AD #1386 – Accord Hybrid Misses EPA Claim, DeltaWing Passenger Car, Hyundai’s New Large Sedan

May 29th, 2014 at 11:51am

Runtime: 10:14

- CR Pans Hybrids, Praises Diesels
- Diesels Not Europe’s Pollution Problem
- New Head of Ford European Design
- If DeltaWing Were a Passenger Car
- Hyundai’s New Large Luxury Sedan
- You Said It!

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Hello and thanks for joining us here at Autoline Daily. Later in the show we’ll get to some of your questions and comments, but now let’s get to the news.

Ford isn’t the only automaker to miss its hybrid EPA ratings in the real world. The Honda Accord Hybrid misses by a mile, according to Consumer Reports. CR was impressed with Honda’s hybrid but says it averaged 40 MPG, instead of the 47 MPG rating it carries. CR also panned the Subaru XV Crosstrek hybrid saying it was only able to average 2 MPG more than the non-hybrid version. And for the first time I can remember, Consumer Reports had positive things to say about diesels. The magazine was impressed with the Grand Cherokee diesel, especially its fuel economy which averaged 6 MPGs better than the gasoline V6. And it also tested the BMW 328d. Even though it’s 0-60 time is slower than the gasoline version and it’s a bit noisier, the magazine praised the fuel economy of the turbo-diesel which averaged 35 MPGs.

Speaking of diesels, they’re being blamed for high levels of pollution in Europe and other places. But a new report from the United Nation’s Economic Commission for Europe says diesels are really not the main problem. Health experts are concerned about unburned particles of hydrocarbons, generally referred to as PM 2.5 or PM 10. That stands for Particulate Matter that are 2.5 or 10 micrometers in size. These fine particles can be breathed in and embed themselves on people’s lungs, which can cause cancer. But the UN report says that 83% of PM 2.5 and PM 10 emissions come from sources other than diesels. I would point out that U.S. diesel emission standards for passenger vehicles mean that diesels are now as clean as gasoline engines. And the Euro 6 emission standards, which go into effect this year, bring Europe’s standards on a par with U.S. standards.

We’re seeing a bit of a changing of the guard at Ford Design. Martin Smith, who is 64 years old, and who has been running Ford’s European design studios will retire in another month. He’s going to be replaced by Joel Piaskowski, 45, who had been running Ford’s Asia Pacific studios and its global advanced studios. Piaskowski started his career at GM, moved over to Hyundai, then ran Mercedes-Benz’s advanced studio in California before going to Ford. Remember this name, this guy is going places.

Have you ever wondered what a street legal, four passenger version of the DeltaWing racecar would look like? Neither did we but the folks over at DeltaWing apparently did. The company just released this, one and only, wild looking image of a street legal, passenger version of the car. DeltaWing’s performance targets for the car are 0-60 mph in about six seconds, 130 mph top speed, and up to 70 MPG when using a small displacement, four-cylinder engine that produces between 85 and 110 horsepower. DeltaWing wants to partner with or license its technology to a major automaker instead of building it independently. Sounds to us that any OEM with a CAFE problem might be interested.

Hyundai just pulled the wraps off a new large flagship luxury sedan for the Korean market it will introduce later this year, which is codenamed AG. The exterior design is another example of the automaker’s Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language and other than the fact that it is front-wheel drive we don’t know much else about the car. But we do find the name interesting. In Germany AG is the equivalent of Incorporated, like Daimler AG, BMW AG or Audi AG. Maybe we’re reading too much into this but how interesting that Hyundai’s flagship luxury car is code-named AG.

Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!

Boy, I set off something of a firestorm with my comments on Tuesday about how bad television coverage is of motor racing. We got all kinds of comments and emails including this one from Alex Barnett in Canada. “John you mentioned how bad the TV coverage of Indy 500 (which I watched) and Nascar 600 (I just can’t watch anymore) and I agree completely about the coverage, but you missed commenting on the other big race of the day the Monaco Grand Prix. In Canada we get the BBC British coverage. It was a great race with incredible backdrops and in-car camera and telemetry work. All with no commercials and not once did I hear Boogety Boogety Boogety.” Alex, I did not include F1 coverage because my rant was starting to go a little long. But you’re right, the F1 coverage is a lot better. Here in the U.S. we get F1 coverage via NBC Sports, which uses David Hobbs, Steve Matchett and Leigh Diffey. They do a commendable job, but we still get quite a few of commercial interruptions and miss a lot of the action. Also, they feel the need to explain the qualifying procedure every single time. I don’t know of any other sports coverage where the rules of the game are explained at every single game. And why is it that in every other sport it is the pace of the sport that dictates when a commercial break comes, whereas motor racing is the only one where the sport is interrupted for a commercial break?

A.C. wants to know, “John why are you so negative about electric cars and Tesla in general? It’s like you want them to fail.” No, that’s not true. I actually like electric cars. Go read my review of the Chevy Spark EV in the Seat Time section of our website. It’s pretty positive. Here’s my problem with electrics. They are being mandated into existence. They are being showered with all kinds of government subsidies, to build them, to sell them, to charge them. There is very low natural market demand for these vehicles, in every market in the world. And so every car company that makes EVs is losing money on them. And I am completely against government mandates that force car companies to lose money.

Rick may have come up with one of the better ideas I‘ve heard of in a long time: “Forget heated seats and steering wheels…here in Oklahoma we need air-conditioned steering wheels during our HOT summers…sometimes you need oven mitts in order to touch anything inside the car!” OK, all you product planners out there in the audience. Which one of you will be the first to market with a cool-to-the touch steering wheel?

A bunch of you wrote in after the Autoline This Week we did with the color experts. I wish we could answer them all, but I think MJB sort of hit the nail on the head: “This could be viewed as a chicken and egg discussion. Do people drive bland cars because that’s all the dealers stock, or do dealers only stock bland colors because that’s what most people end up choosing?” There’s no question that dealers like to buy safe colors, that is, popular colors like black, white and silver. They don’t want to be stuck with burnt orange or lime green that sit on the lot for months. But you can’t blame dealers for the bland color problem. Even in countries like Germany and Japan, where buyers mostly order their cars instead of buying them off the lot, the most popular colors are black, white and silver.

Again, thanks for all your letters and comments, we truly like reading through them all even if we can’t answer them all.

Before we go, don’t forget that Autoline After Hours tonight will feature Monte Kaehr, the chief engineer on the Toyota Camry. Here’s your chance to get an insider’s view of developing the best selling car in the American market. Of course if you can’t watch it live you can always catch it later on our website, at the iTunes store or on our YouTube channel.

And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for making us a part of your day.

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26 Comments to “AD #1386 – Accord Hybrid Misses EPA Claim, DeltaWing Passenger Car, Hyundai’s New Large Sedan”

  1. Brett Says:

    Two related thoughts about the Deltawing for the street.

    1. How on Earth would the insurance group test that thing for low-offset frontal collisions?

    2. If all cars were Deltawings, would there no longer be head-on collisions? It’d be about as difficult as balancing a pencil on its pointed end on a tabletop.

  2. G.A.Branigan Says:

    The last truck I bought was a 2011 Silverado/reg cab/Z71……..IN RED.It was the only non-standard pickup on the lot.The rest were the usual white/black/and silver.Choices on the lot,or order it your way.My possible next vehicle will more then likely have to be ordered because my local dealer only carries the standard bland-dull-booring colors.My red truck was a dealer trade….

  3. Lex Says:

    IMHO The Deltawing will go the way of the Spruce Goose.

  4. Lex Says:

    There should or must be a technology to burn or collect these unburned particles of hydrocarbons before they are released into the environment from the tailpipe of a diesel powered vehicle? This might be a good topic for AAH discussion.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Accord hybrid missed its EPA numbers, but it still beats every other similar size car in overall mpg in CR’s tests, including the Passat TDI, which uses more expensive fuel, needs urea juice, and isn’t as quick. No, I’m not running down the Passat TDI. I like it a lot.

    Yes, there needs to be some type of adjustment in the EPA tests for hybrids, but if you really want the best available fuel economy, hybrids are where you get it.

    As far as hybrids that actually make sense to buy, based on price premium and the mpg they get in real world driving, there are several, including Camry, Fusion, and Accord sedans, along with Prius and C-Max and a few others. There are hybrids, like the Subaru Cross trek, the various GM mild hybrids, and most hybrids from luxury brands like M-B and BMW, that don’t get much better mpg than the gas non-hybrids.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    3, That’s from Long Beach, CA to somewhere it Oregon, isn’t it?

  7. MJB Says:

    3. Agreed.

    I’m a self-proclaimed expert parallel parker, but even I’d be a bit challenged trying to swing that thing in between a couple of vehicles. So I can imagine the issues your ‘average’ driver may have with it.

  8. Brad Warner Says:


    Perhaps Hyundai’s AG code is a reference to silver’s symbol on the Periodic Table. Maybe the car company will be coming out with an AU model that is even more expensive.

  9. Dean Romanski Says:

    The dealers have all but made manual transmission cars nonexistent the same way. They don’t order them because people don’t buy them… People don’t buy them because the dealers don’t order them…

  10. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Lex: New diesels have a dpf in place to trap said particulates.When driving the diesel it will go into “regen”,which is then that the unburned particulates are burned.That is where the urea comes in.Regen is done when a sensor in the dpf triggers the regen sequence.At least that is how it was explained to me.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9, I like manual transmission cars, but I don’t like buying cars without test driving one with the same powertrain. Try finding a manual transmission Passat TDI to test drive. A MINI, like the one I have, is one of few manual transmission cars you can find at a U.S. dealer.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    8, Maybe Hyundai will expand the use of precious metal names from credit cards to cars.

  13. RonE Says:

    12, Ford uses the Platinum name for some of its top model cars & trucks.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    13, I knew Ford used titanium, a totally different type of metal, but I didn’t know they used platinum. Platinum is more valuable than gold. At least it was that last I knew. Maybe the upcoming Hyundai targeting Rolls-Royce will be the Platinum Edition.

  15. Bob Wilson Says:

    Nobody can replicate the CR “test” because they do not publish the speeds, times, accelerations, and elevations for their non-highway test. The CR highway numbers are in good agreement with the EPA highway numbers. No one outside of CR has enough information about their “test” except to call it suspicious.

    When we plot CR “mileage” versus the EPA city mileage, we find there is a “knee in the curve” around 35 MPG suggesting CR has a built-in flaw. The data suggests CR is using a short, cold-soak cycle BUT no one can tell because CR is keeping their “test” a secret.

    The irony is most auto articles cite highway mileage which is the one area that CR, EPA, and owners find universally reproducible. But that was not the 40 MPG reported.

    Bob Wilson, Huntsville AL

  16. LenV Says:

    Regarding Alex Barnett’s comment in You Said It – I watched the F1 Monaco Gran Prix in Canada as well. It was the BBC feed broadcast on TSN (The Sports Network). There were all kinds of commercials, inserted with no regard for current race status or occurrences. At the end they cut away to another show before the driver interviews even started. Hey Alex, where were you able to watch commercial free in Canada? LV

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A couple years ago, I found a description of CR’s city test, and and as we might expect, it was a short run, from a cold start, with lots of stops. Whatever one might think, it is indicative of what a lot of people would encounter in their normal driving, It is much more indicative of most people’s real world driving than the EPA numbers, or any other data available in the U.S., and is a good tool for comparing cars. CR’s highway test is straightforward. It is a steady 65 mph with a warm engine.

    Especially, the CR numbers are much better for comparing standard gas vs hybrid vs diesel cars. My real world mpg with my Prius is less than the EPA numbers. My real world mileage with my MINI is slightly better than the EPA numbers. My overall mileage with both cars is very close to what the numbers CR published.

  18. C-Tech Says:

    Why does the Deltawing remind me of an updated British Reliant Robin?

  19. BOTUCM (Ricky Beggs) Says:

    John, as you offer another chance to listening to your news and shows through a mobile app and connected to the bluetooth of your car, are you supporting distractive driving? I want to concentrate on what key news and insight you are providing but must be focused on the primary task at hand which is driving the car, and want others to be doing the same, especially when enjoying the ride on two wheels. Keep the news coming!

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17, Was a Robin that 3 wheeled thing?

  21. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I remember that one from TopGear U.K. (you know the good “TopGear” :) Here’s a link to see what one looks like; As the ‘Brits’ would say, they drive like rubbish.

  22. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Sorry for the ‘crappy’ (exceeding long) link.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I saw a few of them when I was in the navy in Scotland, always on all three wheels.

  24. stas peterson Says:

    You are correct when you say that new Diesel requlation going into effect in Europe, that approach but do not meet long-standing American emissions standards for both Otto and Diesel cycle cars, will eventually clean up European Air, and its Diesels. But its Air is poor now and has been as the the Europeans like to talk and talk and talk about cleaning up but they haven’ seen fit to actually do it.

    The current American Air emissions standards in effect since the 1980s, make no distinction between Otto or Diesel power plants. It is the way all standards should be, but are not.

    Now we are preparing to tighten them further, as Europe and the rest of the world grows ready to approach but not match our old standards.

    Right now the government dominated by left wing cranks, and mindless bureaucrats, has gone completely overboard in dictating not only fuel economy numbers but kinds of drivetrains and power plants that must be built.

    The technologies they espouse are no where near as technically mature as needed. Plus the reasons for the mandates NO LONGER EXIST.

    We are no longer worried about lack of Petroleum, nor its control by Mid-Eastern despots. Nor is the completely overblown CAGW turning out to be a problem, at all.

    There has been no warming for over 17 years, if anything there has been a slight global cooling occuring.

    So why do the mandates exist and why increase them? American Air is now essentially clean. But not the rest of the worlds AIR Quality. Let them do as we have already done, and showed how to do it. We have virtually completed the job we set out to accomplish almost a Half a century ago, and cleaned up the environment.

    Lets celebrate our hard won Victory. Of about 2500 American counties, all but a handful remaining around Houston and Los Angeles meet the EPA’s Air Quality Compliance standards for clean AIR. That handful are continuing to get better as well.

    We need to cease our ‘crash programs’ to clean up no longer dirty Air, nor worry about hypothetical fears since proven overly exagerated. We need to reign in the mindless bureaucracy.

    Its time to turn our resouces to other deferred tasks such as rebuilding our infrastructure, i.e. our neglected highways, bridges, inner cities, and power generation systems.

  25. Bill Healton Says:

    Could it be that higher shipping density (lower shipping cost) from nesting Deltawings might offer an additional advantage?

  26. Bob Wilson Says:


    If you will pay my gasoline bills, I will agree with your claim the is no need for fuel economy. We’ll call it the BS tax.

    Bob Wilson, Huntsville AL