2019 Hyundai Accent Limited Review

Budget appeal without the dullness


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Spritely non-turbo engine, good driving manners, roomy cabin for the segment, sporty styling looks more distinguished than the competition, easy infotainment system, impressive efficiency.
Negatives: Seats are flat and fabric trim is strange, engine buzzy when pushed.
Bottom Line: The Accent no longer looks boring but gets similar attractive styling like the bigger brother Elantra. The car fun to drive, roomier than you'd expect and gets serious miles per gallon. If you want a sedan but don't want to pay more than 20 grand, the Accent in Limited trim should be on your list.
The current Hyundai Accent was redesigned for the 2019 model year, essentially an upgrade from the last model thanks to more room, better styling, improved safety, and increased fuel efficiency. What was once a dull car has turned into one that's handsome and actually fun to drive in spite of the dearth of horsepower (130). It also is longer and wider with more cargo space and passenger room. There are minor additions for 2019, including an upgraded grille for the higher Limited trim and new foglights and chrome exterior trim for the SEL trim. We drove it in top Limited trim for a week. Read on for our full review.
 

Driving Experience

7.4

 

We typically don't expect much from economy sedans, but the Accent provides a modicum of driving fun. It also has a more refined ride than the price would normally convey.

Ride Quality: The Accent manages rough pavement well, and the ride is compliant and settled.

Acceleration: 0-60 comes in in 8.5 seconds, not bad at all for an affordable sedan with a small four-cylinder engine, which gets noisy under hard acceleration. It also struggles to pass at highway speeds, unsurprisingly. Throttle response is good, and the little Accent feels spritely in normal city driving.

Braking: The the pedal is progressive, there's some nose dive under hard braking. The distances are a bit longer than average.

Steering: Response is good, as is precision, but it lacks on-centeredness that makes it feel vague at higher speeds and requires adjustment.

Handling: The chassis and suspension are good, and the car responds well to inputs. The tires give out before the car does.

Technology

9

 

There's nothing flashy about Hyundai's in-car tech, but that'st thing. It's not supposed to be fancy. It just works remarkably well and is incredibly un-hairy to use, unlike so many other systems out there. Controls are in the right location, the screen is easy to read, and there's no fuss. Done.

Infotainment System: The 7-inch screen might not be huge, but the icons are crisp, and menus are easy to navigate. Response is good but not fast, and everything is legible and intuitive.

Controls: The physical audio knobs are well-sized and tall enough to easily grasp. The two rows of infotainment buttons just below the screen are easy to reach and big enough to find quickly while driving.

Styling

8.6

 

In the subcompact game, there's not much out there in terms of fetching looks. The Accent, however, is the exception. Using styling cues from its pricier stablemates, it manages to pull off great design for such an inexpensive vehicle. The Honda Fit and Chevy Sonic still look a bit on the cheap side, and the attractive Ford Fiesta is no more. Our only issue with the Accent is the weird seat fabric.

Front: The cascade grille looks good here, flanked by wraparound LED headlights and nice foglight housings. It's simpler than the Elantra, too, which we like.

Rear: The internally segmented LED taillights look upscale here, and the rest of the rear fascia keeps things simple.

Profile: The side view of the Accent is very handsome with the right front to rear proportions, a nicely sloping greenhouse, minimal chrome, and some of the best 17" alloy wheels we've seen on a car of this price.

Cabin: It's a dark, but everything looks clean and unobtrusive. The seat fabric, however, looks uncomfortable (and it is).

Comfort

7.5

 

That said, there's plenty of room for passengers for a car of this class. The svelte shape of the tapering roofline may give taller rear passengers a bit of a brush with reduced headroom, however.

Front Seats: The cushions are hard and flat, and the mesh seat fabric makes them even more uncomfortable. We're not sure why it was chosen. At least the legroom and headroom is good.

Rear Seats: The rear seats are similarly flat. Headroom suffers for taller passengers due to the sloping roofline, but legroom is very good.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The Accent is quiet and exhibits no errant noises while driving. For its price, it's a remarkably peaceful interior.

Visibility: Visibility is good out the front and sides. Only the side mirrors inhibit some sightlines. The rear decklid and trunk are low, giving the back good views.

Climate: The automatic climate control system and air flow work well, as do the heated seats which fire up quickly.

Safety

8.7

 

Though there's not a lot of standard safety equipment, the Accent does well in crash safety tests.

IIHS Rating: It earns the Top Safety Pick, the second highest rating thanks to "good" in almost all crash test scores and an "acceptable" in front passenger small overlap crash. Headlights are "acceptable" in higher trims.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: Our tester in Limited trim came with a rearview camera w/ Dynamic Guidelines, blind spot monitor, and Forward Collision Avoidance Assist.

Optional Tech: copy text

Storage/Cargo

7.5

 

Most of the Accent's competitors in the subcompact segment are hatchbacks with excellent cargo space, but the Accent still does well in this category. Interior storage space is about average.

Storage Space: The center stack has a nice, moderately deep tray at the base, and the armrest can keep medium-sized items out of sight. Door pockets are decently sized, too.

Cargo Room: 13.7 cubic feet isn't a lot of space, but the trunk is shaped well and flat. The split folding rear seat expands capacity. The Accent's cargo room is eclipsed by the current Nissan Versa sedan's, but we hate that car, so it doesn't matter all that much in the overall scheme of things.

Fuel Economy

8.5

 

Hyundai has struggled with good fuel efficiency numbers for many of its models but not the miserly Accent. We drove it in Sport mode all the time in attempts to extract as much as we could out of the 130-hp sedan, so we were pleased to see the numbers we got.

Observed: 25.9 mpg

Distance Driven: 119 miles

Audio

6.8

 

The Accent's stock audio system is decent. It lacks bass and fullness, but keep in mind it's really a base system (at least it has 6 speakers). We didn't experience any distortion, and it suited our music and news needs just fine without any fanfare or problems. There is no audio upgrade from here.



Final Thoughts

Just over $20K for a really good sedan is surprising. The fact that the Accent is fun to drive and also attractive are two qualities you don't often find at this price, and the redesign was a smart one. We hate the fact that you can't even opt for vinyl seats because the fabric ones are not very good, but if you can overlook that part, the Accent is a great buy thanks to its styling, efficiency, easy tech, and drivability. Sedans are going the way of the dodo in favor of crossovers, so we're thankful the Accent has survived.
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