By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 9/2/2011
In recent years, Hyundai has made an impact on the automotive industry by introducing new nameplates and revising existing ones. Long gone is the bland styling that once plagued its lineup and here to stay is a new progressive design, outlook and strategy that could further cement the brand in the minds of consumers. The 2012 Hyundai Accent is no exception. All-new for 2012, the Accent has a new look, a new engine and even a versatile 5-door design that is poised to deliver some formidable competition to such as the Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta and Nissan Versa. While many consumers never would have thought to even look at an Accent, this revised version could have them doing double-takes.
With superb fuel economy, ample passenger space and an impressive list of available features, the 2012 Hyundai Accent is arguably the best value in its class.
While it is practical and fuel-efficient, the Accent is lacking in the fun-to-drive factor of its sub-compact rivals; specifically the Ford Fiesta and Mazda2.
The 2012 Hyundai Accent is completely updated from the model it replaces, boasting a new look, new engine and a host of standard and available features. Also, a new 5-door version joins the line-up.
We were fortunate enough to drive the 2012 Hyundai Accent on an extended driving trip which consisted of over four hours of highway driving with some city driving mixed in. Over the course of the drive, we were delighted that the on-board fuel mileage readout continuously showed a reading between 40 and 41 mpg. Gas mileage aside, we also couldn't help but notice how quiet and stable the car is at speed. The transmission shifts smoothly and the engine responds quickly, and even after our extensive time behind the wheel we found the seats to be quite comfortable. We must say, though, that the Accent's driving dynamics are rather sedate. And, while this works well for some, it doesn't necessarily put the same kinds of smiles on our faces that the Fiesta and Fit do, because it lacks their sporty driving characteristics.
1.6-liter Gamma Engine
An engine that provides more horsepower and better fuel economy than those found in the Fit and Mazda2? We'll take it!
Fluidic Sculpture styling
While it isn't an exactly a feature, we really like the how the 2012 Hyundai Accent looks. The wavy, futuristic design sets the car apart from its competitors and even further apart from how it used to look.
While it doesn't have the same the funky, futuristic feel as the Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta, the 2012 Hyundai Accent does have a decidedly refined interior for a car in its class. Using bold shapes and semi-metallic finishes, the Accent's looks on the inside complement its looks on the outside rather handsomely. We especially like the backlit buttons and knobs.
Using the same "fluidic sculpture" design language incorporated in other models in Hyundai's lineup, the 2012 Accent wears dynamic and sculptural lines that give the car an upscale look. Wraparound head and taillamps, a high beltline and sculpted hood creases that flank the signature grille up front accentuate the car's aerodynamic look, giving it a sleek profile. Depending on the trim, the Accent has either 14- or 16-inch wheels as standard.
The 4-door Accent is available in the GLS trim level and the 5-door is labeled GS for the base trim and SE for the sporty and more highly-equipped version. Regardless of the trim level, all Accents come standard with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, a 6-speed manual transmission and 14-inch wheels with wheel covers. The 5-door, however, has a few more standard features, including power windows, air conditioning and a 172-watt AM/FM/Satellite radio audio system with six speakers. The higher-trim SE 5-door adds to this list with more even more equipment, including steering wheel-mounted audio controls, Bluetooth, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels and a roof spoiler.
The only options available for the 2012 Hyundai Accent are for the 4-door version; they are basically the same features that come standard on the 5-door. The more notable of these features are a 172-watt AM/FM/Satellite Radio, power windows, air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth and 16-inch wheels and tires.
The 2012 Hyundai Accent is powered by a new 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 138 horsepower and achieves up to 40 mpg on the highway. Hyundai used an aluminum design for this engine, as opposed to its predecessor's cast-iron block, in order to save weight and also incorporated gasoline direct injection (GDI), which is mostly responsible for the bump in power and fuel economy.
1.6-liter in-line 4
138 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
123 lb-ft of torque @ 4,850 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/37
A base 2012 Hyundai Accent GLS has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just over $14,000, and adding an automatic transmission tacks on an extra $1,000. The 5-door GS trim level starts at around $14,500 and goes up $1,200 with an automatic, while the fully-loaded SE trim can top out at around $17,500. Compared to other cars in it segment, the Accent's pricing is on the lower end of the spectrum. To get your best price, check the KBB Fair Purchase Price to find out what others in your area are paying for the 2012 Hyundai Accent. As far as projected resale value, the Accent has found its way into the middle of the class, as we expect it to hold values on par with the Toyota Yaris, but not as well as the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit.