A Decent Choice for the Subcompact Consumer
The standout cars of the subcompact segment are those that offer the least amount of compromise for an affordable price. The 2014 Hyundai Accent strikes a good balance, separating itself from others with its handsome styling and strong performance.
Sharing the same platform, engine, and transmission with the Kia Rio, the Accent is powered by a 1.6-liter I-4 producing 138 hp, providing more-than-adequate power to motivate its relatively featherweight 2579 pounds. The Accent achieves 0-60 mph in 9.0 seconds, onto a quarter-mile time of 16.8 seconds at 82.8 mph, putting it at the middle of the pack, behind the Chevrolet Sonic and the last-generation Honda Fit, but ahead of the Toyota Yaris and the Nissan Versa Note. Normal stoplight-to-stoplight acceleration under 40 mph is more-than adequate, as the 1.6-liter punches above its power rating. Highway entrance ramps and freeway passing are not things to fear, but the necessary burying-of-the-throttle results in a rather uneconomical outcome. The six-speed automatic transmission is the best part of the drivetrain. Shifts are smooth, unnoticeable, and when you need them to be, quick. After initial acceleration onto the highway, the sixth gear does its job to settle the car down, transitioning the car to a low-rpm cruise (the 2012-2014 Hyundai Elantra is shown in this First Test).
Steering is light and a bit muted, not transmitting much from the road in favor of ease and comfort. Handling is neutral, the Accent favors good road manners and refinement over sporting pretensions. The Accent is no canyon carver, but it’s not supposed to be.
The Accent took a respectable 28.0 seconds to lap our figure-eight course, at an average of 0.60 g, placing the Accent above the last-gen Fit, Yaris, and Versa Note in the average g category, but below the Chevrolet Sonic, and Kia Rio in the overall figure-eight time.
The Accent is capable of an EPA-rated 27/37 mpg city/highway, for a combined 31 mpg. It rates in the middle of the subcompact group, coming in behind the CVT-equipped 2014 Nissan Versa Note with a combined 35 mpg, the 2015 Honda Fit at 35-36 mpg, and the 2014 Toyota Yaris at 32 mpg, but comes in ahead of the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic with a 1.8-liter I-4 at 28 mpg, though with a 1.4-liter turbo I-4 the rating matches that of the Accent.
Inside, our Accent SE test car had a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, while the bezel surrounding the control stack is finished in glossy black. The gauges are particularly attractive, and deceptively premium in appearance, backlit with Hyundai‘s signature blue lighting. Seats are a little on the flat and unsupportive side, but can be forgiven for the impressive amount of rear-seat legroom and space available in the cargo area. Capacity with the rear seats in place is 21.2 cubic feet, but lay the rear seats flat, and usable space expands to 47.5 cubic feet. The Accent is not a cargo wizard like the Honda Fit, but the hatchback provides plenty of space for luggage-hauling and grocery runs. An exceptionally intuitive optional Bluetooth hands-free system mated to a six-speaker audio system provides quality sound, and connecting a phone or iPod is as simple as plugging into the easily accessible USB port or connecting via Bluetooth.
For 2014, Hyundai upgraded the Accent with new standard and optional equipment. The Accent receives a one-touch triple turn signal, sliding sun visors, and a driver’s blind spot-mirror. The standard audio system is updated for improved voice recognition and sound quality. Hyundai incorporated new projector headlights with LED accents, welcome lamps, driver’s side auto-up window and tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel added to SE hatchback and Premium Package sedan models.
The Accent is Hyundai’s attempt to create a refined subcompact that provides the same sense of solidity as the rest of the automaker’s contemporary lineup. With a blend of high-quality interior components for its class, a solid drivetrain, strong performance, and sharp styling, the Accent is a decent choice for the average subcompact consumer.
|2014 Hyundai Accent SE Four-Door Hatch|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$18,315|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback|
|ENGINE||1.6L/138-hp/123-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||2579 lb (62/38%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||162.0 x 66.9 x 57.1 in|
|0-60 MPH||9.0 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||16.8 sec @ 82.8 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||116 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.80 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||28.0 sec @ 0.60 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||27/37/31 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||125/91 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||0.63 lb/mile|