What's New for 2013
For 2013, the Hyundai Accent is unchanged save for a shuffling of standard features. Mainly, the manual-transmission GLS now offers standard equipment on par with the automatic GLS.
After years of languishing in subcompact sedan/hatchback obscurity, the Hyundai Accent last year received a major infusion of personality through a full redesign. Aggressive styling inspired by the Elantra and Sonata, a new engine, improved fuel economy and upgraded interior quality have made the Accent one of the better picks within a strong segment. For the 2013 Hyundai Accent, not much changes, but that's fine by us.
Like many of its rivals, the Accent offers both sedan and hatchback body styles, allowing a choice between formal and functional. No matter the body style, the Accent is roomy enough for adults to sit comfortably in all outboard positions. And with its imposing dash, reasonably quiet cabin and composed ride, the Accent feels much bigger than it is when you are behind the wheel.
Under the hood is a 1.6-liter engine with direct fuel injection. Rated at 138 horsepower, this four-cylinder provides some of the quickest acceleration in this class. Fuel economy is also quite good, with EPA estimates of 28 mpg city and 37 mpg highway.
The 2013 Hyundai Accent runs with some stiff competitors, all with their own advantages. The Honda Fit offers a more versatile interior, the Ford Fiesta is more fun to drive and the Kia Rio shares similar underpinnings with the Accent but offers more equipment and bolder styling. There's also the Chevrolet Sonic, perhaps the most well-rounded of them all. Nevertheless, the Hyundai is invisible no more and definitely deserves a look.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Hyundai Accent is a compact four-door sedan or four-door hatchback. The sedan is offered only in base GLS trim, while the hatchback comes in GS and fancier SE trims.
The GLS sedan comes equipped with 14-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a tilt steering wheel, 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks, a trip computer and six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and iPod/USB/auxiliary input jacks.
A Premium package offered on the automatic-equipped GLS bundles together foglights, 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, upgraded interior trim, a center storage console with sliding armrest, cruise control, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and Bluetooth.
The GS hatchback includes all the standard GLS features and adds body-color mirrors/door handles, a rear windshield wiper, keyless entry and a driver seat armrest. Stepping up to the SE hatchback adds a rear spoiler, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and the equipment from the Premium package.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering every 2013 Hyundai Accent is a 1.6-liter direct-injection four-cylinder that produces 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. The front-wheel-drive Accent is available with either a standard six-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed automatic with a fuel-efficient Eco mode. In Edmunds performance testing, an Accent GLS with the automatic went from zero to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds -- a fairly quick time for the class.
EPA fuel economy estimates with the automatic transmission are 28 mpg city/37 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined with the automatic transmission and 28/37/32 with the manual.
All 2013 Hyundai Accents come with antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability and traction control, active front head restraints, front seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags.
In Edmunds brake testing, the Accent stopped from 60 mph in 123 feet, an average distance for this class of car.
In government crash testing, the Accent received four out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for overall frontal-impact protection and four stars for overall side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Accent the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and roof strength tests, but the second-best rating of "Acceptable" in the side impact test.
Interior Design and Special Features
Although it may look like a subcompact car, the Accent's interior dimensions actually place it in the EPA's "compact" class. The spacious rear quarters offer enough headroom and legroom to make even 6-footers comfortable back there. As with pretty much any small car, the rear middle seat is best left to those for whom walking is the only other option.
Up front, the well-shaped seats are roomy, though taller drivers may bemoan the lack of a telescoping steering wheel. But overall, the Accent feels upscale for a car of this class, thanks to its solid build quality, patterned upholstery, stylish dash/console and tasteful, umm, accents.
Cargo space is also impressive, with the sedan offering a relatively large trunk with 13.7 cubic feet of capacity. The hatchback, meanwhile, provides 21.2 cubic feet of cargo volume with the rear seats up and a generous 47.5 cubic feet when they're folded down.
In these times of 500-hp supercars, the 2013 Hyundai Accent's 138-hp output might sound paltry. Yet this sophisticated direct-injection engine pulls significantly stronger than the power plants of its major competitors (with the exception of the turbocharged Chevy Sonic). Both the six-speed manual and the six-speed automatic transmissions make good use of that output, too. Under hard acceleration, the engine remains smooth but can get rather noisy.
On the road, the Accent provides both a comfortable ride and decent handling. What it lacks in sporty steering and suspension settings, it compensates with balance and composure, which are likely more important to buyers shopping this segment anyway.