2012 Hyundai Accent Styling

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Styling

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.

Hatchback Accents have a smart resemblance to the Ford Fiesta; can anyone make stubby sedans truly look good?
The dynamic sheetmetal has an equal in the Accent's remarkably well-finished interior. Some car companies struggle to hit the right compromise between good execution and cost-effective cabins. The Accent doesn't miss a beat. The dash cap is dimpled in a matte finish that evokes the feel of carbon fiber, and that feel is amplified by big boomerang lines molded into it. The simpler center stack of controls isn't as shapely as the one in the Elantra, but then again, the Accent's fan switch feels more substantial than the one in the bigger sedan. The Accent's controls, too, are much easier to read and use than the angled banks of Chiclets on the Ford Fiesta dash. Some passages of hard, shiny black plastic live on the low reaches of the doors and the center console, but it's remarkable how finely finished this entry-level car feels--especially if you've been inside the outgoing Nissan Versa or a Chevy Aveo--and how dramatically it points out Hyundai's rapid progress.

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