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For 2010, Hyundai introduces its new "Blue" Edition engine to the Accent lineup. The new engine is up to nine-percent more fuel efficient than last year's powerplant, providing mileage as high as 36 mpg on the highway. Other new features include iPod/USB ports on all radios; standard steering wheel audio controls, sunroof and cruise control on SE and the availability of ABS on the GS trim.
For 2009, cruise control is added to the Popular Equipment Package, and the SE Premium Package now includes a power sunroof. Those with an eye on pump prices and their wallet will be happy to know that fuel economy estimates are up over those for last year's model.
All models gain a three-month free subscription to XM Satellite Radio, a tire-pressure monitor system and an auxiliary audio input jack (late availability). SE models with the manual transmission receive a sporty B&M Racing short-throw sport shifter.
Hyundai's new Accent separates itself from most of the competition in several significant ways beyond its warranty and much-improved quality, including slightly stronger standard power output, more standard safety equipment and 35 (dealer- or port-installed) accessories. The three-door models also boast the best interior volume of their class, even more than Honda's size-larger three-door Civic.
Introduced in 1994, the Hyundai Accent led U.S. entry-level car sales from 2000-2005, mostly due to its value for the money and an aggressive warranty. A trend toward smaller, less expensive vehicles has brought a slew of new competitors to the field, including Korean partner Kia's Rio, Honda's Fit, Nissan's Versa, Toyota's Yaris, Ford's Fiesta and Chevrolet's Aveo. Still, not many can touch the Accent's low price and amazingly long warranty, or the fact that J.D Powers awarded the 2010 Accent top honors in its Initial Quality Survey for the sub-compact category. Those with an eye for style as well as thrift may find more to like with the Accent then its newer, but pricier, rivals.