The Accent tries to strike a balance between a low purchase price and Hyundai's reputation for quality and refinement. It succeeds in being functional and well-finished but struggles to match its competitors in important considerations like available features, safety, and general driving satisfaction.

Pricing and Equipment

The Hyundai Accent is available as either a sedan or a five-door hatchback. Either body style is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine which makes 137 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the base SE trim level; an automatic is optional on the SE and included with the Value Edition sedan and Sport hatchback. Fuel economy estimates for an Accent with a manual transmission are 27 miles per gallon city, 37 highway, and 31 combined according to the EPA; automatic transmission estimates subtract one from each of those numbers.

As noted above, two trim levels are offered for each body style. The SE is the base trim for both and is equipped with necessities such as:

  • Air conditioning
  • Power locks, windows, and side mirrors
  • An AM/FM/SiriusXM radio with a CD player, USB port and 6 speakers

The SE sedan has a starting MSRP of $15,580 (all prices listed here include an $835 delivery fee) and the automatic transmission adds an even $1,000; hatchback SEs start at $15,830, with the automatic costing an additional $1,200. The Value Edition sedan adds alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control and a multifunction steering wheel for a total price of $17,285 – the Sport hatchback incorporates these and adds a number of interior upgrades at a sticker price of $18,330.

Performance Pros

Hyundai Accent
  • The driving experience emulates that of a larger car, with a deliberate feel and good noise damping.
  • Fuel economy numbers are very good, especially considering the Accent's powerful-for-its-class engine.

Performance Cons

  • The engine's 137 hp looks good on paper but lacks verve on the road - especially when that motor is bolted to the automatic transmission.
  • The suspension tuning manages to be both uninspiring in daily driving and uncomfortable on rough roads.
  • Crash test scores are average - except for the front small-overlap impact rating, which is low.

Interior Pros

  • The cabin is very roomy given the Accent's petite dimensions – it's technically a compact car instead of a subcompact, according to EPA interior measurements.
  • A dose of well-placed trim helps brighten a straightforward and logically-arranged dashboard.
  • Materials quality is a step or two ahead of some rivals.

Interior Cons

Hyundai Accent
  • Several desirable quality-of-life features common on competitors – rearview camera, sunroof, navigation – are unavailable on the Accent.
  • Seat comfort wears thin on longer drives.
  • Rear head room takes a hit in the sedan.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

It's not easy to design a good-looking small car - and even harder for any design to retain its appeal after a few seasons - but the Accent still holds its visual punch five years after its introduction.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

The Accent may have been competitive when introduced back in 2012, but it has not kept up with class standards – or Hyundai's reputation – for equipment and safety. Useful features like a rearview camera should be available by now.

The Bottom Line

If you're in need of basic everyday wheels and prefer the security of a new-car warranty, the Accent does the job. We do recommend taking a serious look at some of the Accent's better competitors like the Honda Fit or Ford Fiesta – or waiting a few months for details on the 2018 Accent – before committing.