Y’s Alvin Thomas tests the all-new Hyundai Accent – a seasoned sedan that shows no sign of withering well into its third decade
Whhat does it take to break into an overcrowded market of sub-compact sedans? As it turns out, the answer is quite simple: a Hyundai badge and a price tag that undercuts pretty much every other competitor on the market.
As odd as that sounds, the Hyundai Accent fits the bill on both counts and in a segment in which the prices have shot up as much as, or even more than, that of a full-size sedan from just a few years ago.
So, it’s little wonder then that this new refresh for the Accent comes as a welcome addition.
Our tester, the mid-spec ‘GL’ variant, dons fresh attire complete with longer but sleeker headlamps, the signature Hexagonal grille with chrome inserts, and more aggressive angles on the bumper to keep the youth interested.
The side profile gains some appeal too; primarily, with smoother character lines that flow across the doors to provide the impression of a buffer stance.The dimensions do stay in line with the previous variant with only marginal differences to the wheelbase, width, and height.
A bulk of all the rework goes into the rear, which undeniably imitates designs from its larger sibling – the Elantra. The triple light effect adds charm while the busy-looking bumper rounds off the posterior.
Sitting in the lineup as an entry-level sedan, the Accent comes packing – at least in the ‘GL’ variant – only the essentials. The cabin design is functional, with hard but high-quality plastics covering much of the dashboard and broken efficiently by cloth inserts on the doors.
Even the seats are covered in soft cloth material, and the lumbar support and side bolstering are more aimed towards a comfy ride than for hard cornering. Aside from that, there are steering mounted controls for volume and switching tracks on the left and a blank switch on the right.
Despite its price, Hyundai also chucks in a small LED screen that shares audio controls, and time and date settings – but higher variants will receive Hyundai’s trademark touchscreen and a backup camera.
Basic features include a whopping six cup-holder, power windows, Bluetooth and CD/MP3 audio with four speakers, power steering, and four-wheel-disc brakes. On the safety front, you get stability control, ABS, and a host of airbags.
There’s a plethora of space up front and just about enough in the rear (33.5 inches) to keep three passengers happy. We were particularly impressed by the head room and the USB port that was on offer in the rear.
Boot space is pegged at 388 litres – which is at par with most vehicles in this segment.
Powering the Accent is a tried and tested 1.6-litre in-line four-cylinder pot banger producing a respectable 123hp and 156Nms of torque. The powertrain is further completed by a six-speed torque converter that keeps the revs low for most parts to aid fuel economy but doesn’t hesitate to kick down a few gears and throw the engine into the 6,000rpm range when needed.
It’s a combo we liked – and even though the performance figures may be within the realms of the sub-compact sedan segment – we gave the car a thorough shakedown.
The car sits confident on the road at high speeds, with wind resistance throwing a fit only after 130kph owing to its light weight. Even the steering is well-weighted and alive in corners, translating a fair bit back to the driver.
Front-wheel drive means that the Accent pulls efficiently off the line, though understeer does reveal itself when you tend to become a bit adventurous. Mind you, it’s not uncontrollable – and there are enough electronic nannies to save you when things get out of hand.
Grip is adequate to instill confidence to the driver. It’s not a no-thrills affair if that’s what you had assumed. Hyundai even offers a tiptronic mode to shift gears and kick down – and it’s surprisingly sprightly when you take control of them.
The quality of the ride is superb for a sedan riding on 14-inch steel wheels; perhaps it’s the high-profile tyre setup. There’s very little noise rendered into the cabin from the wheels and sound-deadening materials hold up for as long as you’re within the speed limits on the roads.
Fuel economy is pegged at 15.6 litres/100km – which is phenomenal even by current-day standards, and you’ll really need to push the car beyond to the redline to stray beyond that mark.
The refreshed Hyundai Accent may come as a welcome addition to its own lineup but the India-built sedan not only uplifts the South-Korean carmaker’s profile but also gives the sub-compact sedan segment in the region a thorough revamp and opens up opportunities for those cross-shopping for a budget sedan.
Hyundai’s Accent has been around in the market for longer than two decades now – and it shows maturity that translates into a brilliant package for the discerning customer.
• Engine: 1.6-litre in-line four-cylinder
• Transmission: six-speed automatic
• Power: 123hp
• Torque: 156Nms
• Top Speed: 190kph
• Front-wheel drive
• Multi-point fuel injection
• Keyless entry
• Four-speaker audio system
• 388l boot space
• Stability control
• 14-inch steel wheels
• Bluetooth and MP3 audio
• Auto-dimming mirror
• Parking sensors w/ camera
• Steering mounted controls
• Touchscreen infotainment system (optional)
• Interior air filtration