Hyundai's turned its styling signatures on a dime. First came the Genesis, then the Sonata and Elantra--each one more daring and imaginative than the last. The Accent knits together the same themes you'll find on those cars deftly, especially in its snappy hatchback shape.
It's tough to draw good-looking four-door compacts, but the Accent nearly succeeds at being truly handsome. The stubby trunk cuts short the swoopy "fluidic sculpture" design cues a bit too soon, but the trapezoidal frame around the grille and the shoulder lines carved and honed into the Accent's flanks accumulate into an authentic Hyundai design thesis--something the prior car's marshmallowy, benign shape just couldn't muster. It gets better, even, with the five-door Accent, which draws out that shoulder line all the way to its tightly pinched hatchback. The profile does read "Fiesta" from a distance, but the Accent's longer body lets the details play out better to their flowing, graceful conclusion. The distinctive upthrusts of the taillamps are particularly strong details, wrapping around the hatchback and summing up the styling like punctuation.