2010 Hyundai Accent Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
November 3, 2009

If frugal simplicity and penny-pinching is what you want, the 2010 Hyundai Accent has it.

The editors at TheCarConnection.com have driven both the hatchback and sedan versions of the Hyundai Accent, and share their expert opinions and observations here in this Bottom Line. And to help give you the most information possible on the 2010 Hyundai Accent, we've gathered a survey of comments from other reviewers.

The Accent remains the smallest and most affordable model in Hyundai's U.S. lineup. It's offered as either a two-door hatchback or four-door sedan. For the second consecutive year, the Accent is the cheapest passenger car in the United States, with a base price of just $9,970 not including destination.

Visually, the Accent isn't very remarkable. While the sedan model is quite short and stubby from the outside, it's better styled on the inside, with Hyundai's expected oval themes. The three-door hatchback is the clear winner from the outside, with a cohesive shape that looks more sophisticated from a distance.

On either model, there's a 110-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood, driving the front wheels. The Accent does just fine in city driving with either the manual or automatic, but at highway speeds, passing involves some careful calculation. But with fuel economy ratings as good as 27 mpg city, 36 highway (31 combined), the 2010 Hyundai Accent makes up for that lack of performance with low day-to-day running costs. Fuel economy picks up across the model line this year due to a range of improvements to the engine, a smart alternator, low-rolling-resistance tires, and aerodynamic updates; the new Accent Blue also includes taller gear ratios in a very frugal base model.

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While you shouldn't expect a lot of driving fun from the 2010 Hyundai Accent, it's one of the nimbler-feeling small cars, thanks to a well-tuned suspension. SE versions seem a bit sportier overall. Brakes feel better than what you might expect for a vehicle of this price, but other tactile elements aren't quite there; the manual shift linkage is imprecise, ride quality deteriorates with a full load, and engine noise can be a problem on the highway.

Hyundai makes great use of limited space of the 2010 Accent. The Accent packs more interior room into its stubby 159.3-inch overall length than the much larger Chevrolet Cobalt or Ford Focus coupe models. There's actually enough legroom and headroom for the typical adult male in the backseat of the sedan, and getting in and out of the hatch's backseat is a little easier than in other two-doors. Front seats are a little skimpy, though, with short cushions and limited support. Beware that the steering wheel doesn't tilt on any Accent trim, and base Blue models come with a fixed steering wheel. The Hyundai Accent's interior looks good and feels durable, especially from the driver's seat, though there's evidence of cost-cutting with respect to cubbies, trim, and the cargo area. One Accent that TheCarConnection.com tested had some particularly ill-fitting trim.

Safety is especially critical in a lightweight small car, and here the news isn't particularly good—in fact, it might be fair to say the Accent is near the bottom of its class. From the IIHS, frontal crash protection is rated "acceptable," while side impact protection is deemed "poor." Federal results are also unimpressive, at three and four stars for side impact. All Accents come standard with front, side, and curtain airbags. Anti-lock brakes are now offered on all but the base Blue model, but electronic stability control isn't available.

The 2010 Accent comes with quite a range of equipment; the three-door hatchback is offered in Blue, GS, and SE trims, while the sedan is available in a single GLS model. The base Blue model, which starts at less than $10,000, can now be optioned with air conditioning. It includes taller transmission ratios for better fuel economy, to appeal to the most miserly drivers, but is not otherwise that well equipped—there's no audio system, air conditioning, or power accessories. The GS hatch gets tilt steering and air conditioning, while the top SE model is the way to go for those who want a truly well-equipped car; it includes a sunroof, sport-tuned suspension, an upgraded six-speaker sound system with iPod and USB inputs, steering-wheel audio controls, power accessories, keyless entry, 16-inch alloy wheels, and fog lamps. The GLS sedan includes many of those features.

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2010 Hyundai Accent

Styling

The 2010 Hyundai Accent is a little homely, yet inoffensive; style-minded buyers will probably like the hatchback a bit more.

Visually, the Accent isn't very remarkable. While the sedan model is quite short and stubby from the outside, the three-door hatchback is the clear winner from the exterior, with a more cohesive shape that looks more sophisticated from a distance.

Cars.com notes the "Accent's crisp modern lines, distinctive halogen headlights, and larger wheels and tires," while in comparison to other competing vehicles, MyRide.com calls the Hyundai Accent "more buttoned-down conservative than the more youthful Kia Rio." Kelley Blue Book says at one point that styling is "sporty and expressive," but they ultimately conclude that the "sedan is pretty plain vanilla." Cars.com adds that “GS and SE hatchbacks sport a fairly typical wedge shape, but with telltale Hyundai curves.”

If it makes any difference, you'll probably give yourself away driving a base Blue versus, say, the pricier SE. "The base GS hatchback has black side mirrors and door handles; those parts are body-colored on the SE hatchback and GLS sedan," states Cars.com.

Few reviewers have anything to say about the interior styling of the 2010 Hyundai Accent, but TheCarConnection.com notes that the Accent is more appealing on the inside than from the outside, with Hyundai's expected oval themes and simple, straightforward controls and displays.

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2010 Hyundai Accent

Performance

Depending on how and where you're driving the 2010 Hyundai Accent, you might wish for a more horsepower, but overall it performs remarkably well for such a frugal appliance.  

On either model, there's a 110-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels. The Accent does just fine in city driving with either the manual or automatic, but at highway speeds, passing involves some careful calculation.

Reviewers are generally positive about the 2010 Hyundai Accent's performance, but some sources mention a need for a little more power. A reviewer at the Washington Post reports "struggling along in second gear" while climbing a steep hill. Car and Driver, however, says "these ponies are offered without complaint" and “encourage surprisingly spirited driving.”

The 2010 Hyundai Accent is offered with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. TheCarConnection.com isn't impressed with either, though the engine functions better with the automatic than small cars usually do. Edmunds isn't moved by the automatic, claiming "lackluster acceleration."

Car and Driver is delighted with the way the Accent handles; despite reporting that it's quite softly sprung, the reviewer calls the hatchback "a little globular cannonball that doesn’t mind being tossed around." MyRide.com notes that the "sedan's ride is on the soft side." Other reviewers mention this as well.

With fuel economy ratings as good as 27 mpg city, 36 highway (31 combined), the 2010 Hyundai Accent makes up for any lack of performance with low day-to-day running costs. Fuel economy gets better across the model line this year due to a range of improvements to the engine, a smart alternator, low-rolling-resistance tires, and aerodynamic improvements.

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2010 Hyundai Accent

Comfort & Quality

The 2010 Hyundai Accent is no standout here, but it has what sensible small-car shoppers want: a roomy interior, fitted in reasonably nice materials.

While the 2010 Hyundai Accent isn't a great-looking or strong-performing car, it does a bit better when it comes to accommodating passengers and cargo in reasonable comfort. Budget-minded shoppers could fare a lot worse. The Accent packs more interior room into its stubby 159.3-inch overall length than the much larger Chevrolet Cobalt or Ford Focus coupe models, and the Accent actually has enough rear headroom and legroom for average-size adults.

Cars.com contends that "up to five occupants can fit inside the Accent.” For those intent on keeping grown-up passengers comfortable too, Edmunds reminds drivers "that the Versa and Yaris hatchbacks offer more rear-seat legroom," although TheCarConnection.com notes that from a recent experience with the Yaris hatchback, the Toyota's higher number doesn't translate to more real-world space.

Kelley Blue Book feels the Hyundai Accent's "interior materials are consistent with its price.” Yet Car and Driver says, with the Accent, Hyundai is "successfully emulating the quality of cars a couple classes up the price ladder." ConsumerGuide notes that the two-door’s "sloping roofline limits headroom," but this is to be expected in most hatchbacks.

Plenty of reviewers mention functionality and user-friendliness when testing out the Accent interior. MyRide.com likes the "large, well-positioned climate control knobs" and the "eight-way adjustable" driver's seat. Kelley Blue Book offers a few complaints, calling attention to a "too-stiff temperature dial" and the ashtray that looks like "an odd removable cup."

While it's no luxury car, the Hyundai Accent's interior looks good and feels durable. "Fit and finish are as good as anything offered by Hyundai's Japanese rivals," says the Washington Post. The quietness of the Hyundai Accent is a concern for a couple reviewers, though. ConsumerGuide mentions that "wind noise is modest for the class, but coarse-surface tire thrum is fairly high."

Car and Driver asserts that the Accent is pleasant beyond its price, "successfully emulating the quality of cars a couple classes up the price ladder."

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2010 Hyundai Accent

Safety

The 2010 Hyundai Accent might offer a reasonably complete set of safety features, but lackluster crash-test scores are a cause for concern.

Safety is especially critical in a lightweight small car, and here the news isn't particularly good—in fact, it might be fair to say the Accent is near the bottom of its class.

From the IIHS, frontal crash protection is rated "acceptable," while side impact protection is deemed "poor." Federal results are also unimpressive, at three and four stars for side impact. All Accents come standard with front, side, and curtain airbags. Hyundai still skimps on anti-lock brakes; they're not even offered on the base Blue. Electronic stability control isn't available.

Still, ConsumerGuide notes that the Hyundai Accent "one-ups most subcompact rivals" in safety features—a statement that TheCarConnection.com's editors would dispute.

According to Cars.com, Hyundai includes "adjustable head restraints," as well as "front seat belt pretensioners and load limiters," yet the Accent doesn't fare well in the seat-based IIHS rear-impact test, with an overall score of "poor."

"Visibility is very good, with the short hood allowing a panoramic view of what's ahead," notes Edmunds about the openness of the design.

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2010 Hyundai Accent

Features

The 2010 Hyundai Accent isn't as strong a value as its larger Elantra and Sonata siblings, but if you're willing to forgo basics like air conditioning, you could have a new car for not much more than $10,000.

The 2010 Accent comes with quite a range of equipment; the three-door hatchback is offered in Blue, GS, and SE trims, while the sedan is available in a single GLS model. On the base Blue, you won't find much standard. There's no air conditioning and no power accessories, and most popular features are only available on the other trims. Outfitted with fog lights, a CD player, XM Satellite Radio, and tire pressure monitors, a 2009 Hyundai Accent SE stickers in the $15,000 range.

The base Blue model, which starts at less than $10,000, can now be optioned with air conditioning. It includes taller transmission ratios for better fuel economy to appeal to the most miserly drivers, but otherwise comes sparsely equipped—there's no audio system, air conditioning, or power accessories. The GS hatch gets tilt steering and air conditioning, while the top SE model is the way to go for those who want a truly well-stocked car; it includes a sunroof, a sport-tuned suspension, an upgraded six-speaker sound system with iPod and USB inputs, steering-wheel audio controls, power accessories, keyless entry, 16-inch alloy wheels, and fog lamps.

The GLS sedan includes many of those features. Cars.com clarifies, "The GLS sedan has optional 15-inch alloy wheels, while the SE hatchback has 16-inch alloys and a sport-tuned suspension."

For 2010, all SE models now include what was previously considered the Premium Package—bringing cruise control and a sunroof.

Cars.com isn't so convinced about the Accent's value for money. The reviewer emphasizes that the base Accent doesn't include much, while their test SE model, coming in at $15,790, costs more than a base Honda Fit, which includes nearly all the same equipment.

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April 10, 2015
For 2010 Hyundai Accent

Great gas milage and a great city car.

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I love the ten year 100K warranty. It's a good basic car and with ALL the extra stuff it's a keeper.
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