The Hyundai Accent was all new for 2012, roomier, more powerful, and modern in style than its predecessor. The 2013 Accent gets more standard equipment (albeit at a higher base price) and more options, including a power sunroof.
Hyundai Accent comes in two body styles, a five-door hatchback and a four-door sedan with a conventional trunk. A subcompact, Accent competes against the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Sonic, Mazda 2 and Nissan Versa. According to the government, however, the Accent's interior volume puts it in the larger compact class.
Accent is longer in wheelbase and overall length than most of the competition, which means more room inside for people and cargo, and a smoother ride.
We found the Accent very easy to drive. It's responsive but not quick, smooth by subcompact standards but not luxurious. Everything in the cabin is intuitive and easy to operate. It's an attractive design and the materials look nice.
With flowing lines and highly sculpted sheetmetal the Accent looks like a smaller version of the Elantra. That's not a coincidence. Accent shares Hyundai's Fluidic Sculpture design theme with the high-priced Sonata and Elantra models.
Accent's body shape carries a low coefficient of drag, 0.30, which helps with wind noise and fuel mileage. The designers chose to go with body color everywhere, from bumpers to mirrors to handles, with black accents and design elements, so there is almost no chrome trim on the car beyond the grille bar.
A 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine powers the Accent, a twin-cam, 16-valve design with direct fuel injection, a first for the class, and variable valve timing to give it low-rpm torque, high-rpm horsepower. The engine is rated at 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. All new, like the rest of the car, for 2012, the engine is 40 pounds lighter than the one it replaced. Like the other cars in this class, the Accent uses front-wheel drive.
The Accent comes with a choice of 6-speed manual gearbox or 6-speed automatic. On manual-transmission models, there is an EcoShift indicator between the instrument pods to indicate the proper gear for all driving conditions. We liked the with the 6-speed manual but didn't care for the indicator as we think we know the proper gear better than the car does. The clutch pedal was light and easy to operate. The automatic features a Shiftronic manual-shifting mode, allowing the driver more control over shifting. We preferred to just put it in Drive and go.
Fuel economy is slightly better with the 6-speed manual gearbox, which gets an EPA-estimated 32 mpg Combined city and highway rating, compared with 31 mpg Combined for the 6-speed automatic. But it's close. Fuel economy is an EPA-rated 28/37 mpg City/Highway regardless of transmission choice. Regular gasoline is recommended for Hyundai Accent.