2012 Hyundai Accent Hatchback Review fromEdmunds.comWhat Edmunds SaysLarger, sharper and more fuel-efficient, the redesigned 2012 Hyundai Accent deserves buyerconsideration as an affordable, stylish new car.ProsStrong engine; excellent fuel economy; engaging style; long warranty.ConsLimited rear visibility in hatchback; competitors offer more options.Whats New for 2012Fully redesigned, the 2012 Hyundai Accent features a more powerful and efficient engine, a newfour-door hatchback body style and upgraded interior.IntroductionWith Hyundai gripped by a frenzy of redesigns and new product launches, it was only a matter oftime before the automaker sent its subcompact Accent to get fit. The 2012 Hyundai Accent is sothoroughly awakened from a life of invisibility that its transformation reads like a classic HansChristian Andersen fable.Before, the Accent perfectly represented the bland aesthetics and underwhelming excitement thatmost subcompact buyers settled for. This all-new version of the entry-level Hyundai now sharesthe sharp styling of the similarly reimagined Sonata and Elantra, making it more an object ofpride than embarrassment for a new owner.
Offered as either a sedan or hatchback, the fourth-generation Accents wheelbase has grown 3inches, yielding a more accommodating interior that, like other new Hyundai models, features anattractive finish and a long list of standard conveniences. Equally noteworthy is the new 1.6-literfour-cylinder engine offering direct injection -- a rarity in this class -- and class-leading powerand fuel economy. A pair of new six-speed transmissions rounds out the powertrain upgrades.The Accents redesign now enables it to run with stiff competition. The Honda Fit offers a moreversatile interior, the Ford Fiesta packs more technology, the Mazda 2 handles better and the newChevrolet Sonic uses a turbocharged engine to match the Accents new power. Theres also theredesigned Kia Rio, which shares similar underpinnings but with bolder styling.Body Styles, Trim Levels, and OptionsThe 2012 Hyundai Accent is a compact four-door sedan or four-door hatchback. The sedan isoffered only in base GLS trim, while the hatchback comes in GS and the top-line SE trims.The GLS sedan comes equipped with 14-inch steel wheels, power door locks, a tilt steeringwheel, 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, a trip computer and an audio prep package with fourspeakers. Options include a Comfort package with air-conditioning, power windows and mirrors,cloth door inserts and the rest of the sound system (including a CD player, satellite radio andiPod and auxiliary audio input jacks). All of these features are included on a GLS with automatictransmission.The Premium package offered on automatic-equipped GLS models bundles together foglights,16-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, premium cloth upholstery, upgraded interior trim, a centerstorage console with sliding armrest, cruise control, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls andBluetooth.The GS hatchback adds body-color mirrors and door handles, a rear window wiper, keyless entryand a driver seat armrest to the features included with the GLS Comfort package. Stepping up tothe SE hatchback adds 16-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a rear spoiler, a leather-wrapped steeringwheel and the equipment from the Premium package.Powertrains and PerformanceThe 2012 Hyundai Accents sole engine is a new 1.6-liter direct-injection four-cylinder thatproduces 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. The front-wheel-drive Accent isavailable with either a standard six-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed automaticwith a fuel-economy-boosting Eco mode.EPA fuel economy estimates with either transmission are an impressive 30 mpg city and 40 mpghighway. Combined mileage estimates are 34 mpg with the manual transmission and 33 mpg forautomatic-equipped models.Safety
All 2012 Hyundai Accents come with a long list of standard safety features including antilockdisc brakes with brake assist, stability and traction control, active front head restraints, front seatside-impact airbags and side curtain airbags.Interior Design and Special FeaturesAlong with extending its footprint, the 2012 Hyundai Accents new interior dimensions graduateit from the subcompact segment into the EPAs official "compact" class. Much of the Accentsadditional space comes from the rear seat, with more headroom and legroom making thebackseat ride comfortable for even 6-foot passengers. The sloping roof line does eat into someavailable headroom, however, and fifth passengers will find the rear seats raised center sectionuseful only when walking is the remaining option.Although the front seats are suitably roomy, taller drivers may bemoan the lack of a telescopingsteering wheel. The hatchback also features some compromised rearward visibility. But overall,the Accents patterned upholstery fabric and updated dash, consoles, trim and storage nookscontribute to an upscale feel for a car of this class.The Accent sedan offers relatively large trunk space at 13.7 cubic feet. The four-door hatchback,meanwhile, provides 21.2 cubic feet of cargo volume with the rear seats up and 47.5 cubic feetwhen folded.Driving ImpressionsIn the times of 500-plus-horsepower supercars, the 2012 Hyundai Accents 138-hp output mightsound paltry. Yet this sophisticated direct-injection four-cylinder pulls significantly stronger thanthe power plants of its major competitors. Both the six-speed manual and the six-speed automatictransmissions make good use of that output, too.On the road, the Accent provides both a comfortable ride and decent handling. What it lacks insporty steering and suspension settings, it compensates for with balance and composure --criteria likely more important to buyers shopping this segment. That the Accent performs thiswell overall while still returning an EPA-estimated 40 mpg on the highway is impressive.