2012 Hyundai Accent

Review: 2012 Hyundai Accent

Hyundai continues to redefine itself.

By: Tim Healey

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: December 13th, 2011

Hyundai has been undergoing a transformation in recent years, with the Sonata, Elantra, and Accent all being redesigned. All now have swoopy styling and upscale interiors, with the idea being that by making inexpensive cars attractive, Hyundai can reap the benefits.

Enter the Accent. Following the Sonata and Elantra in the makeover line, the Accent similarly goes from bland to bold, at least in terms of exterior design.

So, too, the interior—Hyundai has made an effort to give the design some spice, regardless of price.

We’ll get to the execution of those details later. For now, let’s take a look at what’s new.

Hatchback and body styles return, although the hatch now has four doors instead of two. Hatches come in GS and SE trims (SE is the sportier of the two) while the sedan is dubbed GLS.

  • Performance

    The sole powerplant is a 138-horse 1.6-liter mill, which is 28 more ponies than last year. Transmission choices consist of a six-speed manual and six-speed automatic. The other big news is that the Accent has grown longer by almost three inches.

    Our tester was an SE hatchback with the manual, and we found it to be a delight to drive, with a sporty flair around town. It’s not particularly quick, but it gets the job done on on-ramps. The stick is fun to work, although the clutch has as bit of a long take-up, and even the slightly-too-light steering offers more than a little joy. The Accent doesn’t feel quite as precise as its platform-mate Kia Rio (which feels even sportier) but has enough verve to entertain.

    The ride follows the sport theme, although it’s not uncomfortable for longer jaunts.

  • Interior

    It’s a bit buzzy at higher RPMs, but aside from that common small-car bugaboo, the Accent doesn’t feel cheap. The materials look and feel class appropriate, and the interior design is attractive. The same can be said for the outside—this is one of the better-looking small cars out there.

    Small does mean small, though, and the Accent feels a bit tight, especially in the rear-seat and cargo areas. It’s not cramped or claustrophobic, but it’s not as airy as, say, a Honda Fit.

  • Features & Prices

    Indeed, as a whole, the car isn’t uncomfortable, despite its $15K pricing. That includes traction control, an anti-skid system, ABS, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a USB port, an auxiliary port, Bluetooth, 16-inch wheels, fog lamps, and more. The only option on top of the $15,795 base price was a $35 iPod cable. Add in destination and the total came to $15,830.

  • Fuel Economy

    Hyundai promises 30 mpg city and 40 highway, which should appeal to green-minded buyers.

  • Conclusion

    The old Accent was a bland, cheap econocar. The new one is cheap, but it ain’t bland. Nor is it half-bad.

    We’d like some more power, and a little more of the button-downed feel of the Rio, plus a skoosh more interior space. But for under $16K with a fair amount of features and the promise of strong fuel economy, it’s hard to complain.

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