Chevrolet Sonic vs. Hyundai Accent

By

Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


, Automotive Editor - January 27, 2015

Budget hawks take note: You can still get a perfectly pleasant five-passenger automobile for half the price of the average new vehicle. The proof is on the window of every new Chevrolet Sonic and Hyundai Accent.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Sonic & Accent >>

Which is the more desirable example of low-cost motoring in our view?

The Case for Sonic

Available as a sedan or hatchback, the Sonic feels rather substantial for this class and carries thoughtful standard features like Bluetooth and automatic headlamps. On the road, the Chevy behaves like a grown-up car, poised and confident through all phases of operation. RS models feature a sport-tuned suspension and upgraded brakes for an unexpected level of driving refinement.

The standard 1.8-liter four-cylinder produces 138 horsepower and gets up to 30 mpg in combined city and highway driving. The available 1.4-liter turbo makes the same horsepower, but delivers a few more mpg along with extra torque for snappy acceleration. So equipped, the Sonic scoots to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds, making it the quickest subcompact you can buy.

The Case for Accent

The Accent enjoys a rather substantial look and feel for a subcompact thanks to exterior styling and a dashboard design cribbed from larger Hyundai models. Available as a four-door sedan or hatchback, the Hyundai delivers composed performance and reasonable build quality throughout. Inside, the Accent feels more like a compact with decent room for four -- five in a pinch -- and commendable cargo capacity.

The direct-injected 1.6-liter four-cylinder produces 138 horsepower and is rated at 32 mpg in combined driving with the standard manual transmission. While not as zippy as the Sonic, the Accent is a tick faster than your average subcompact.

The Best of Both

The Accent scores like mad in the value department, delivering the space and features of some compacts while holding firm to its subcompact price. The Sonic is one of those cars you must drive to appreciate, not because it's going to blow you away, but because its performance is so endearing for this class.

Our Verdict: Chevrolet Sonic

The Chevy shines as an economy car that performs with distinction.

Take a closer look at the Chevrolet Sonic >>

Take a closer look at the Hyundai Accent >>

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


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