2010 Hyundai Accent GS: Accent is on economy
By Mike Blake, Carlisle Events
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Available as a 3-door hatchback or a 4-door sedan, the economical, fuel-efficient Hyundai Accent began life as the X3, the original name for the Accent, the successor to the Excel in Hyundai’s 1995 line-up. In France, the vehicle was known as the Hyundai Pony and in South Korea, the car has been called the Verna.
Now in its third generation and presented in four trims -- Blue, SE, GS and GLS -- the Accent is aggressively and affordably priced. The base Accent Blue is base stickered at $9,970; the SE and GS 3-door 1.6-liter four-speed automatic (my test vehicle was the GS) at $12,995 and the GLS 4-door five-Speed manual transmission at $13,645.
To better illustrate the base price … at under $10,000 (though you would NEVER drive one off the lot for under $10K as you add destination charges the occasional option or two), Accent is one of only two new 2010 cars we found at the time this was written, to sell in America at that level – Nissan Versa, at $9900 is the other. Even the Smart Car bases for $11,990 and we found only a dozen cars base priced under $15,000 when I tested the Accent.
With the Accent’s accent on economy, my test vehicle was the 3-door hatchback Accent GS with an automatic transmission. Drive-off on this vehicle, packaged with all items included and no options, was $13,670. Most often, Hyundai markets its cars packaged properly and completely, with no options necessary, thus no inflated sticker with the exception of destination charges and sales tax. Hyundai aims to present a high-value approach on standard equipment and standard offerings include automatic transmission, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, map lights, rear wiper, and body-color mirrors and door handles
Measuring a compact 168.5 inches long, 66.7 inches wide and 57.9 inches high on a 98.4-inch wheelbase and weighing in at 2403 lbs., Accent fits the economy compact niche in size and fuel efficiency, with an EPA estimate of 27mpg in city driving and 36 on the highway – though some models are rates at 24/33.
From a styling perspective, Hyundai’s hatchback exhibits European design cues and a sportwagon demeanor. You get some curves and attractive lines that exceed the perception of what a sub-$10,000 car looks like.
What generally makes a sub-$10K car attractive is its economy, and Accent attacks economy with a clean and efficient engine. Hyundai outfits its compact with a 1.6-liter DOHC in-line four cylinder engine that features four valves per cylinder with CVVT (Continuously Variable Valve Timing). The DOHC and CVVT combination gives the engine a very broad powerband, coupled with high fuel efficiency and low emissions. Producing 110hp and 106 lbs.-ft. of torque, the 1.6-liter plant can accelerate the light vehicle when needed, to pass effectively on the highway if the driver strategizes a bit and plans his or her moves. Obviously, with a small engine, a burst of raw power is not going to happen, but acceleration is slow and steady with little hesitation. During speed tests, I was able to coax my test Accent from zero to 60mph in 9.6 seconds en route to a 17.4-second quarter mile.
On the highway, the front-wheel drive Accent’s steering was responsive, cornering was decent with just a bit of top wobble and some oversteer, but the ride was confident for its class.
Inside, the Accent rides larger than one would expect. Interior measurements show a more comfortable environment than first-look perceptions. With 39.6 inches of front headroom and 37.8 inches in the rear, 42.8 inches of front leg room and 34.3 inches in row two, and 53.5 inches of front shoulder room with 53.1 in the rear seats, Accent’s design pays comfort dividends inside, with more total interior volume than either the Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic. Recent figures show that Accent offers class-leading legroom and rear passengers enjoy a niche-topping amount of shoulder room.
Accent’s interior finish, attention to detail and attractive two-tone interior color scheme pick up the once Spartan compact class. Analog instrumentation keeps the driver informed, while power steering, and a six-way adjustable driver’s seat with fold-down armrest ensure long-haul comfort. Interior features include a B&M Racing® sport shifter and XM Satellite Radio® with three months of free service.
The cabin also includes standard rear seat pass through, cloth seats on the front buckets, intermittent wipers, and convenient storage areas placed throughout the interior, including the front center console, driver storage tray and a rear storage tray. The roof-mounted micro antenna is aerodynamic, flexible and improves signal strength.
Safety far exceeds small car standards as government (NHTSA) crash tests shows Accent earned a perfect 5-star rating in frontal crash tests for driver and passenger, 4 of 5 in side crash tests for front seats and 3 stars in rear seats.
State-of-the-art safety technologies include dual front airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags and roof-mounted side-curtain airbags covering both rows of seating. All Accents come equipped with front seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters.
For less than $10,000 (drive-off of $13,670) Hyundai has put the econocar accent on a comfort and style.
Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.
Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.
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