For five years Hyundai has been putting out their base model, vying for space in the sub-compact market. The newest model offers more space with the same sleek looks. Yet it still manages to keep the price lower than their competitors.
How does it look?
There have been no major updates to the Hyundai Accent since its launch in 2012, except for a new grille and led running lamps in 2015. It still manages to be one of the better-looking cars in the subcompact class, although that is quite a low bar to reach. It's pert and lively looking and retains a distinct Hyundai look despite it being their entry level vehicle. Typical of a car this in this price bracket, the interior is all hard plastic, but a matte-finish on the dash cap evokes the feeling of carbon fiber, an elegant solution that makes it feel more luxurious. The seats are comfortable enough but with limited space in the front for longer-legged drivers, but the back is surprisingly spacious, fitting two grown adults with ease, three at a pinch. The dash is basic: three dials, a standard satellite radio, and Bluetooth connectivity round out the suite.
How much space do i get?
The Accent stands out in its spaciousness. Subcompacts are not known for their roominess: in fact, the 2017 version is officially classed as a Compact, due to the space available. The sedan model sports 14 cubic feet of trunk space, which gives plenty of room for a full shopping trip. The Hatchback goes even further and gives you 21 cubic feet of storage. That's enough space to pack up and go to the beach, or a trip to the airport with luggage while still seating five people comfortably. If you put down the seats using the fairly easy to use LATCH system you'll get a whopping 47.5 cubic feet of space. For the price point, you won't find another car that comes close.
What are my engine choices?
If you struggle to choose between a tin of tomato soup or a tin of tomato and basil soup, then you'll enjoy choosing an engine for your new Accent. Options are 1 liter or a 1.6-liter four-cylinder, 138 horsepower front wheel drive and that's about it. Hyundai's decision is a safe one, with a predictable powertrain that builds slowly but remains constant, and its 123 lb-ft torque gets you from 0-60 mph in 10 seconds. Fuel economy is good but not great, and about equal to other subcompacts. The standard manual six-speed transmission delivers 27/37mpg, but an upgrade to a six-speed automatic gets 26/36 mpg. At an upgrade price of $1000-$1200, it's tough to see whether there are any real savings involved, but if you're more comfortable with an automatic car it might be a no-brainer.
Is it safe?
Hyundai still offers their five year/60,000-mile limited and ten year/100,000-miles powertrain warranty, which is 40% longer than their competition. Safety, on the other hand, is one of the lowest in its class. It received four stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, performing well in most of the tests, but received a poor rating in the front crash test. The safety rating isn't helped by the fact that there is no additional tech package to support the driver, even as an optional upgrade. Models, of course, come standard with six airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability and active headrests. Other cars in this class offer parking sensors, adaptive cruise control and a rearview camera, and in some these features come standard.
What upgrades can i get?
Well, very few. The Accent SE sedan is the base model, and for a respectable $14,745, you get a six-speaker audio system, satellite radio, a USB port and keyless entry. You have the option to upgrade to the automatic transmission, but apart from that, there's not much more to choose from. Splashing out an extra $250 will get you the additional space of the Accent SE Hatchback and a rear window wiper. If you opt for the automatic Hatchback, you'll also get steering wheel mounted cruise control. The Accent Value Edition Sedan gets you the additional bells and whistles of the hatchback without the extra space and with a few extra storage compartments and comes automatically as standard all for $16,450. Lastly, the Accent Sport Hatchback gives you everything from the previous three models plus an upholstery upgrade, fog lights and heated side mirrors all for $17,495.