With its new design for 2006, the Hyundai Accent is a formidable player in the compact class. It’s bigger, it has more power and it has additional safety features than its predecessor. Add Hyundai’s industry-leading warranty and the new Accent is hard to beat as an entry level vehicle that when equipped with every available option costs less than $15,000.
My weekly driver was the GLS 4-door model with a four-speed automatic transmission. The Accent is also available with a five-speed manual transmission, and that’s good news for RVers since Hyundai has approved its flat-towing capabilities
Both automatic and manual transmission Accents are equipped with 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder engines that have been improved by six horsepower in 2006 to 110 horsepower.
That’s still a small engine, and it provides the Accent’s only major drawback. The vehicle has sub-par acceleration and it struggles on ascents, particularly when the air-conditioning is engaged.
Yet, the Accent has a lot to offer. Like any reasonable economy car, it’s economical. I drove the Accent about 250 miles and the gas tank was still more than half full.
For its category, the Accent is nicely styled, inside and out. The exterior color (sand beige) has a nice tone, appropriate for a more expensive vehicle. The two-tone (black and tan) inside nicely complements the body color.
The Accent is among the shorter compacts on the market. It’s wheelbase is 98.4 inches and its overall length is 168.5 inches. But the interior is surprisingly spacious. There’s plenty of front seat head and leg room, the seats are comfortable and car has good visibility. Back-seat passengers aren’t as fortunate, but the small rear-seat area is about what’s expected in the compact class.
The dashboard and controls are nice for the category with simple, straightforward styling and logical use. The interior cloth upholstery has a classy look and appears well constructed. Ride quality is solid and the Accent feels secure on the open road and while cornering, despite its lack of power.
Again, for its category, the Accent has a good standard features list: antilock brakes, height-adjustable front seats, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, tachometer and digital clock, illuminated vanity mirrors, rear window defroster, front and rear cupholders and AM/FM/CD with six speakers.
Air-conditioning is included in the Premium Sport Package ($1,500) along with power windows, door locks and heated mirrors, keyless entry with alarm and 15-inch alloy wheels. Carpeted floor mats add another $65, but the tally is still under $15,000. That puts Accent is a rare category — an economy car without a lot of economy car shortcomings.
Safety Features — Dual front, front side and side curtain airbags.
Fuel Mileage (estimates) — 28 mpg (city), 36 mpg (highway).
Warranty — Bumper to bumper, 5 years/60,000 miles; Powertrain 10 years/100,000 miles; Corrosion, 7 years/unlimited miles; Roadside assistance — 5 years/unlimited miles.
Base Price — $13,305.00.