got evidence of what seems like a problem, you've spent a significant amount of cash. It's entirely appropriate for them to stump up a dignified response.

They really should handle communicating about this issue a lot better.

Basically it's the regulatory tests that are a failure. (They should have organised tests that arrived at a slightly heavier than reality set of numbers - then everyone would be overjoyed their cars were even more efficient than claimed...)

So, your i30 CRDI is not defective. In fact the number you're getting is so close to the combined cycle number that you're doing very well. Doubtless this is a result of the mostly open-road driving and the minimisation of time spent in peak congestion when you are in urban areas.

A formal complaint isn't warranted.

Frankly, the fact that you can drive a modern, comfortable car 100km and use under 5 litres of fuel is an engineering miracle.

Basically it costs you about $15 a day to travel in air-conditioned comfort from Wollongong to Sydney and back, streaming your music in a car with five-star crashworthiness, with excellent performance, good looks and high levels of comfort and refinement. In your case, because you're driving 50,000km annually, the unlimited-kilometre warranty will keep you protected until July 2017. You've made exactly the right choice in vehicles in my opinion, and it it working out for you, 100 per cent.

You should revise your opinion and be happy with the car.

See this similar enquiry.


John Cadogan