2011 New York Auto Show
What is it?
2012 Hyundai Accent
What's special about it?
Hyundai's new Accent is going to be the most powerful and efficient car in the subcompact segment when it hits dealerships this summer in both sedan and five-door body styles. Add to that the fact that Hyundai will maintain the current Accent's pricing (the 2011 Accent Sedan starts at $13,695) and the new subcompact looks to be a real ground-breaker.
Hyundai's Gamma engine is the first to utilize direct injection in the subcompact segment. The 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder produces 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. Other technologies on tap in the new engine include variable timing on both the intake and exhaust cams, an alternator management system that strategically decreases parasitic losses and use of low-friction coatings throughout. The payoff is an EPA rating of 30 city and 40 highway mpg. The 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty remains.
A six-speed manual or manually shiftable automatic transmission is available in the Accent. Active ECO, a feature which tweaks engine and transmission control to optimize fuel economy, can be switched on to increase fuel economy up to 7 percent according to Hyundai.
Four-wheel disc brakes are standard, as are six airbags (front, seat-mounted and side curtain), electronic stability control and antilock brakes. Hyundai's Vehicle Stability Management system, also standard, can deliver up to 8 Newton-meters of countersteering effort via the motor-driven electric power steering to help a driver remain in control of the vehicle.
Wheelbase is increased 2.8 inches relative to the outgoing Accent and is now 101.2 inches — about 2 inches longer than the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit. Inside, the five-door Accent offers the largest cargo volume of any subcompact. Split-folding 60/40 rear seats are standard.
From the outside, the Accent sedan's new body looks similar to the Sonata but offers a 0.30 drag coefficient (the five-door has a 0.31 Cd). Three trim levels are available: the four-door GLS and five-door GS and SE.
Edmunds.com says: With gas prices climbing higher by the week, subcompacts are an ever-increasing segment of the market. And Hyundai appears to have a killer with the 2012 Accent. — Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor