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Heels on Wheels: 2012 Hyundai Accent Review

2012 Hyundai Accent (select to view enlarged photo)
2012 Hyundai Accent

By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

Instead of masking its micro-size with big car design cues, the newly redesigned 2012 Hyundai Accent chose to embraces its subcompact status by crafting eye-catching aerodynamic flare at every bumper and angle on both the sedan and hatchback versions. The interior took on an awakening of verve and substance as well with a pepped-up gasoline direct injection engine and astonishing low price tags as the final flourish.

I drove a 2012 Hyundai Accent featuring a 138-horsepower 1.6-liter Gamma four-cylinder engine with gasoline direct injection technology and Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing. A six-speed manual is standard with the automatic transmission and SHIFTRONIC as optional. Available in three trims – GLS, GS and SE – my sportier SE trim came with the following feature highlights: premium cloth upholstery; steering wheel mounted controls; Bluetooth connectivity; fog lights; and a rear spoiler. Total vehicle price came to $15,795.

Aside of your usual small culprits like the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris, competitors also pushing hip looks and tech-enhanced engines include the Ford Focus and Chevy Sonic.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: The Accent’s classification actually steps up to a compact, with more head and legroom on both models than what’s found on a half-a-dozen other competitors. Hyundai may be frugal with standard goodies even at the SE level, but it’s no reflection on how innovative, cleanly designed and generally inviting the interior cabin is. Engineering magic was especially devoted to the recline-like rear seats, which adds more room for dealing with a car seat, and the concaved interior side doors that carve out more elbow room.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Accent crash test ratings of “Good” in frontal offset and roof strength tests, but “Acceptable” in side impact results. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives it 4-Stars, but has placed a safety concern on the Accent specifically with side crash testing. Standard safety features on the Accent include six airbags, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution.

Cost Issues: The Accent begins at the bargain price of $12,545. Be aware inside is shockingly spare at the base GLS, with an audio system, air conditioning and power windows all consider extra options. But for under $16k on what must be considered Hyundai’s fully loaded Accent, one can afford to go all in. Navigation or Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system is unavailable on any trim, which limits your connectivity expectations.

Activity & Performance Ability: Poor rear visibility is the repeated caveat of choice with the Accent. However, in a short amount of time you’ll understand the stunted dimensions mean the Accent is game for any challenging parking space. The 1.6-liter engine is no slouch at on-ramps or highway speeds, with one of the quietest Continuously Variable Valve Timing systems I’ve experienced. Hyundai’s choice of drivetrain components, along with various tweaks to throttle control and the crankshaft design, allow the ability for the Accent to focus on a smooth delivery of efficient power. In other words, it looks good, it sounds good, and it sips gas.

The Green Concern: No concerns here at 30 miles-per-gallon city and 40 highway, hitting the high fuel efficiency numbers that should be expected out of today’s competitive compacts.

An authentically suave redesign, stuttering prices and fast yet fuel-efficient drivetrain technology elevate the once-lost Accent into the compact limelight. Limitations do exist, such as media connectivity and heart-sinking safety results, which can put more than a damper your drive to travel tiny.

2012 Katrina Ramser