Hyundai, Kia Planning More Fuel-Efficient Accent, Elantra and Forte Models

Hyundai and Kia have announced plans to build more fuel-efficient versions of the Accent, Elantra and Forte. These “blue” models will be much like GM’s XFE (Xtra Fuel Efficient) cars and trucks and use many of the same techniques.

For starters, fuel-economy will be improved through the use of a five-speed, rather than the standard four-speed automatic transmission. The cars will also get lower rolling resistance tires, as well as electric (rather than hydraulic) power steering. Additionally, new alternators will be used that produce less drag on the engine, while special aerodynamic enhancements will help improve efficiency in that respect.

Kia says the Forte EX with the company’s add-on fuel-economy package will get a rating of 27/36 mpg (city/highway) as compared to 25/34 mpg.

Hyundai has not released expected fuel-economy numbers for the Accent or Elantra, but if Kia’s 2 mpg rating holds steady then the vehicles should get 28/37 mpg and 25/37 mpg (city/highway) respectively.

Hyundai has set a goal of a fleet average fuel-economy rating of 35 mpg by 2015 and this will no doubt help it get there.

The cost to consumers for these fuel-efficient models will vary. Kia believes buyers will pay extra ($600 extra) for a fuel-economy package, while Hyundai will offer its “blue” models as stripped down versions costing less than the other trim levels.

All three fuel-efficient vehicles will be available late this summer as 2010 models.

[Source: Car & Driver]

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