In the compact segment, buyers want a brand-new car with all the tech, safety and reliability of a mid-size, but the efficiency and low entry price of around $15,000.
The Accent is lightly refreshed for 2015 with many more premium features than is the norm for the segment, plus added interior refinement and some top-line trim details that are truly stylish. Available in as the GLS sedan or two levels of five-door, the Accent is one of the most grown-up cars in its class. Real sedan style is even possible – which is not something many would say about the frumpy Ford Fiesta or Chevy Sonic four-doors.
Other prime competitors are the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa and Mazda2.
On paper, the Accent is a clear winner on most tallies — power, equipment and roominess are all either class-best or tied with the best.
But how does the Accent feel in the real world?
Let’s explore this newly-stylish sedan in a full review with the headings Exterior, Interior, Performance, Pricing and Summary.
The Hyundai Accent sedan moves upmarket very convincingly for 2015. The GLS sedan tested here has the two available options specced: the popular equipment pack and the style pack. These upgrade the headlamps to projectors for the low-beams, plus add a flashy set of white DRLs lining the bottom of the lamp. This makes the Accent the only model in its class to have modern and premium DRLs.
It is a great look for the car, honestly, with an ultra-bright daytime setting a slightly dimmed night-time setup.
Adding the two option packages adds $1200 to the price of the car but is well worth it for the 15-inch alloy wheels. These are up a size from the base 14-inch wheel covers. The double five-spoke design is classy, with painted wheel internals plus a polished surface. This is another class exclusive for the Accent — no other car has this cool GTI-style finish on its wheels.
The biggest advantage of the GLS sedan over its competition as well as the Accent 5-Door is that most people the car competes with cars from a class above. It is a cool style, with a pert and clean nose with and imprint of a full-frame grille and smooth intakes around the upper and lower bumper sections.
To the side, the Accent has a nicely pinched surfacing line arcing up from the front axle and into the rear shoulder of the car. The Accent does not look awkward in pure profile, with a handsome roofline and glasshouse that is mostly functional, but also best-in-class for sedan C-pillar treatment.
The design in the rear angles is remarkably handsome as well. Where the Chevy Sonic and Ford Fiesta have tiny and tall trunks looking frumpy from all sides, the Accent has a big-car look in back. There is a shade of BMW in the integrated trunk edge forming a modest spoiler.
Simple flush-mounted lights are basic bulb units, but there is some Euro cool in the lower reflectors in the bumper.
Inside the Accent, the popular equipment and style packs are also pretty critical.
These upgrade the cloth to a more premium material, plus add gloss black inserts around the gear-level and center stack.
The steering wheel is also a highlight – with a nice leather wrap that is unusual at this price, plus some nice sculpting for the metallic spokes. Controls for cruise, bluetooth phone calls and media are all on the wheel, which is fully adjustable.
The dashboard itself is wrapped in a rubberized and slightly textured material that feels new and pretty touchable, as does the media console with its snicky buttons.
The big impression you have inside is that the ride and refinement feel Corolla-esque. The Accent GLS is very refined on the move, with almost no engine harshness or wind noise. The seats have good comfort but do not adjust low enough for our preference.
The main gripe we have with all small cars is a bit of an issue with the Accent as well: the center armrest is too small to get comfortable on, and the seats themselves are very close to one another. You can bump elbows if both people have broad shoulders.
Even so, it is a comfortable place to be. An ActiveEco setting via dashboard button increases fuel economy fairly dramatically, making the 27/38-mpg stats very do-able in real driving.