Drive – Hyundai Accent Active Review

27 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Drive – Hyundai Accent Active Review
Hyundai Accent

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Pros

Perky, fuel-efficient engine

Smart, functional and spacious cabin with good storage

5-year warranty

5-star crash rating

Cons

Steering feels vague

Road manners aren’t as good some in class

Not cheap

Ever since its introduction more than two decades ago, Hyundai has relied on attractive pricing to win over buyers more comfortable with Japanese or European rivals.

Even with the arrival of the excellent i30 hatch, the maker pitched itself as cheaper than the Toyotas and Mazdas of the world.

But the cheapest version of the new Accent city car will cost you the same amount of money as a Ford Fiesta and more than the entry-level Mazda2 and Toyota Yaris.

It’s bigger, more powerful and better equipped than most rivals but the pricing is still a gamble, albeit one based on a growing legion of admirers and an enticing five-year warranty that promises peace of mind for first-time new-car buyers.

Price and equipment

The Accent starts at $16,990 for the manual five-door Active model, with a four-speed automatic transmission costing an extra $2000. Prices climb to $20,990 for the more generously equipped Premium model.

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Standard fare on all models includes Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, as well as USB and iPod ports.

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The base-model Active gets 14-inch steel wheels, while the mid-spec Elite buys 16-inch alloys. The most expensive Premium model gets all the goodies, including parking sensors, leatherette seat trim, a rear-view camera, foglights, climate control and push-button start. All cars get a full-size spare wheel under the boot floor.

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The Accent trumps its main rivals with an impressive level of safety equipment available as standard across the range. Six airbags are standard on all models, as is stability control. A clever touch is the seat-belt reminder for all five seats, invaluable for drivers with younger children.

You also get an economy mode, with a digital indicator on the instrument panel telling you the most economical time to change gears.

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Unfortunately, cruise control isn’t available on any model in the range. Hyundai says it is working with head office to address the issue.

Under the bonnet

The Accent’s 1.6-litre petrol engine is a lively unit, with appreciably more power than some rivals in this class. That translates to good response off the mark, while the engine is also happy to rev, albeit with an accompanying level of noise in the cabin.

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The manual’s lack of a sixth gear can create some buzzing when freeway cruising but around town the engine goes about its business with a minimum of fuss.

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The shift action on our manual test car was light and precise, while the clutch pick-up point was easy to get used to.

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Hyundai Accent

Fuel consumption during city driving hovered about 8.5 litres per 100 kilometres, which is average to good for a car of its size. Claimed fuel consumption of 6.0L/100km is good for the segment.

How it drives

The new Accent feels a more assured and solid car than its predecessor, although it still lacks the cornering finesse and confidence of the class-leading cars in this segment.

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The main culprit is the vague steering, which reacts slowly to inputs and feels dead around centre. The suspension copes with rougher road surfaces pretty well, albeit with the odd jolt through the cabin over bigger potholes.

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The car also settles reasonably well after bigger, high-speed bumps, although it can struggle to stay composed over corrugations while cornering.

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It doesn’t corner as well as some small hatches but it is competent and predictable in its responses to driver inputs.

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Noise suppression is acceptable in the cabin, although the tyres and suspension can get noisy on coarse surfaces.

Comfort and practicality

The Accent no longer looks cheap and cheerful inside. Hyundai has made big improvements in both the quality of its cabin materials and the presentation of the cabin itself. Hard plastics still dominate but clever dimpled surface finishes and attractive highlights break up the expanse of black and grey plastic to create a more upmarket feel.

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There are still some short cuts, though. There is no reach adjustment on the steering wheel and the seating position doesn’t have the adjustment of some rivals, which can make it hard to get comfortable. Rear vision is a concern as well, with a letterbox-size rear window and thick rear pillars creating blind spots.

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You do, however, get an above-average amount of rear leg and headroom, as well as a deep boot, with plenty of room for shopping and bulkier items, and decent storage bins.

Hyundai Accent
Hyundai Accent
Hyundai Accent
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