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2012 Hyundai Accent Comfort & Quality

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Though it competes on price in the subcompact arena, the 2012 Hyundai Accent is by all measures a compact car--strikingly close to the Honda Fit in carrying capacity.

The Accent's about 162 inches long as a five-door, and 172 inches long as a four-door, which makes it about 3.5 inches longer than the previous car. The important measurement is in wheelbase: it's almost three inches longer, which makes the cabin considerably more roomy than before.

It's vast inside compared to subcompacts, and the 2012 Hyundai Accent's roofline is drawn so that even six-foot passengers will fit.

Adults won't have any problem finding enough space in the Accent's front seats. Exceptional head room and good leg room are far above par in the class, and the knee space isn't tight, either--the center console isn't hourglass-shaped as it is in the Elantra, but the Accent still gives a smooth surface for legs to rest against. Adjustable seats on the higher trim levels let you crank up the driver-seat height, and still you'll likely have a few inches above your head, when you're behind the wheel. The steering wheel tilts, but there isn't a telescoping feature, but the Accent's overall dimensions make that a non-issue. The seat themselves are a bit thin and flat, but on SE versions they're bolstered at the sides for a bit more lateral support.

The back seat's also fine for adults. The low cushions leave adult knees without much direct contact with the seat, but for medium-sized adults and everyone smaller, the back seat will be great. The tallest passengers will find rear head room a little short. The doors on both versions have been cut fairly widely, so loading in car seats shouldn't be an issue.

On both the sedan and hatchback, the Accent has standard split-folding back seats--not a given in the class--and that helps make the most of the available space. We'd opt for the hatchback, not just because of its extra 0.6 inches of back-seat headroom, but because of the flexibility of the hatchback's 21.2 cubic feet of cargo space, compared to the sedan's 13.7 cubic feet of trunk room. In all, the Accent sedan outspans the Ford Fiesta by 15 cubic feet; the Accent five-door is within a fraction here and there of the spacey Honda Fit.

Inside the Accent, Hyundai provides ample storage for small items. The doors have molded-in bins for water bottles, and so does the center console. The glovebox is huge for the class. The center console on some versions has a sliding lid and enough covered storage for a small purse--and there's a tray in front of the transmission lever right in front of the USB port, the perfect spot for music players and phones.

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