Since its 1995 introduction, the Hyundai Accent has served as the company's entry-level small car. Although grouped with similarly priced subcompact cars, the Accent sedan and hatchback have always fallen under the EPA's classification for a compact car, which translates to a surprisingly roomy interior. Other typical Accent advantages include generous standard equipment, a choice of hatchback and sedan body styles and long warranty coverage.
The latest Hyundai Accent has made great strides toward front-runner status in this competitive segment, which is a welcome change from past models. It is now larger inside and out, and the overall look of the car is certainly more dynamic. Performance and overall quality have been notably improved as well. Prior to the current-generation car, older Accents suffered from low safety ratings and an overall level of quality that didn't match up to some competitors.
Current Hyundai Accent
Available as a sedan or a four-door hatchback, the Accent comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder producing 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed automatic is also available. Power output is impressive for the class, and the Accent gets excellent fuel economy as well.
The sedan comes only in base GLS trim, while the hatchback comes in GS and the top-line SE trims. The GLS is nicely equipped with air-conditioning, full power accessories and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and iPod/USB/auxiliary input jacks. Option highlights including foglights, alloy wheels, keyless entry, upgraded interior trim, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control and Bluetooth are available. The GS hatchback adds a few extra features. Stepping up to the SE hatchback gets you pretty much all of the optional features as standard.
Inside, the Hyundai Accent has a look and feel that's a cut above most rivals, with patterned upholstery, a sculpted dash and a modern overall design. Although some drivers may be bothered by the lack of a telescoping steering wheel as standard equipment on most trims, taller passengers will find all but the rear center seat roomy and comfortable. Cargo space is also quite accommodating, especially in the hatchback models.
On the road, the Accent's four-cylinder engine pulls significantly stronger than the power plants of its major competitors. Both the six-speed manual and the six-speed automatic transmissions make good use of that output, too. What it lacks in sporty handling dynamics, it compensates for with a quiet, comfortable ride and good overall composure -- criteria likely more important to buyers shopping this segment. That the Accent performs this well overall while still rating an EPA-estimated 31 mpg combined is impressive. Overall, the Hyundai Accent stands as a front-runner in the subcompact segment.
Read the most recent 2014 Hyundai Accent review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Hyundai Accent page.