It was a brand new 2012 Hyundai Accent sedan that arrived for a week-long test drive. It was the GLS trim level and was barely off the transport. In fact, my wife and I were the first journalists to drive this particular press vehicle. The media-press event introducing the 2012 model had not even been held yet. The reward for the week was a combined experience of terrific mileage, great handling, and lots of room.
The Accent by Hyundai has been generally considered to be the “low end” car of the manufacturer. This is the car that could be advertised for “under $10,000” because last year's bottom MSRP was just $9985. Then, all the add-on's and package options bumped the price upwards of $16 or $17 thousand. That's not unusual in the marketing aspect of small cars. The Accent is definitely a small car, classified as a sub-compact and competes with the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, Ford Fiesta, Mazda 2, Kia Rio, Toyota Yaris, and others.
So what makes the 2012 Hyundai Accent sedan special? It is slightly bigger and that provides more room for the front and rear seat passengers. Even the trunk space is surprisingly large. In fact, the new Accent is almost the size of the Hyundai Elantra, which is a terrific vehicle.
The Accent is powered by a direct-injected 1.6 liter engine that offers 138 horsepower. The sedan is fairly light weight and that helps in the mileage. Most of the time, it was a smooth and enjoyable ride. However, I loaded the trunk down with some very heavy bags of dog feed and other items. I was surprised at how much difference the additional weight made. With the heavy load, it sounded as if the engine was struggling to provide enough power to climb even the smallest of elevated roadway. There is an “Eco” mode that is supposed to increase gas mileage and I never took the car out of Eco. Perhaps the engine would not have sounded like it was laboring had I moved the button to “normal.”
Overall, the ride is very good for a sub-compact car and it is definitely fun to drive. The mileage is terrific – 30 city and 40 highway. For the week, I averaged 38 mpg, which included some back roads, over hills and such, that made the engine sound louder than I would have preferred. But that was not a bad trade-off for an almost-40 mpg result.
The seats are comfortably shaped and firm, but I kept trying to adjust the driver's seat so that the bottom cushion would tilt.