When Hyundai released their redesigned 2011 Sonata, it set the benchmark for content and value in the mid-side sedan class. Later, when they launched their all-new Elantra, the car did exactly the same thing for the compact car class. Now Hyundai’s redesigned their popular Accent subcompact for 2012, and it’s about to set the standard for what a subcompact sedan or five door hatchback can be like. Consider the numbers: the new Accent has best-in-class fuel economy at 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, but it still gives you more horsepower (and more horsepower per liter) than any direct competitors. If interior room is your thing, the Accent gives you 21.2 cubic feet, which is more than any other subcompact competitor. It’s also more than compact competitors, including the Honda Insight, the Toyota Matrix, the Audi A3, the Dodge Caliber, the Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback, the Subaru Impreza 5 door and the Mazda 3 5 door.
The new Accent gets Hyundai’s “fluidic sculpture” styling as well, carrying on the design theme pioneered with the Sonata and Elantra. New in the Accent is Hyundai’s 1.6-liter Gamma engine, good for 138 horsepower and 123 ft lb of torque. The engine gets gasoline direct injection (GDI), variable valve timing on the intake and exhaust side, electronic throttle control and an anti-friction coating to reduce valvetrain component wear. The Gamma engine also gets a timing chain instead of a timing belt, ensuring long-term reliability.
Inside, the Accent will be immediately familiar to anyone who’s driven a Sonata or an Elantra. Hyundai makes some of the nicest non-luxury interiors in the industry, and the pictures seem to indicate that the new Accent will carry on this trend. Don’t expect luxury touches (like heated leather seats or a nav system) available on higher range Hyundai models, but that’s certainly acceptable given the Accent’s bargain price point.
Three trim levels will be offered, starting with the base GLS sedan. This is followed by the mid-range, five-door GS and the high-end, five-door SE. The new Accent should begin arriving in dealer showrooms this summer, and Hyundai promises to keep pricing the same as the outgoing Accent models. Who doesn’t like more features, improved safety and better styling for the same price?