Hyundai vehicles have been dramatically improved over the past few years. The Hyundai Accent sedan was redesigned for 2006, and this past spring an attractive coupe joined the lineup, adding style, sophistication, and content than ever before.
While the sedan brings some suave to the entry-level family segment, the coupe is clearly seeking street cred, offering hip accessories ranging from a strut-tower brace to faux carbon-fiber trim. Think of it as inexpensive canvas for the Fast & Furious.
This latest generation of Accents is built on a more substantial platform. They are slightly larger and are notably better cars than the previous generation. Hyundai is clearly moving up-market, and the Accent is a viable alternative to the recently introduced Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, and Nissan Versa subcompacts.
Power comes from a clean and sophisticated 1.6-liter double overhead-cam engine, featuring variable valve timing and delivering more power than the Chevrolet Aveo or Scion xA. The environmentally friendly Accent is an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle, or ULEV, and rates 37 mpg on the EPA Highway scale.
What's more, Accent delivers a generous list of safety features. Six airbags (front, seat-mounted side-impact, and side-curtain) are standard on all models; antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution are optional on the sedan and standard on the sporty SE coupe. The Accent and the related Kia Rio are among the least expensive cars on the market with these important safety features.
Based on our impressions, the Hyundai Accent should be considered alongside models from more established players. A generous five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty with roadside assistance and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty make the Accent a good deal for anyone who does not want to buy a used car and intends to keep the vehicle for an extended period of time.
For 2007, the Hyundai Accent is available in two body styles and three levels of trim. There's a basic GS coupe, a nicer GLS four-door sedan, and a sporty SE coupe.
A 110-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine powers all models. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, a four-speed automatic transmission ($1,000) is optional on all Accents.
The base GS coupe ($10,415) comes with cloth upholstery, eight-way adjustable driver's seat, fold-down driver's armrest, center console with two cupholders, a recline feature for its split-folding (60/40) rear seat, a tilting steering column, tachometer, digital clock, two 12-volt power outlets, cabin air filtration, two-speed intermittent windshield wipers, rear-window defroster, power steering, and P175/70TR14 tires on steel wheels.
Air conditioning is not standard, but it is part of a Preferred Package ($1,350) that also includes a 172-watt AM/FM/CD stereo. A Premium Package ($1,750) combines the Preferred Package with power windows, power heated body-color mirrors, power door locks with remote keyless entry, body-color door handles, and an alarm with panic feature.
The GLS sedan ($12,565) makes air conditioning and the 172-watt stereo standard, along with illuminated vanity mirrors; and rides on 185/65HR14 tires on 14-inch steel wheels. The sedan's Premium Package ($950) adds anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, power windows with driver's express-down, power mirrors, power door locks, remote keyless entry, and an alarm with panic alert. The Premium Sport Package ($1,350) combines all of the above with 195/55VR15 tires on 15-inch aluminum wheels.
The SE coupe ($13,915) comes with a sport-tuned suspension, ABS with EBD, and P205/45VR16 tires on five-spoke aluminum wheels. The SE also comes with all Premium Package features, plus fog lights, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, metallic interior accents, express-down for the driver's-side window, seat-back pockets, front door bottle holders, illuminated vanity mirrors, and windshield shade band. A Sun and Sound Package ($1,250) for the SE combines a sunroof with a 220-watt Kenwood AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio.
Accessories include a front strut tower brace, cold air intake, and B&M Racing shifter; silver-faced gauges, aluminum door sills, blue or gray leather-wrapped steering wheel, carbon-fiber B-pillar appliques, LED interior lighting, ground effects, and a light alloy fuel door.
Safety features for all Accents include front seatbelt pre-tensioners along with six airbags: dual frontal, front-seat side-impact and full-coverage side curtain.