2017 Hyundai Accent

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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
June 16, 2017

Buying tip

The Accent is bargain-priced, but if you're looking for features such as leather and a rearview camera, they're not available.

features & specs

SE Hatchback Automatic
SE Hatchback Manual
SE Sedan Automatic
MPG
26 city / 36 hwy
MPG
27 city / 37 hwy
MPG
26 city / 36 hwy
MSRP
$16,195
MSRP
$14,995
MSRP
$15,745

The 2017 Hyundai Accent has a bargain pricetag and lots of space, but its safety scores aren't competitive.

The Hyundai Accent occupies the bottom slot in the Korean automaker's universe. It's a sedan, it's a hatchback, and it's their lowest-priced car.

New for the 2012 model year, the Accent is now one of its less competitive offerings. It's more spacious than almost everything at its price, and it's in the EPA's good graces with its fuel economy ratings.

However, the Accent is one of the lowest-rated vehicles for safety, and it's lacking in some of the features buyers now expect in any new vehicle, whether in SE or Sport trim. We give it a 4.7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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Hyundai Accent styling and performance

The Accent still has a handsome shape in its corner. We're more fond of the hatchback's upswept rear end; the sedan looks like most very small sedans, like it's putting too much into too small a shape. The Accent's interior is simply and effectively styled, with nothing out of the ordinary and with streamlined controls and low-gloss plastics.

The Accent accelerates, steers, and handles in an adequate, predictable way. Performance is lackluster with the automatic, but the Accent's direct-injection 1.6-liter inline-4 is very fuel-efficient, and it mates well with the smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic that includes a Sport mode and manual control. The manual gearbox, which has a light clutch, is also a good choice, allowing better acceleration performance, better economy and more enjoyable driving. Handling isn't particularly notable, but the Accent can ride roughly, just like rivals with similarly short wheelbases.

Fuel economy ratings reach 31 mpg combined for manual-shift Accents.

Accent comfort, safety, and features

While the Honda Fit might put up better interior-room numbers, the Hyundai has a very comfortable, spacious interior for passengers, one of the best in its class. Even tall passengers will be able to get in and out easily and have enough headroom and legroom in the front seats. Back-seat space is also respectable for a car this size, and there's plenty of room for smaller items, with bins and trays for phones, bottles, and coins. With the seatbacks up, you get a little more cargo room in the Accent sedan, although you lose some of the hatch's versatility and superior style.

Even compared to other small cars of its kind, the Accent does not rate very well with the NHTSA or the IIHS. It scores four stars with the federal government, although there are extra notes about the performance in side crashes. In IIHS testing, the Accent receives a score of Poor on the agency's new small frontal overlap test.

The Accent comes in two trim levels: the standard SE sedan and hatchback and the hatch-only Accent Sport. All come with a reasonable level of standard equipment, but don't look for leather, navigation or even a sunroof on the options list. All have power features and air conditioning, while some versions  get a tilt/telescoping wheel, cruise control, Bluetooth, and satellite radio. A rearview camera isn't even an option.

The Accent is due for replacement in the 2018 model year.

6

2017 Hyundai Accent

Styling

The Accent has a distinctive look that owes much to the bigger Elantra.

The Accent is one of the more attractive vehicles in its class. With rivals like the Versa and Fit, it's not a particularly high hurdle, but the Hyundai avoids the clunky pitfalls of those designs.

We give it a 6 out of 10, with an extra point for its engaging exterior style. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Accent was new in 2012, and received a new grille and LED running lamps in the 2015 model year. The trapezoidal frame around the grille and the shoulder lines running gracefully back are true to other Hyundai designs. With the hatchback, that shoulder line is drawn all the way out across the longer roofline to its tightly pinched hatch. The hatchback's vertical taillights wrap around the D-pillars.

It's still a pert look, with interesting cutlines and the typical split between body styles: small hatches look better than small sedans, with their stubby little trunks and their tall rooflines.

Inside, a matte-finished dash cap evokes the appearance of carbon fiber, with big boomerang lines molded into it. Overall, there are few criticisms of the interior, save for the stretches of hard, shiny black plastic that live on the lower regions of the doors and the center console. Considering the price point, it's remarkable how finely finished this entry-level car feels.

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4

2017 Hyundai Accent

Performance

The Accent doesn't perform briskly like some potent rivals.

With the Accent, Hyundai has decided that utterly predictable acceleration and handling are the key to economy-car success. It's a no-nonsense approach that works fine in this price class, though even smaller cars like the Fiesta and Fiat 500 find a way to drive with delight rather than determination.

We give the Accent a 4 out of 10 for performance, deducting a point for its occasionally rough ride. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Accent's 1.6-liter inline-4 churns out 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. It builds speed deliberately, taking about 10 seconds to hit 60 mph. Revving the engine above 3,500 rpm draws as much power out as quickly as possible—and thankfully, the Accent sounds relatively smooth at those engine speeds, though there is some boominess at higher speeds, particularly with the hatchback. It gets taxed when asked to zip up hills or to carry more than a couple of passengers, though.

It also mates well with the standard 6-speed manual gearbox, though the 6-speed automatic works fine, too. It includes a Sport mode and manual control.

The Accent feels more graceful, if not edgy, on winding roads. The steering is tuned to mimic the strong-centered heft of a large sedan. It's fine, but it also doesn't make the Accent feel as lively as it could. We like the somewhat meatier feel of the electric power steering in Sport versions.

The suspension features twin-tube shocks and a stabilizer bar for the front struts, while the rear uses a torsion beam. Ride quality can be jarring over potholes and bouncy on frost-heaved highways, though that is true of any short-wheelbase vehicle.

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4

2017 Hyundai Accent

Comfort & Quality

The Accent has ample interior room, with better flexibility in hatchback versions.

Hyundai has carved out impressive interior space inside the Accent. It's comfortable and roomy for four adults, though it lacks the Honda Fit's clever and useful folding rear seat.

We give it an 4 out of 10, deducting a point for front seat comfort. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

At nearly 162 inches long in five-door form and 172 inches long in its sedan body style, the Accent is significantly more roomy than its predecessor. It's technically a compact by federal guidelines, and nets out with more passenger and cargo space than most other cars in this class.

The front seats are height-adjustable, and even in the higher positions most should still have enough head room. They also leave plenty of leg room for taller drivers. The seats themselves need more bolstering; long-distance trips become uncomfortable, though it's a bit better in the nicer Sport seats.

Rear-seat space is respectable for a subcompact, though we found the rear-seat cushions a bit low. The rear seats fold forward easily in both the sedan and the hatch. The hatchback is the smarter choice here, for its flexible cargo space.

Other interior storage is ample. The glove box is large, and Hyundai provides bins and trays for smaller items like cellphones, bottles, and coins.

The Accent's finishes are average or better for the class, a cut above prior Accents in the use of softer and more finely grained plastics.

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1

2017 Hyundai Accent

Safety

The Accent has notably poor crash-test scores and lacks vital safety equipment.

The Hyundai Accent ranks among the lowest-scoring cars for safety at The Car Connection. Whether it's safety features or crash-test scores, it comes up short.

We give it a 1 out of 10. From our midline score of 5, it loses points for poor scores from both crash-test agencies, for a missing rearview camera, and for special notes on the NHTSA crash test. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The NHTSA gives the Accent only four stars in its overall rankings. In test results, the agency pointed to intrusion at the left rear door in the side impact test, which struck the rear passenger dummy, indicating "a higher likelihood of thoracic injury." 

The Accent received mostly "Good" scores from the IIHS. While side-impact protection was deemed Acceptable, the agency says the Accent's small-overlap frontal protection is "Poor."

Six airbags, including side and side-curtain bags come as standard equipment. Also standard are anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and active headrests.

Driver visibility is a challenge in the Accent hatchback due to the large D-pillars and the rear-seat headrests, but sedans are much better. Large mirrors help, but rearview cameras and blind-spot monitors are not available.

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5

2017 Hyundai Accent

Features

The Accent doesn't offer as many features as its rivals, but its warranty is outstanding.

The Hyundai Accent comes in SE sedan trim, or in SE and Sport hatchback editions. The sedan costs less than the hatchback and comes with fewer standard features.

We give the Accent an 5 out of 10 for features; there's not much in the way of options, but Hyundai's 5-year, 60,000-mile limited warranty is exceptional in the class. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Standard features include power windows, locks, and mirrors; air conditioning; satellite radio; heated mirrors; an AM/FM/XM/CD player with a USB port; and keyless entry.

The sedan comes with air conditioning; AM/FM/XM/CD audio with satellite radio and a USB port; heated side mirrors; and keyless entry. The hatchback comes with all that, plus a rear defroster and the 172-watt sound system with satellite radio and iPod and USB connectivity.

A Popular Equipment Package adds steering-wheel audio controls; a tilt/telescope wheel; cruise control; Bluetooth; and a sliding armrest center console.

The Accent Sport upgrades further with 16-inch wheels; sport-tuned steering; heated side mirrors; fog lamps; a sliding armrest; and special trim.

The features set is disappointing, given that some rivals offer rearview or side-view cameras as standard equipment, and can be outfitted with leather and heated seats. Offsetting that is the Accent's warranty, which extends up to 100,000 miles for the powertrain.

Prices start at just under $16,000 for SE models, while the Sport starts at below $18,000.

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2017 Hyundai Accent

Fuel Economy

Gas mileage is one of the best reasons to adopt an Accent.

The Accent earns its stripes with excellent fuel economy, no matter whether it's outfitted with manual or automatic gearboxes.

We give it an 8 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Fuel economy for the 2017 Hyundai Accent is rated by the EPA at 27 mpg city, 37 highway, 31 combined, when equipped with the manual transmission. With the automatic, it's slightly worse at 26/36/30 mpg. The Accent is among the few cars available today that gets better fuel economy from its manual transmission.

The automatic has an ActiveEco button that triggers early upshifts to improve gas mileage, while models with the manual gearbox use an eco shift light to suggest the driver can upshift to save fuel.

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4.7
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 4
Comfort & Quality 4
Safety 1
Features 5
Fuel Economy 8
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