Full 2007 Hyundai Accent Review
What's New for 2007
On the heels of last year's full redesign, Hyundai expands the Accent's lineup for 2007 with a two-door hatchback body style.
Not so long ago, the Hyundai Accent was an also-ran. This economy car had an excellent warranty and an affordable price, but limitations in its handling and performance kept it from being a true contender. All that changed last year, when the Accent was graced with a roof-to-rubber overhaul. The redesign -- which bestowed the budget hauler with a peppy new engine -- allowed the Hyundai to zoom out of the shadows and cruise shoulder to shoulder with the segment's leaders.
Hyundai does even more to up the Accent's appeal in 2007, adding a new body style to the model's lineup. Previously available only as a sedan, the 2007 Hyundai Accent may now be purchased as a two-door hatchback. Aimed at cash-strapped enthusiasts, the hatchback's SE trim offers handling that's more engaging than that of your garden-variety Accent, thanks to sport-tuned versions of the steering and suspension.
In our tests of the Accent sedan, we've found it to be a thoroughly competent economy car that's attractively priced and covered by Hyundai's typically long warranty. But this year has brought a number of new entries to the sub-$15,000 class, including the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa and Toyota Yaris. Compared to the sporty Fit and well-equipped Versa, the 2007 Hyundai Accent is remarkable by being unremarkable, and short of a spray can and some juvenile mischief there is no apparent way to make this car say, "Look at me." While the Accent SE hatchback might hold some appeal for this segment, we think younger buyers will probably be happier with one of the flashier vehicles from Japan. For those unconcerned by such matters, this entry-level Hyundai is a sensible choice for daily commuter duty.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Hyundai Accent comes in three trim levels: GS, SE and GLS. The GS and SE trims are two-door hatchbacks, while the GLS comes in a sedan configuration. The standard features list on the base-model GS is short but acceptable given the car's low MSRP. Included are 14-inch wheels, an eight-way adjustable driver seat and a 60/40-split fold-down rear seatback. The SE has more equipment, including 16-inch alloy wheels; air-conditioning; power windows, locks and mirrors; a CD player; a sport-tuned suspension; and quicker steering. Most of the SE's convenience features are optional on the GS. Hyundai equips the Accent GLS sedan with more standard equipment than the GS, but the powered accessories are still optional. Specific options for the SE hatchback include a sunroof and an upgraded 220-watt audio system with a six-disc CD/MP3 changer.
Powertrains and Performance
All Accents are front-wheel drive and are motivated by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine good for 110 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on all models, with a four-speed automatic available as an option.
The Accent shines when it comes to safety. In addition to front-seat side airbags, all trims offer standard full-length side curtain airbags -- notable for a vehicle in this price range. ABS is standard on SE models, and available as an option for those who choose the GLS trim. In NHTSA crash tests, the 2007 Hyundai Accent sedan scored a perfect five stars in the frontal-impact category. In the side-impact category, the entry-level Hyundai garnered four stars for front occupant protection and three stars for rear-seat passengers.
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside, the design is simple and functional. Materials quality is fine, and the Accent's interior decor gives the cabin a comfortable ambience with plenty of space for the driver to feel safe and at home. Views from the front seats are very nice, with the short hood allowing a full view of what's immediately ahead. While there is ample space in the driver seat, it only feels that way when you're alone. With a passenger in front, the cabin can feel cramped. Rear legroom is about average for this class; both the Versa and Yaris offer more room in back. Cargo room is also average, with 12.4 cubic feet for the sedan and 15.9 cubic feet for the hatchback.
Although it won't blow doors off the line, taking a leisurely 11.8 seconds to get up to 60 mph, an automatic transmission-equipped Accent motors around with little ruckus from under the hood. The ride on GLS and GS models is smooth and forgiving, while the SE's greater emphasis on performance results in a firmer, sportier driving experience. Unfortunately, the Hyundai Accent doesn't feel quite as solid over bumps as we'd like, as both the suspension and steering transmit too much harshness to the cabin. Handling is competent around corners, though, and the brakes return short stopping distances for a car in this price range.