Elantra owner can't abide the distracting reflections.
Dear Car Talk: Can you tell me where I could find a comparison between the slant of the windshield and the mileage achieved by the car? For 21 years, we drove a 1991 Mercury Tracer with a moderately slanted windshield. The car averaged over 30 mpg. We eventually traded it in for a 2010 Hyundai Elantra. I hate almost everything about it, starting with the slanting windshield that is full of reflections of the dashboard and inside of the car. The very slanted window posts obstruct my vision. Looking at other cars, I see that the general trend is more and more slant to the windshields. Is there some justification for this? — Jean
A: There has been improvement, Jean. The 2010 Hyundai’s mileage is nearly 20 percent better than the 1991 Mercury Tracer’s. While EPA ratings are better for comparison purposes than for predicting real-world mileage, the 1991 Tracer was rated at around 25 mpg in combined highway and city driving. And the 2010 Elantra is rated at 29 mpg combined.
In addition to better mileage, the Hyundai also carries a lot more safety equipment, with a bunch of air bags, anti-lock brakes and a better-protected passenger compartment. And unfortunately, that improved mileage, despite the added weight, is partly due to those darned slanted windshields you hate.
You’re right that windshields are more severely angled now than they used to be. That’s because they make cars far more aerodynamic. The less wind-resistant a car is, the higher its mileage.
Driving with a windshield that’s straight up and down is like trying to walk into a strong wind with a big pizza box taped to your chest. That big, flat box is going to make it harder for you to push your way through the wind.
But you’re right that there also are drawbacks to steeply angled windshields. One is that they really do tend to pick up reflections.
But there’s no law saying you have to keep a car for 22 years. If your blood boils every time you get into the Elantra, sell it and get something you like better. Mileage has continued to improve since 2010, so you should do even better in that regard. The 2017 Elantra, for example, gets 33 mpg overall, although I’m guessing that won’t be on your shopping list.
Unfortunately, most cars will have angled windshields these days. It’s really hard to find a flat windshield anymore. Unless you buy a Jeep Wrangler, which will make you pine for your 2010 Elantra. Good luck.
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