2012 Hyundai Accent — The accent is on value

By Bruce Caldwell

The Hyundai Accent was redesigned for 2012. It has more power, a new look, a 2.8-inch longer wheelbase, a new four-door hatchback body style (the two-door hatchback was dropped), and it costs more, but it’s still a tremendous value. The Accent is tight and well built. It doesn’t come across as a cheap car, although close inspection will reveal cost saving measures.

Walkaround: The Hyundai Accent is a good-looking car. Our SE tester had handsome 16-inch wheels, 4-wheel disc brakes, and excellent fit/finish. It didn’t look at all cheap or tinny.
Interior: Front seat legroom is stretch-out spacious. We’re over six-feet tall, but had to move the seat up to properly operate the clutch. Tall passengers will fit in the back seat without compromising front seat space. The seats are comfortable and supportive. Cargo capacity/flexibility is good, although the split rear seats are noticeably higher than the trunk floor.
Under The Hood: The sole engine is the 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that’s rated at 138 horsepower with 123 lb-ft or torque. Two six-speed transmissions are offered — an automatic and a manual. We tested the efficient 6-speed manual, which was smooth and easy to operate. Both transmissions are EPA rated at 30/40-mpg city/highway. Our combined driving results were in the lower thirties; so 40-mpg could take some real balloon foot driving techniques.
Behind The Wheel: We drove the top-of-the-line SE model with the manual transmission. That saved a thousand dollars and added a sporty element to the car. We enjoyed the manual transmission, but the automatic would be better in congested traffic.
Whines: The cargo area carpet was thin and cheap. The hatchback lift-over was on the high side.
Bottom Line: The Hyundai Accent isn’t the bargain basement giveaway that it once was, but its price creep has been offset by substantial improvements. Compromises are necessary to make a mid-teens price point, but the Accent makes those cuts as painless as possible. The 2012 Hyundai Accent is an outstanding value and a very nice car.