Hyundai Accent Video Review


The Hyundai Accent is one of the market’s most affordable cars. It exists almost in parallel with the Hyundai i20, but while there is considerable price overlap, there are several key differences that make the Accent a somewhat superior proposition to the i20. More on that coming up.

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The Accent gets an adequate 1.6-litre petrol engine, and you get the option of a very capable 1.6-litre diesel as well. The diesel delivers the same sort of power but adds copiously more torque (as in: almost 70 per cent more, at half the revs) so it’s a real winner. It also delivers hybrid-like fuel economy, which is astonishingly good.

So: Vote 1 – the diesel, despite its $2600 price premium. Maybe that’s not such a big deal on cars costing $40,000. But here in the cheap seats, that’s about 15 per cent extra. Ouch.

The other car you absolutely must consider (if you want a petrol engine) is the Kia Rio 1.6 – it’s a better drive than the Accent, with the same warranty, similar pricing and it’s extremely well specified.

The Accent gives you a five-speed manual on the petrol engine, but the diesel gets a six-speed manual. Go figure. Just like the i20, though, if you pay the $2000 premium for the automatic gearbox, you’re back to four speeds – not so sure that’s a step forwards.

Both engines feel quite punchy, but part of that is the short gearing. That’s good around town, but on the highway in a petrol Accent you’ll be nudging 3000rpm at 100km/h, in the manual.

There’s a fair jump between the ratios in the auto, too, so it’s not likely to be the smoothest transmission you ever experience.

Like much of the Hyundai range, with Accent there are three models in the range: Active, Elite and Premium.

Active kicks off with 14-inch steel wheels, an iPod-compatible audio system with steering wheel-mounted controls and Bluetooth, plus a trip computer. All Accents get a full five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Elite models add $1600 to the price, and for that spend you get 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps and two more speakers.

Premium adds another $2400, which buys you rear parking sensors and a rear view camera built into the central rear view mirror, a proximity key with pushbutton start (but only on the automatic) climate control and fake leather seats.

The Accent comes in two body styles: a sedan and a five-door hatch. They’re both the same price, model for model. The rear suspension on the sedan seems much better sorted than on the hatch, so for ride quality and handling on choppy surfaces, the sedan wins – but on sex appeal and practicality, the hatch remains in front.

The Accent is great value – better value in most cases than the Hyundai i20. It’s a whole lot more powerful as well, and that’s just the petrol. The diesel Accent would blow the i20 well out of the water on performance potential. It offers about 20 per cent more cargo volume as well.

You should also test drive the Mazda2, which is a real winner on build quality even though it can’t match the Hyundai on warranty. There are two great European-designed small cars to consider as well: the Volkswagen Polo, which has superb styling and finish, and the Thai-built Ford Fiesta.

But the real winner in this segment, for anyone wanting the best car on a budget is the Kia Rio 1.6 – when you add up the performance, features, price and warranty, the Rio is ahead by a length. Make sure you test-drive the Rio before you sign any contracts.