Is Hyundai itself doing a bit of propaganda?

"Do compact cars run on gas or propaganda?" That's the question posed by Hyundai in this month's Wired. The full-page ad gets even more confrontational in the body copy, chastising the auto industry for failing to improve the average fuel efficiency of compact cars since the 1980s. (See the full ad after the jump—one of four Elantra ads in the issue.) Calling out your industry is easy. But is Hyundai willing to call out its competitors directly? Yep. "The 2011 Honda Civic gets worse mileage than it did in 1980," the ad states. An attached chart shows the Civic getting 33 miles per gallon in 1980, and 29 mpg today. A subsequent page of the ad blitz says the Elantra gets a whopping 40 mpg. It's a great example of going on the offensive without getting overly catty. But is it true? Well, not really. The U.S. EPA says the automatic version of the Civic gets 36 mpg highway, with an overall average of 29 mpg. The automatic Elantra gets 40 mpg highway, 33 average. That means Hyundai, while more efficient, is being pretty apples-and-oranges by comparing 40 to 29. But hey, that's advertising. And at least they motivated me to do the research. Well played, Hyundai.