I just had to brag on this one, the wife and I, our 2 50+ pound dogs, and a hatchback load of stuff to get through 3 days made a 244 mile roadtrip across the state from Clarksville, TN to Gatlinburg, TN on just over 5 Gallons.... I couldn't believe it when I filled up. I filled up 2 blocks from the interstate @ home, and then filled up 1 miles from the interstate in Sevierville, making 3 stops off the interstate for about 4 miles total (including one 4 minute long sit @ Starbucks that I left the engine on.
It was night time, and I honestly did not do tons of coasting, none with the engine off, and really not doing much special driving, just keeping the speed down to about 60mph. I suspect that speed and 50PSI in the tires lead to the biggest gains. Also bumped my total mpg to 40!
I've discovered that I'm simply not diligent enough, yet, to really do anything very agressive to increase FE, but I've been working on little things that work for me, and to be honest, was even more suprised by my next tank, as I had A/C on at least 50% of the time, and was almost entirely mountain driving including the packed Labor Day weekend streets of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
Anyway, just felt like bragging! Forgive my "modesty".
Congratulations on the phenomenal fill! I was reading your car description and you mentioned the epa values seemed lower than what was on the sticker. That is probably due to the revamp of numbers they did for '08. Lowered most by about 2 points or more which should account for the discrepancy you noticed.
I have considered buying a Hyundai/Kia but got scared when I started reading about horror stories in those cars. Looks like yours has treated you decently especially if it has been driven hard as you say.