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He Said - 2012 Hyundai Accent Drive and Review By Larry Nutson



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

2012 Hyundai Accent
40mpg and more!

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Fifty is the new thirty in human age terms today. And in the auto fuel economy arena here in the U.S., 40mpg is the new 30mpg. A quick look at my local Chicago Tribune automotive section and I see lots of green gas pump icons with 40mpg jumping out at me.

The 2012 Hyundai Accent is all new, having been introduced at the New York Auto show in Spring 2011. Now in its fourth generation, the new Accent is slightly larger and very attractively styled both outside and in. The interior evokes the plushness of a higher priced car. Ride is very comfortable and power is very good for this vehicle class. The Accent has good road manners and is quiet to drive. The surprise-and-delight is that the Accent is more than basic transportation and is not just another low priced car.

I’ve driven most all of the Accent’s competition such as the Chevy Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, and Nissan Versa. Each one of these cars are quite good. In choosing one over another it may come down to personal-taste styling likes and dislikes, convenience of the local dealer, and of course the final cost. You can see a side by side comparison HERE


2012 Hyundai Accent (select to view enlarged photo)

The 2012 Accent is offered in a GS 5-door, sporty SE 5-door and a GLS 4-door. My week-long test drive was in the SE with the 6-speed manual trans and an MSRP of $15,795. All three 2012 Accent models are powered by an all-aluminum 1.6-liter Gamma four-cylinder engine delivering a class-leading (according to Hyundai) 138 horsepower and 123 lb-ft of torque. This engine uses Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) that delivers the fuel directly into each cylinder. By the way, this is a first in a subcompact car. Driving through the front wheels, the 2012 Accent can be equipped with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transaxle with SHIFTRONIC manual control. Low-rolling resistance silica tires reduce road friction and a low 0.30 Cd reduce air resistance helping the Accent to achieve best-in-class (again, according to Hyundai) fuel economy ratings of 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, with either transmission. These figures give Accent 5-door models with their 11.4 gallon fuel tank a driving range of up to 456 miles and the GLS 4-door with its 13.7 gallon tank a highway driving range of 548 miles.

Safety isn’t to be compromised in a compact car and the Accent is equipped with a long list of standard safety features including six standard airbags, active front head restraints and four-wheel disc brakes. Also standard are Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control (TCS), ABS with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), and Tire Pressure Monitoring.


2012 Hyundai Accent (select to view enlarged photo)

On the inside I found the Accent to be very refined. For the just-under $16,000 price of my SE tester you get power windows, mirrors and door locks. Also, air conditioning, a tilt steering column, remote keyless entry as well as a trip computer add to the comfort and driving enjoyment. I found the front seats to be supportive and very comfortable on a long drive. Hyundai points out that the Accent has compact car roominess in a subcompact car.


2012 Hyundai Accent (select to view enlarged photo)

Both the 4-door Accent at 172 inches and the 5-door at 162 inches overall length are very city friendly for squeezing into tight parking spots or maneuvering a parking structure. The 5-door’s shorter length combined with its increased cargo versatility that expands from 21.2 cubic feet to 47.5 cubic feet with the 60/40 split-folding rear seat down makes it my preference.


2012 Hyundai Accent (select to view enlarged photo)

Accent prices start at $12,445 for the GLS four-door and $14,595 for the GS five-door. The GLS 6-Speed A/T with SHIFTRONIC® is $15,295 but also adds more equipment such as Active Eco System, air conditioning, cloth door inserts, AM/FM/XM® Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system with tweeters, iPod®/USB auxiliary input jacks, and power windows & mirrors

The 2012 Accent has gotten some deserved accolades and was named a “Best Buy” by Consumer Guide Automotive, a “Best Bet” by The Car Book from author Jack Gillis and the Center for Auto Safety, “Best Value in America” for 2012 from Vincentric, and the “Best Subcompact Car” by MotorWeek TV.

I mentioned 50 is the new 30 in terms of age and 80 years is now old…no offense intended anyone. Well, when it comes to cars, they too are lasting a lot longer. The average age of vehicles on the U.S. roads is more than 11 years. Yes, this in part is due to the economy and folks holding on to their car, but also a fact of cars just being very much better and lasting longer. Hyundai exhibits their confidence in the Accent by backing it with a 5-year/60,000 mile new vehicle warranty, a 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, a 7-year/unlimited mile anti-perforation warranty and a 5-year/unlimited mile roadside assistance program.

Hyundai has about 800 dealers in the U.S. so shopping for one and also living through the ownership experience should be very convenient for most Americans.

© Larry Nutson