There is no doubt by now that you have seen gas prices rise in your area. There is also no doubt that this may seem like déjà vu. Let us remind you of the summer of 2008 when gas prices were climbing to all time highs here in the U.S. and consumers were starting to dump their large trucks and old “clunkers” for the prospect of more fuel efficient models in a smaller package. The choices are better now than they were two years ago and people who bought back in 2008 might be starting to think it is time to trade up with vehicles like the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra that can achieve up to 40-mpg. The question then becomes who is the clear winner for value and fuel economy and according to True Car, and industry researcher, the Hyundai Elantra comes out on top.
I know what you are thinking and you aren’t wrong, the 2011 Toyota Prius is the miles per gallon king. However, TrueCar advises that buyers not only look at miles per gallon rating and the type of fuel it takes, but also the cost to purchase and up keep the car. This is where their research has led them to declare the to 2011 Hyundai Elantra the “clear winner” in both average purchase price and fuel economy. Heck, in the Limited model you even get standard front and rear heated seats. The point here is, that the smaller fuel-efficient cars of today aren’t the “econo-boxes” of 20 or 30 years ago. In fact, the 2011 Hyundai Elantra is 100% better than the 2002 Hyunda Elantra that was a complete refresh—a car we might add that was praised for the quality of its materials considering the competition at the time.
So how much cheaper is the Hyundai Elantra than a Toyota Prius? With an average purchase price of around $15K for the Elantra and $22K for the Prius you can see there is a $7K split between them. When you factor in that the Elantra costs a little over $500 more to drive 15,000 in a year at $3.51 a gallon then you are looking an over all gap between the two cars of $4,500. However, if you by the top of the line Hyundai Elantra with all the bells and whistles, then you might come out spending a couple thousand more over 5 years. There is one more piece you have to factor in—the cost of upkeep. The data for the new Elantra isn’t out yet, but you can bet that without batteries and a class leading powertrain warranty that there is probably a clear winner in that category too.
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