By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 9.0
As Hyundai’s least expensive offering, the stylish Accent offers value, economy and reliability at a sub-$16,000 price. No longer the flimsy and Spartan econobox of the past, the Accent looks and feels more substantial than the average subcompact and it comes standard with an amazing 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. The 2016 Hyundai Accent subcompact comes as a sedan or 5-door hatchback, further expanding its versatility. Although competent, the new Accent isn’t as fun to drive as the Ford Fiesta, Chevy Sonic or Honda Fit, and its fuel economy lags behind the Nissan Versa and Toyota Yaris. Then again, none of these competitors can match the Accent’s standard 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
If you’re seeking economical transportation that is inexpensive but still playful, the 2016 Hyundai Accent sedan and hatchback hold strong appeal. Optional features, such as heated side mirrors and Bluetooth, don’t add much to the bottom line.
If you’re seeking a fun-to-drive subcompact, a Ford Fiesta or Chevrolet Sonic is more playful and more aggressively styled. The Kia Rio shares the same mechanical underpinnings as the 2016 Accent but offers more amenities, such as heated seats, navigation and rearview camera. However, when so equipped the Kia costs significantly more.
KBB Expert Ratings
Hyundai’s subcompact 2016 Accent sedan and hatchback receive revised trim names, replacing GLS and GS with SE. The Sport trim’s power sunroof option has been deleted.
The term “economy car” used to imply a small, cramped and Spartan device with few frills. But, in the 2016 Hyundai Accent sedan and hatchback, there is a new definition,...
... one that includes comfort, content and capability. While frugal on the fuel, the Accent’s 4-cylinder engine isn’t stingy when it comes to power, although we can’t sing the same praise for the rubbery and vague 6-speed manual transmission. We’d go with the 6-speed automatic, which delivers better performance and only a 1-mpg reduction in fuel economy. The Accent’s seats are comfortable and there’s good head- and legroom up front, although the rear seat isn’t as generous. As for driving dynamics, the Accent is a capable car, but nowhere near as dialed-in as the Ford Fiesta or Chevrolet Sonic. Not our first choice for twisting back roads, the Accent is much more comfortable in city and highway driving.
Although you hope you’ll never have to use it, the peace of mind provided by the 2016 Hyundai Accent’s generous standard warranty is priceless. The warranty includes 5-year/60,000-mile basic coverage and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty covering the engine and transmission.
STANDARD 172-WATT AUDIO SYSTEM
Some economy cars don’t even offer a radio, let alone a 172-watt, 6-speaker system that comes standard in every Accent. SiriusXM satellite radio and USB/iPod connection are also standard, while Bluetooth for phone and music streaming remains an option.
The 2016 Hyundai Accent subcompact's 5-passenger interior layout isn't all that exciting, but it is functional. Controls for audio, climate and phone connectivity are easy to locate and use. The backlit buttons and knobs are a nice touch and especially useful at night. Sedan versions of the Accent have a 13.7-cubic-foot trunk and 60/40-split-folding rear seats to accommodate larger items. But the real cargo-carrying hero in this lineup is the Accent hatchback, which offers 47.5 cubic feet of capacity with the seats folded – nearly as much as a small SUV.
Using the same "fluidic sculpture" design language incorporated into other newer Hyundai models, the 2016 Accent hatchback and sedan stand out with dynamic and sculptural lines that give this subcompact an upscale look. A newly styled grille, headlights and taillights help keep Hyundai's subcompact looking fresh, especially in 5-door hatchback form. Accent Sport 5-door models look the most appealing with satin-chrome door handles, rear spoiler, fog lights and side mirrors with integrated turn signals. Speaking of mirrors, the driver's-side blind-spot mirror aids visibility.
The Hyundai Accent is available in two trims: SE sedan and hatchback, and Sport hatchback. All come with air conditioning, power windows and door locks, 172-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3/satellite radio with USB/iPod integration, 6-way-adjustable driver's seat, tilt steering wheel and folding rear seats. The top-line Accent Sport is the best dressed of the bunch, with standard tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, automatic headlights, heated side mirrors, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, 16-inch wheels and sport-tuned steering, leather-covered shift knob and steering wheel, and high-gloss interior accents. In addition to that generous warranty, new Hyundais come with five years/unlimited miles of 24-hour roadside assistance.
All 2016 Accent trims can be had with a 6-speed automatic transmission in lieu of the 6-speed manual. Most other major extras are bundled into packages. If buying the Accent sedan, we recommend spending the extra $600 on the Popular Equipment Package that includes cruise control, Bluetooth, heated side mirrors, telescoping steering wheel and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. A Style Package adds upgraded cloth interior, fog lights, rear disc brakes, 16-inch alloy wheels and projector headlights with LED accents. Both packages are tied to Accent sedans with automatic transmissions.
All 2016 Hyundai Accent models use a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine with gasoline direct injection (GDI) that translates to satisfying throttle response. Offering 137 horsepower and up to 38 mpg, this little engine puts out a good blend of power and efficiency. All Accent models are front-wheel drive and use a standard 6-speed manual transmission or the more recommendable and popular 6-speed automatic transmission with Hyundai's Shiftronic manual control.
137 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
123 lb-ft of torque @ 4,850 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/38 mpg (manual), 26/37 mpg (automatic)
The 2016 Hyundai Accent SE sedan with manual transmission has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $15,570. Most buyers will opt for the automatic transmission, an extra $1,000. The Accent SE 5-door hatchback begins around $15,820, and the top-line Sport about $17,320. It’s easy to see the Accent's economic appeal. Yet the Accent's own cousin, the Kia Rio, starts lower, as do the Nissan Versa sedan and Versa Note hatchback. Also lower are the Ford Fiesta, Chevy Sonic and Mitsubishi Mirage, although these competitors don’t offer the same level of standard equipment. The Honda Fit hatchback is slightly higher. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying. The Hyundai Accent’s resale value is predicted to lag most rivals and trail far behind the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa Note.