Track Tested: 2009 Hyundai Accent GS vs. 2009 Nissan Versa 1.6


2009 Hyundai Accent GS vs. 2009 Nissan Versa 1.6

Edmunds.com tests hundreds of vehicles a year, but not every vehicle gets a full write-up. The numbers still tell a story, though, so we present "Track Tested." It's a quick rundown of all the data we collected at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

This week we bring you an extra special edition of Track Tested: Cheap Car Shootout. The 2009 Hyundai Accent GS hatchback ($9,970 base price) and 2009 Nissan Versa 1.6 sedan ($9,990 base price) are the cheapest new cars currently sold in the U.S.

OK, they would be if we had a Versa 1.6 Base. Our test car is the slightly nicer Versa 1.6 ($10,990), which has air-conditioning. (We didn't have any control over that; Nissan apparently doesn't want stinky journalists driving around in a hot, swampy car.) Add $95 for floor mats and a $675 destination charge, and the Accent hatch ends up at $10,740. Our Versa 1.6 has optional ABS ($250) and floor mats ($155), bringing the total to $12,090 with destination.

Price differences aside, this Accent and Versa represent the low end of personal transportation in the U.S. And although you're not going find anything resembling quickness, agility or, well, fun-to-driveness this side of $15,000 (unless you want a used car under $15K), driving either of these cars is a survivable experience. We took them to our test track and put them through all our instrumented tests. Follow the jump to see how they did.

Vehicle: 2009 Hyundai Accent GS
Odometer: 4,147
Date: 8/11/09
Driver: Josh Jacquot
Price: $10,740

Specifications:
Drive Type: Front-wheel-drive
Transmission Type: 5-speed manual
Engine Type: Inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1599cc (98cu-in)
Redline (rpm): 6,850
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 110 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 106 @ 4,500
Brake Type (front): 10.1-inch ventilated disc with single-piston floating caliper
Brake Type (rear): Drum
Steering System: Engine-speed-proportional, rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson strut, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Semi-independent torsion beam, coil springs
Tire Size (front): P175/70R14 84T
Tire Size (rear): P175/70R14 84T
Tire Brand: Kumho
Tire Model: Solus KH16
Tire Type: All-season
Wheel Size: 14-by-5.0-inches
Wheel Material (front/rear): Steel
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 2,461

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 3.2 (no traction control)
0 - 45 (sec): 5.8
0 - 60 (sec): 9.4
0 - 75 (sec): 14.4
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 16.9 @ 80.7
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 9.1
30 - 0 (ft): 40
60 - 0 (ft): 155
Braking Rating: Poor
Slalom (mph): 65.1
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.74
Handling Rating: Average
Db @ Idle: 44.1
Db @ Full Throttle: 80.5
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 74.2

Acceleration Comments: With barely enough power to spin its tires, the Accent isn't difficult to launch. Engine is loud and weak...like you expect in a $10,000 car. Shifter is vague.

Braking Comments: ABS should never be optional. This stopping distance is frightening and this is in a controlled environment with an experienced driver. In the real world, this is a crash.

Handling Comments: Skidpad: Steering feel is minimal and chassis only wants to understeer, which is probably good. Lots of body roll. Slalom: Although it's soft and sloppy, it's tuned to be remarkably stable. Smart, given its lack of stability control.

Vehicle: 2009 Nissan Versa 1.6
Odometer: 7,187
Date: 8/11/09
Driver: Josh Jacquot
Price: $12,090
Specifications:
Drive Type: Front-wheel-drive
Transmission Type: 5-speed manual
Engine Type: Inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1598cc (98 cu-in)
Redline (rpm): 6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 107 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 111 @ 4,600
Brake Type (front): 11.0-by-0.9-inch ventilated disc with single-piston sliding caliper
Brake Type (rear): 9.0-inch drum
Steering System: Electric-assist, rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson strut, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Semi-independent torsion beam, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): P185/65R14 85T
Tire Size (rear): P185/65R14 85T
Tire Brand: Bridgestone
Tire Model: B381
Tire Type: All-season
Wheel Size: 14-by-5.0-inch
Wheel Material (front/rear): Steel
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 2,522

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 3.3 (no traction control)
0 - 45 (sec): 5.8
0 - 60 (sec): 9.4
0 - 75 (sec): 14.2
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 16.9 @ 80.9
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 9.1
30 - 0 (ft): 34
60 - 0 (ft): 132
Braking Rating: Average
Slalom (mph): 63.3
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.78
Handling Rating: Average
Db @ Idle: 41.1
Db @ Full Throttle: 77.9
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 70.2

Acceleration Comments: Engine gets louder but stops making any meaningful power long before its 6,500-rpm redline. Shifter is more direct/positive than the Accent's.

Braking Comments: Braking performance, while not impressive, is better than that of any non-ABS car -- like the Accent.

Handling Comments: Skidpad: Swimmy steering isn't easy to predict, and there's little a driver can do with throttle (except slow down) to make the Versa turn. Slalom: Turn-in and responses feel initially better than the Accent's, but height and general lack of control feel ultimately punish the Versa's ability to change direction rapidly.

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