Subcompacts have the reputation of being bare bones, first-timer, commuter cars with not a lot to offer other than gas mileage.
I was prepared to not like the Accent. But every day the little South Korean car that could, won me over a little more. By the end of the week I was a believer.
Building on the strength of its predecessors, this fifth-generation model delivers expressive design, a high-tech interior, a more efficient powertrain, reduced cabin noise and remarkably improved driving dynamics. The company also infused its newest subcompact car with the latest safety and convenience features.
Accent is powered by a 1.6-liter Gamma four-cylinder gas-direct inject engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The combination produces 130 horsepower and 119 lb.-ft. of torque. The cars seats four adults comfortably, five in a pinch. And on a recent road trip to Canterwood Golf & Country Club, the Accent achieved 35 miles per gallon down the highway.
Maybe my memory is shot, but I believe this incarnation of the Accent had increased low-end torque. Even loaded down, with a trunk full of golf clubs, my base level SE tester had enough oomph to accelerate off the line or pass at speed.
The exterior was interesting, but not flashy. An Admiral Blue coat of paint, cascading grille, wraparound taillights and 15-inch wheels were the highlights.
This version of the Accent is slightly larger than the last, making the car’s interior more roomy. It’s still a small car, but not claustrophobic. Accent benefits from a driver-oriented layout with intuitive controls, high-quality materials and premium technology features.
Creature comforts include a rear-view camera, five-inch color touchscreen to manipulate the AM/FM audio with four speakers, air conditioning, cruise control, USB and auxiliary input jacks and remote keyless entry. I actually had to use a key to start the engine. No push button start. Oh, the humanity!
Accent is not loaded with the latest, greatest safety features, but it doesn’t skimp either. It is an entry-level model after all. Highlights include electronic stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes with brake assist and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
If you step up to the plate, however, Hyundai does offer forward-collision avoidance assist – a first in this market segment – that utilizes a front forward-facing radar to detect a vehicle and warn the driver of a potential collision. If the driver does not react to avoid the impact, the system will apply emergency braking.
Accent is also available in SEL and Limited trim levels, all for under $20,000. Who say’s you can’t afford a new car?
Base Price: $15,995
Price As Driven: $17,005
Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.