Hyundai Accent
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Overall

Yes, it’s the smallest brand in the Hyundai lineup, but it’s far from being a penalty box; crisp styling and a quality interior make it a winner.

Drivetrain

A 1.6-liter four-cylinder serves both Accent sedan and hatchback; choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.

The Accent’s 2012 model-year debut raised eyebrows among competing small-car brands by significantly raising the bar in its class. The equally appealing sedan and hatchback models present a formidable challenge to such pack leaders as the Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, Nissan Versa, Mazda2, et al. The sedan’s sheetmetal has a similar look to that of the mid-size Sonata and compact Elantra models, especially the deeply sculpted crease extending along the doors and fenders and ending with a hiked-up rear deck. The same is essentially true for the wagon-like hatchback, although its sweeping roofline, curvaceous liftgate and dominating tail lamps make it the most practical Accent and arguably the best looking of the two. In terms of stowage, Hyundai claims the hatchback bests all comers with the second-row in place (and that includes the all-new Nissan Versa Note wagon). However the better-packaged Honda Fit still enjoys significant space-race superiority when measuring maximum volume with the rear seat folded flat. The Accent’s 1.6-liter engine produces 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque and can be had with a six-speed manual transmission, or optional six-speed automatic. The base four-door GLS gets standard air conditioning, heated side mirrors, remote keyless entry, a six-speaker audio system, body-colored door handles and a full suite of safety gear. All of that content is included in the GS hatchback, while the top-level SE hatch comes with side mirrors with integrated turn signals along with cruise control, premium seat covers, Bluetooth short-range wireless networking, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, fog lights and 16-inch alloy wheels (14-inch steel wheels are standard), while a power sunroof is an available extra. Leather seats and a navigation system are missing from the available features list (but a rearview camera is a new-for-2114 option), indicating that Hyundai is keeping the Accent’s trim levels (and pricing) as close to the bone as possible.

Base price (incl. destination): $15,350 sedan; $15,600 (hatchback)
Type: Four-door sedan/hatchback
Base engine (hp): 1.6-liter DOHC I4 (138)
Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Transmission: Six-speed manual; six-speed automatic (opt.)
MPG (city/hwy): 28/37 (MT and AT)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 2,400