Crash-test scores weren't a strong point for the outgoing Accent. However, the 2012 model has much more in the way of standard safety equipment--and it also has Hyundai's strong track record of turning in top safety results with its most recent products, the Elantra, Sonata and Equus.
We're giving the Accent a safety score of 7 based on scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS gives the Accent mostly "good" scores, but calls its side-impact protection only "acceptable." The NHTSA gives it four stars overall and specifically for side impact protection, but notes that the rear side door intruded in its test more than usual.
Six airbags in all are standard on the new Accent including side and side-curtain bags; so are anti-lock brakes and stability control. Active headrests are also included, and they're not offered on the Ford Fiesta or Mazda2.
Visibility is an issue in the Accent hatchback, much more so than in the four-door sedan. Much of the sliver of rear glass is blocked by big D-pillars and the rear seat headrests. The Accent doesn't offer a rearview camera or blind-spot monitors, which would mitigate the issue, but its side rearview mirrors are fairly large.