Hyundai’s 24/7 plan, 7 new cars in only 24 months, is on track with the fourth generation 2012 Hyundai Accent. A four and five-door sub compact series that follows in the swoopy footsteps of the Sonata and the Elantra. Indeed, the four-door Accent GLS we tested on our home roads in Maryland does an excellent job of keeping the Sonata and Elantra’s Fluidic Sculpture design language intact. This works even better with the 2.8 inches of added wheelbase, and 3.5 inches of added length over last year.
Up front, Hyundai’s signature angry eyed headlights, and split, drop jaw grille give this Accent a new found attitude. Optional fog lights are set deep into duct like cavities; starting points for sweeping body side creases that run all the way to the rear, merging with the wraparound taillights and high decklid tail.
The Accent comes equipped with a new, lighter Gamma 1.6-liter twin-cam I4. With the combination of direct-injection and variable valve timing, a first for this segment, it delivers a class leading 138-horsepower and 123 lb-ft. of torque. While a 6-speed manual is standard, our Accent had the 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode, hill hold, and a shift and engine mapping ActiveECO function.
According to Government Fuel Economy Ratings, is 30-City and 40-Highway for both the manual and automatic. That’s also class best. We averaged a fine 35.0 miles per gallon of regular. The Energy Impact Score is a low 10.4 barrels of oil consumed per year, with a far better than average Carbon Footprint of 5.7 annual tons of CO2 emitted.
Our auto Accent was also better than most subcompacts in a straight line. 0 to 60 in 10.3 seconds. The quarter mile spins by in 17.9 seconds at 80 miles per hour. Launch was a bit soft, but the trans responds with firm shifts.
We thoroughly enjoyed the Accent’s ride and handling. With a stiffer chassis and firmer tuning of the front strut and rear torsion beam suspension, body roll was well checked and steering very responsive. We kept pushing until screaming tires signaled approaching terminal under steer. The Accent has standard 4-wheel ABS-equipped disc brakes. A fade free 130 foot stopping distance from 60 is fine but it could be shorter. There was a lot of nose dive, and the brick hard pedal was devoid of feel.
Our Accent saw a wide swing in driving environments, from touring in clear sunny weather, to just trying to reach home in hurricane driven rain. Both extremes were revealing. In driving rain we found road and exterior noise to be excessive. Turning up the radio didn’t help either. During quieter daily commutes, however, the Accent delivered excellent comfort with agile traffic mastering response.
The roomier five passenger interior is even better thought out than the already impressive Sonata and Elantra. Our GLS automatic made the driver comfortable with six way adjustable seat, tilt-wheel, and an easy to ready gauge package with tachometer. Power locks, windows, and mirrors, air conditioning, 172-watt stereo with iPod jack and lots more come with the automatic transmission. Our car’s Premium package adds steering wheel controls with Bluetooth, cruise, and 16-inch alloy wheels.
Materials look upscale, except for the premium cloth upholstery that reminded us of hotel room wallpaper. Our all grey interior was a bit dreary as well. Three across in the rear seat is possible and legroom is adequate for 6-footers and under. The seats fold 60/40 expanding the already generous 13.7 cubic foot trunk. The hatchback has over 50 percent more space. And, the price of the 2012 Hyundai Accent is more than right. The four-door GLS manual has a base price of only $13,205. Our far better equipped GLS automatic starts at $15,955. Five door models begin with GS trim at $15,355.
If there is one thing that Hyundai has pay more attention to it is small car road noise. It was a problem for us in the Elantra and now in the Accent.
Clearly, Hyundai knows the language the value-conscious consumer speaks. The 2012 Hyundai Accent is a stylish, well made, fun to drive, and very affordable small car with a lot of class best, including power train warranty. So, no matter where your accent is from--Boston, Atlanta, St. Paul or Timbuktu, this Hyundai speaks a language that you’ll understand.
Long Term Updates
Date: April 2012
Our newest long termer is this 5-door Hyundai Accent, a 2012 Drivers’ Choice Pick for Best Subcompact. While very stylish for its class, our car’s stunning Electrolyte Green is also sure to get noticed. We praised the Accent for lots of reasons besides appearance. The interior is quite roomy. All models are well equipped with power windows and locks, air conditioning, iPod jack, interior air filter, and great warranties.
And, even with an automatic attached to its 1.6-liter engine, there is the potential for 40 mile per gallon fuel economy on the highway. Even during break-in, results, like the rest of the Accent, look very promising.
Date: May 2012
You can’t miss our Hyundai Accent SE 5-door hatchback and its eye popping Electrolyte Green finish. It gets your attention, and then keeps it with fine fuel economy. After 6-weeks and nearly 2,000 miles of stop and go driving, we’re averaging 32.1 miles per regular gallon. When we do have the chance to let the Accent loose on the highway, the 1.6 liter automatic powertrain proves willing with very decent mid-range torque. We did notice some air conditioner buzz when we first turned it on, but that has now subsided. Otherwise our Drivers’ Choice Best Subcompact pick of the year is showing our trust is well placed.
Date: July 2012
A quick review of the log book in our Hyundai Accent SE shows all is going well with this stylish five door subcompact. After 3,000 miles the 1.6-liter I4 is loosening up. But, after six weeks our fuel economy is just OK at 30.3 miles per gallon of regular. Commuting is obviously this Accent’s number one duty. While it is the Accent’s slick shape that attracts many buyers, we’re more impressed with its solidity, feeling like a bigger car. Yet it also is extremely agile. Not everyone like the Electrolyte green finish, but then there is no accounting for taste.
Date: September 2012
This week, the smallest and largest vehicles in our long term fleet are up for review. Starting with this 2012 Hyundai Accent SE, a highly fuel efficient 5-door subcompact that transcends its small size with usefulness and looks. With 5,000 commuter miles on the odometer in a just over 4 months with us, we’re pretty happy with the soft but earnest response from its 138-horsepower 1.6-liter I4. Urban speed limits have also limited fuel economy to 29.8 miles per gallon of regular. While that’s a long way from the Accent’s Highway rating of 40, its dead on with the government’s 30 MPG City prediction. You can’t help but expect some driving fun in a car that looks as sporty as the Accent. But, with a soft suspension, again perfect for pot holed city streets, it’s mostly left to the manual shift mode 6-speed automatic transmission to provide any amusement. Log book comments pronounce the interior as comfy for its class, and roomy. So thus far, it’s easy to accentuate the positives of the Hyundai Accent.
Date: October 2012
For the last six months our 2012 Hyundai Accent SE 5-door subcompact has become the go-to vehicle for long commutes and frugal road trips. Not only is it versatile and easy on gas, it’s also easy on the eyes. From the slick styling outside, to the piano black and bright details inside, Accent looks more expensive than it is.
And, it performs that way as well. While not the quietest subcompact out there, it’s certainly no tin box. Handling and ride are soft, but acceptable, and the 138-horsepower 1.6-liter I4 automatic drivetrain pulls well. We judge 31.3 miles per gallon of regular OK as most of its 6,700 miles has been on urban streets.
Last winter we picked the Accent as our Drivers’ Choice winner for best subcompact. This fall we feel more strongly about that than ever.
Date: November 2012
We’re at the 8 month mark, or two thirds the way through our long term test of a 2012 Hyundai Accent SE 5-door subcompact, one of the winners of this year’s Drivers’ Choice Awards.
The stylish Accent is also notable for its Government Fuel Economy Ratings, even if they are less than Hyundai originally claimed. 28 City-37 Highway. Our stop-and-go average is closer to the City figure. 31.5 miles per gallon of regular. So we’re generally pleased.
The 138-horsepower 1.6-liter I4 automatic drivetrain pulls well, if, after some 7,500 miles, a little noisily than average when stressed.
While the soft ride may hinder spirited driving, it’s a blessing over broken pavement and potholes so prevalent on the East Coast. Steering is light but direct, and brakes work well. It’s a great little runabout. And, even more comfortable than expected on longer trips. The versatility of this little hatchback has been tested frequently and it underscores why this body style is so popular in Europe and is gaining favor here.
Date: January 2013
Our remaining time with this 2012 Hyundai Accent SE 5-door is growing short. For 10 months, and about 10,000 miles, we’ve been happily running around town in our Electrolyte Green Accent.
Despite its subcompact size, the Accent is one solid little car. It’s spacious, strong, and city nimble, while also being surprisingly comfortable.
As to fuel economy, our Accent’s stop-and-go average of 32.5 miles per gallon of Regular is actually better than its Combined government rating Of 31.
The 1.6-liter I4 automatic drivetrain has been without hitch even though at times is nosier than we’d like.
But, aside from a couple of nit-picks, our impressions of the hatchback Hyundai Accent come up all green!
Date: March 2013
Just about everyone notices us zipping around in our Electrolyte Green 2012 Hyundai Accent. This SE trimmed 5-door subcompact is our favorite car for commuting, or airport runs because it is in one, fuel efficient, versatile, and enjoyable to drive. No wonder it and kin Kia Rio made our Drivers’ Choice list two years in a row.
After 11 months, our Accent is averaging 31.7 miles per gallon of Regular, down a bit due to cold weather idling, while continuing to show surprising pep from its 1.6-liter I4 automatic drivetrain. The only change we’ve noticed in 12,500 miles is the engine sounds a little noisier than when new.
The Accent is impressively comfortable for its size, and the quality look to the fabrics has dimmed little over time. The stereo also sounds great, putting a final positive accent on a great little car.
Date: May 2013
We’ve loved the subcompact Hyundai Accent from the moment we first saw it at the New York Auto Show two years ago. So much so that it, along with corporate kin Kia Rio, won our Drivers’ Choice Award two years running.
What followed was a 12 month stay with us for this 2012 SE 5-door. To say its Electrolyte Green paint job was hard to miss is an understatement.
It was also impossible to miss the driving enjoyment the stylish Accent delivered. It’s practical, comfortable, and pretty frugal. After 14,000 miles of thankless commuting, we averaged 31.3 miles per gallon. That’s spot on with the government’s Combined rating.
We had to look closely for things not to like about our Accent. Seat fabrics wore fairly quickly, and backseat legroom proved more cramped than expected. There were no mechanical hiccups, although the 1.6-liter engine is noisy at times. Still, for under $18,000, we think our loaded Accent is a bargain.
One of our staffer’s log book comments says it all…”one of the very best subcompact we’ve ever driven”. That’s the Hyundai Accent.
Engine: 1.6-liter twin-cam I4
Torque: 123 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 10.3 seconds
1/4 mile: 17.9 seconds @ 80 mph
EPA: 30 mpg city/ 40 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 10.4 barrels oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 5.7 tons/yr