Written by: Adil Arif
Photography by: Adil Arif
Many years ago, anyone in the market for a sub-compact car was either on an extremely tight budget or greeted by the famous “L” on the forehead. The segment was an afterthought by manufacturers and a last resort for consumers. It was far from anything interesting and demand was dead in the water. But in more recent years, there has been resurgence. Gas prices are at an all time high, traffic levels are increasing, and as a result demand is up and the segment is now growing faster than any other category. Capitalizing on this, automakers quickly revamped their attitude about the small car and stepped up to the plate to give it a proper go. Build quality, design, value and features are so advanced now that it’s hard to imagine what this segment used to be – don’t call it a comeback though.
The Hyundai Accent is the perfect if not the best example of this. Now in its fourth generation, the car marks a substantial improvement over earlier generations. Once ridiculed for being cheap, dull and ugly, it’s now a solid contender. Its roomy interior, generous feature list and updated athletic styling make it an enticing buy.
The car shares Hyundai’s “Fluidic Sculpture” design theme with the higher-priced Sonata and Elantra models. Our tester also came with the Sport Appearance package, which consisted of a sunroof, fog lights and 16-inch alloy wheels. Quite frankly, aside from the Honda Fit I personally think this looks the best in the segment. Also new for 2015 is the “Sunflower Yellow” paint option as shown in the photographs. At first, the fluorescent shade appears too garish and hard on the eyes, but it did grow on me throughout its weeklong residence in my garage.
Inside you’ll find the Accent to be practical and utilitarian. There are no touch screens in here, no GPS and no customizable display. The dash doesn’t have a whole lot going on, just a few knobs to control the stereo, heat and A/C. There is no option for upholstery other than cloth however you do have the option for heated seats. At first glance the interior looks dated but our tester had everything (that we now take for granted) - Bluetooth, XM satellite radio, a punchy stereo, which we enjoyed, and even voice control. All these features can be dialed in with the push of a button on the steering wheel. The spacious rear also offers enough head and leg room to seat six-foot passengers comfortably, with overall cabin space feeling much larger than what the car actually is. Cargo capacity is a bit hampered though only having 600 litres available with the 60/40 split seats folded down. Another downer is the inability to have a back-up camera as the low roofline can make rear-ward visibility challenging at times.
You’re left with only one engine to choose from, a 1.6-litre direct injection four-cylinder that produces 137 horsepower and 123 lb-ft of torque. That may not sound like much but compared to the competition, the not so little Accent runs with the pack. It responds eagerly and engine response is sharp and lively, making passes on the highway easy and quite enjoyable. Although the output is more than adequate and the engine is smooth, it can get quite noisy when you’re hard on the throttle. Droning can also be heard at highway cruising speeds. You do have the option of a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic with sequential sport shift, the latter being fitted to our tester and unless you have an uncontrollable twitch in your left foot, the automatic is the better choice. Gear changes are exceptionally smooth, hardly noticeable, and geared for acceleration. The suspension is soft and soaks up bumps quite nicely, and the sway bar up front and torsion beam in the rear manages to keep body-roll respectable.
With mixed city and highway driving I averaged 7.8L/100km, which is probably the most surprising statistic of this review. Truthfully I expected better, as even with a heavy foot I was still able to achieve 6.8L/100km with the Honda Fit.
The 2015 Hyundai Accent starts at just $13,599 and our fully optioned tester rang in at a respectable $18,849. That’s roughly $3000 to $6000 cheaper than a similarly optioned out Chevy Sonic or Honda Fit. The offer is a bargain and it still has Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Bluetooth, XM satellite radio, heated seats, heated mirrors and many other plushy features that are now expected in a vehicle. The only option you can’t have as I mentioned earlier is a back up camera, touch screen display or GPS navigation, all of which can be had on the Honda Fit and Fiat 500.
Overall the 2015 Hyundai Accent is a very capable car and continued to impress me every time I sat behind the wheel. It’s easy to drive, packs enough power for daily driving and has updated styling that is with the times. With today’s smart phones you may find it worthwhile to save the extra few thousand and just use GPS navigation off your phone. With data plans covering Canada and United States, it doesn’t seem too much of a necessity being fitted to the car. But we don’t need to convince you on that, test drive one and see for yourself. You’ll be pleasantly surprised and may find the latter solution a reasonable compromise. I highly recommend giving the Accent a long look while shopping for your next subcompact car.
型号 Model: 2015 Hyundai Accent SE Auto
顏色 Paint Type: Sunflower Yellow
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $18,849
試車售價 Price as Tested: $18,849
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,570
長闊 Length/Width (mm): 4,115 / 1,700
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,195
引擎 Engine: 1.6L GDI DOHC
最大馬力 Horsepower: 138 hp @ 6,300 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 123 lb-ft @ 4,850 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, FWD
煞制-前 Brakes-Front: 4-wheel disc
煞制-後 Brakes-Rear: 4-wheel disc
油耗 Fuel Consumption (City/Highway/Combined)- L/100 km: 8.9 / 6.3 / 7.7
輪胎尺碼 Tires: P195/50HR16