Hyundai By Then and Now
In the last 10 years, I drove a couple of Accents as a rental car when I visited Turkey, my home country. In Turkey, Accent is a popular, reliable and economical car and in service also as police car and taxi cab.
In Canada, the Hyundai Accent has been the top-selling sub-compact in the last ten years. When you go back to earlier times of Pony and Excel and remember those cars, (Accent’s predecessors) you will appreciate the progress in quality.
The current generation’s global launch of Accent took place during last year’s Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS) in February 2017. This launch was the proof of importance of the Canadian market for Hyundai and for Accent in particular.
I drove the new Accent in hatchback body-style for one week in Ontario. I was impressed.
The very first thing I want to tell you. This car brought back to me the pleasure of driving manual. I drove a very limited number of manual cars in the last 15 years, usually sporty Mustangs. The six-speed manual transmission of the Accent is smooth and precise, and you will love it. And without exaggeration, this subcompact offers much more than a basic means of transportation. The quality is palpable at every corner of the car. The GLS model as tested, comes with standard projection headlights with LED running lights, heated outside mirrors with repeaters, cloth seats with red accent trim, Bluetooth hands-free phone system with voice recognition, forward collision warning and heated steering wheel. To give an example, many drivers will appreciate the merits of the heated steering wheels in long and cold winter days.
The quality of materials and the workmanship is not less than impressive. You will easily forget that this is a subcompact car for limited budgets. The seven-inch touchscreen is well designed and visible even under sunlight. Pairing your phone with Bluetooth is super-easy. The seats, with red inserts, lend a sporty look to the cabin.
We, auto bloggers and writers are aware of Hyundai’s passion to build better and better automobiles and to become a major global player. The last two generations of Elantra and Sonata, two crucial models changed the perception significantly and millions of buyers not only in Canada but also globally believe that a Hyundai is now as good as an established Japanese brand and even more attractive in design in some cases. Lastly, the creation of Genesis brand to compete in the luxury segment is a bold statement and a big commitment for Hyundai and Korean automobile industry in general.
The Accent drives like a bigger car, with its firm road holding, steering response, acceleration and breaking. To me, a hatchback is an introduction to SUV’s and CUV’s. and The Accent does its job. It offers full 616 litres of cargo space behind the rear 60:40 split/fold rear seat. The combined passenger and cargo volume are 3,192 litres, and that’s a lot of space in this class.
The 1.6-litre direct injection, inline, four-cylinder engine (130 hp, 119 lb/ft of torque)
mounted transversely driving the front wheels. You have the option of a six-speed manual (as tested) or six-speed automatic transmission.
Manual fuel economy is rated at 8.2/6.3/7.3L/100 km city/highway/combined using regular gas. After a one-week drive of more than 500 kilometers in mixed mode, I reached and average of 7.2 liters, which was well within the catalogued values.
The suspension has MacPherson struts at the front and a twist beam at the rear. Obviously for cost reasons, Hyundai opted out multilink rear suspension.
The GLS is the only trim model with 17-inch alloys.
If you are looking for a sub-compact car which is more than just a basic means of transportation, you will short-list Accent.
Article and Photos by Varol McKars