When I picked up the Accent from Hyundai HQ my memory floated back to the decidedly average previous iterations of the Accent and I mentally rubbed my hands in glee at the prospect of getting stuck in to its foibles. You might remember the old Accent – it developed from ugly into boring, and was cheap and nasty with not poor safety ratings.
Well, it’s all changed with this completely redesigned Accent. In fact, there’s so little wrong with it that I experienced extreme procrastination coming to write this review.
Let’s get the bad out of the way with first: rear visibility is not very good (like in the i40 we had a few weeks ago), but Hyundai has included a reversing camera (integrated into the rear view mirror) and rear sensors so I can’t even complain about that. The one thing that they haven’t quite fixed, though, is the steering feel. I will say that over a week of driving it, I got used to it, but it’s just too light for you to feel like you are in control of a tonne of metal.
Onto the good: it has a willing engine that pulls strongly given its fairly low power and torque figures: 91kW and 156Nm. This is transmitted to forward motion by a four-speed automatic and it gives you the right kind of engine noise when you need to put your foot down. Fuel economy is pretty good at 6.4l/100km and you can get a diesel variant which sips a frugal 4.4l/100km.
The driving experience is very confidence-inspiring. This is a cheap compact car and it’s not a sports car, but there wasn’t one time that I felt that the Hyundai was underperforming. Despite only having steering wheel height adjustment the driving position was immediately comfortable. Visibility, as mentioned above, is not brilliant to the rear (the headrest for the centre seat obscures some of the view, as does the small rear window), but forward visibility is excellent and it is easy to position on the road.
From the outside I was fooled and walked past the rear of the Accent thinking it was an i30 such are the similarities. Gone are the frumpy, boring lines of the previous Accent. They’ve been replaced by strong lines that flow from the front fog lights across the shoulder line and around to the boot, and down near the sills there’s a line that arcs up and around to the rear bumper. It’s all coherent.
The redesign has seen Hyundai achieve a 5-star ANCAP safety rating. Safety features include six airbags, ABS brakes with EBD (electronic brakeforce distribution), ESC (electronic stability control), CSM (vehicle stability management) plus front seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters.
This Elite model comes with leatherette seats and keyless entry/start. There are three LCDs for the stereo, trip computer and climate control. While these could be a little nicer, you have to consider the overall low cost of the car and the fact that the overall interior design is pleasant and comfortable.
Bluetooth integration is supplied with buttons to answer and hang up your phone located on the steering wheel, which also has controls for the stereo. You can plug in your MP3 player or iPod. There’s no cruise control, which is probably to be expected on a car of this price.
Rear passenger legroom is tight if the front seats are all the way back, but other than that, the back is comfortable. As there is plenty of room in the front, the space you see in the photographs is based on having a 6-foot driver and passenger.
Open the boot of this hatchback and you’ll see a nice deep floor giving plenty of room. The boot contains Hyundai’s default safety kit (fire extinguisher, first aid kit and safety vest). Boot capacity is 370 litres.
Of course, you get the standard Hyundai 10-year/200,000km anti-perforation corrosion body warranty, 3-year/100,000km mechanical warranty and 3-year/100,000km roadside assistance package.
The Accent is a car where you get everything you expect for the money you pay. Sure, there are a few compromises because the price is low – a five-speed auto would undoubtedly help performance, for example – but can you really complain when you’re getting a car that’s every bit as good as a Toyota Corolla (if not better) for several grand less.
Price: $35,990. Range starts at $31,990 for the 1.6 automatic sedan.
- It’s at the top of the compact car pack, and for much better money than a Corolla
- Diesel version has even better fuel economy (4.4l/100km)
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Transmission / 4 speed Automatc
CC / 1,591
Fuel Type / petrol
Power / 91 kW @ 6300 rpm
Torque / 156 Nm @ 4200 rpm
Length / 4,115 mm
Width / 1,700 mm
Height / 1,450 mm
Towing Capacity Braked / 800 kg
Towing Capacity Unbraked / 450 kg
Min. Turning Radius / 5.2 m
Kerb Weight (lightest/heaviest) / 1,060 / 1,140 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity / 43 litres
Boot Capacity / 370 (VDA litres)
Wheel Base / 2,570 mm
Tyres / 195 / 50 R16
Fuel Consumption Combined / 6.4 l / 100 km
Fuel Emissions / 151 g/km
- 5-Star ANCAP safety rating
- ABS braking with EBD (Electronic Brake-Force Distribution) and BAS (Brake Assist)
- ESC (Electronic Stability Control)
- VSM (Vehicle stability management system)
- SRS driver and front passenger front airbag
- SRS driver and front passenger side airbags
- SRS dual front-to-rear roof curtain airbags
- Front seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters
- ISOFIX child seat anchor points
- 3-point lap diagonal (ELR) rear seatbelts
- Reinforced chassis, with rigid cabin and crumple zones
- Leatherette seats
- Rear seat 60:40 split folding function
- Driver’s seat sliding, reclining, and height adjustable
- Height adjustable front and rear headrests
- Front passenger overhead console with dual map reading lights and sunglasses holder
- Pocket type sunvisor
- Glove box
- Dual cup holders
- Centre console dash storage compartment with lid
- Front passenger seat back pocket
- Luggage Lamp in the boot
- Reversing sensors
- Rear view camera
- Power windows with driver auto down function
- Safety window (Driver’s)
- Super vision cluster
- Proximity Key and Engine start/stop button and engine immobiliser
- Tilt adjustable steering wheel
- Trip computer
Audio and climate
- Integrated Bluetooth®
- AM/FM stereo, MP3 compatible in-dash CD player with six speaker sound system
- USB and auxiliary input for iPod® and external music devices
- Steering wheel mounted audio controls including seek-and-skip function
- Full auto air-conditioning with interior pollen filter
Words and photos: Darren Cottingham