Base Price (MSRP):$12,445.00 / As Tested (MSRP): $17,555.00
View The 2012 Hyundai Accent Specifications
| Review by: New Car Test Drive
All-new subcompact delivers excellent value.
The 2012 Hyundai Accent comes in four-door sedan five-door and hatchback body styles.
The Accent GLS sedan with 6-speed manual transmission ($12,445) comes with cloth upholstery, manual air conditioning, AM/FM/CD with four speakers, XM Satellite Radio, manually controlled mirrors, tilt steering column, power windows, power locks, steel wheels with 175/70R14 tires. The Comfort Decor package ($1750) upgrades the audio system, mirrors, door trim and air conditioning.
Accent GLS sedan with 6-speed automatic ($15,195) adds to the above automatic air conditioning, upgraded audio with six speakers, USB port and iPod auxiliary jack and adapter, heated power mirrors, Hill-start Assist Control, upgraded door trim. The Premium Decor package ($1300) upgrades the interior and exterior trim and adds premium cloth seats, cruise control, fog lights, 16-inch alloy wheels with 195/50R16 tires, remote keyless entry, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, Bluetooth.
Accent GS five-door hatchback ($14,595) comes with the 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission ($15,795). Accent GS comes with all the premium GLS features, the six-speaker audio system, USB port, upgraded interior lighting, power mirrors, upgraded door trim, visor vanity mirrors. A hatchback, the GS includes a power tailgate and 60-40 split-folding rear seats. The suspension tuning is different and the GS comes with 16-inch alloy wheels with 195/50HR16 tires.
Accent SE five-door with manual transmission ($15,795) or automatic ($16,795) come standard with Bluetooth, cruise control, fog lights, rear spoiler, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, sport-tuned power steering. (All prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include destination charge and may change at any time without notice. Destination charge is $760.)
Safety equipment on the Hyundai Accent includes front, side and roof curtain air bags, and ABS disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and Brake Assist, traction control, electronic stability control.
Hyundai Accent is all-new for 2012. If you see the 2011 and the 2012 versions side by side, they look like the products of two different car companies, they are so different. No longer a jelly-bean-shaped rental transport unit, the 2012 Hyundai Accent has grown up to be a real, modern car.
The 2012 Accent has been given a complete cosmetic makeover, with every panel on the car replaced by newer and flashier sheetmetal, with almost no chrome on the exterior other than the badges. There's a new upper and lower grille design, new hood, new fenders, new lamps, new bumpers and air intakes up front, with body-colored door handles all around, new taillamps, liftgate, and wheels. The front and rear lamp treatments on the new Accent are particularly adventurous and modern.
We like the sedan, especially when compared to the nerdy outgoing car, but we like the hatchback a whole lot better when it comes to pure eye appeal. Hyundai claims a respectable 0.30 coefficient of drag for the sedan version, slightly higher for the five-door with the longer roof.
The 2012 Hyundai Accent interior has been totally redesigned. The 2012 Accent has a far more modern interior than the previous model, with brushed metal accents on the doors, steering wheel and center console, white-on-black instrumentation with red needles, and a multi-function steering wheel. The elements have been redesigned for more room, more storage spaces.
Sporty bucket seats feature superior cushions and bolsters. We found the seats comfortably supportive without being intrusive. Outward vision is excellent. The instrument panel, center stack, vents, switches and controls have all been redone for the 2012 Accent models and it's all easy to look at and operate. The instrument package contains the usual two round gauges with digital readouts and indicators between the deeply tunneled clusters and is bathed in ice blue light at night.
The three-spoke steering wheel has a thick rim and a thickly padded hub. Lower models have urethane-covered steering wheels, upper models have leather-wrapped wheels with convenient switches for the sound system on the left, cruise control system on the right, and telephone on the lower left.
As for storage, the rated cargo capacity of the Hyundai Accent is 21.2 cubic feet behind the folding second-row bench seat, and 47.5 cubic feet with the second seat folded flat. Door and console storage is generous, and the new Accent has a sliding console armrest, unusual in this class.
In the center binnacle, there is a USB port, an AUX port, and the two combine to make a port for an iPod cable, a very clever arrangement. The interior components add up to a livable, easy-to-use whole with much higher quality materials, a minimum of brightwork, plenty of storage, and high functionality.
The new 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine in the Hyundai Accent provides enough power and torque to provide good acceleration with either 6-speed transmission, partly because the car's power-to-weight ratio is the best in the class, according to Hyundai figures. The new engine is smooth and quiet, and runs at about 2200 rpm at 70 mph in sixth gear, and about 4400 rpm at 100 mph. The thrifty, gutty little Gamma engine is surrounded by helpers like electric power steering, low-rolling-resistance tires, lighter elements throughout the engine bay and the rest of the vehicle.
It all adds up to Accent's 30/40/34 mpg EPA mileage rating City/Highway/Combined.
The 6-speed automatic transmission performed quickly and quietly.
The 6-speed manual gearbox is easy to shift and the clutch pedal was light and easy to operate. Some models include an EcoShift indicator between the instrument pods to indicate the proper gear for all driving conditions. We did not care for this and generally find shift lights distracting.
Going down the road, the Accent is far smoother and quieter than we were expecting it to be. A more-rigid chassis, stronger steel, more and better sound insulation and better door seals show in the car's quiet highway behavior.
We found the Accent responds relatively quickly, has good tracking, relatively quick response, and good feel on center. Bump, rut and pothole damping is very good. Roll control on twisty mountain and desert roads was very good, and the car stayed put pretty well in hard corners. It's one of the lightest cars in its class at less than 2500 pounds, so it responds quickly to inputs.
The all-disc anti-lock braking system (ABS) is rare in the subcompact class, and the Accent's stopping performance was excellent.
The all-new Hyundai Accent a much better car than the outgoing model. It's aggressively priced and offers a solid combination of value, utility and fuel economy. It's a complete package for an affordable price.
Jim McCraw filed this NewCarTestDrive.com report from Las Vegas; Mitch McCullough contributed to this report after his test drive of the Accent in New Jersey.