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2012 Hyundai Accent SE Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Featured, Hyundai, Test Drives


Hyundai is once again shaking up the growing compact five-door wagon segment with the introduction of the much improved forth-generation Accent compact five-door wagon.  Available as a four-door sedan with a trunk, or a five-door wagon, I tested the more versatile and popular five-door SE and came away very impressed with the overall build quality, design, performance, attention to detail, versatility, and high-fuel mileage ratings.

To be taken seriously in a popular and growing segment with an all-new segment vehicle you must either match or overtake the competition in several important aspects and the all-new Accent SE does just that.

It is the first vehicle to receive the all-new 1.6 liter GDI ‘Gamma’ GDI (gas-direct injection) engine that also features DOHC’s, dual continuous variable-valve timing and an active ECO system to increase fuel efficiency.  This high-tech engine is paired with Hyundai’s proprietary six-speed automatic with sequential shifting, or a six-speed manual transmission meaning it is the first vehicle in its segment to offer a GDI engine for increased power and fuel efficiency.  That equates to the most powerful engine in it’s class at 138hp, and the ‘best-in-class’ fuel economy of 30mpg/city and 40mpg/highway.

The exterior styling has been refined and is more inline with the Sonata and Elantra.  The company’s distinctive and upscale ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ design is highlighted up front with Hyundai’s signature grille and lower air-intake.  The large, uniquely formed headlights are deeply cut into the fenders and hood.  Big foglamps sit nicely at the lower sides of the front bumper bottom.  The upscale silhouette is highlighted with steeply raked A-pillars, flowing B-pillar and arrowhead rear window finisher.  The door shows a deep upward crease through all of the door handles and a scalloped lower section.  The side mirrors are also aerodynamic and meet seamlessly with the lower A-pillars.  From the rear you’ll see a top mounted spoiler, rear hatchback and seamless bumper with a single exhaust tip peering out from under the right side of the lower bumper.

Taming the all-new 138hp inline 4-cylinder engine is a MacPherson strut independent suspension up front with coil springs, twin-tube gas-charged shocks and stabilizer bar.

The rear setup features a torsion axle setup with coil springs, mono-tube gas-charged shocks and stabilizer bar.  The sporty character of the drive is handled nicely with Hyundai’s electric/mechanical rack & pinion steering system that gives an excellent feel for the road and very quick response to your steering inputs.

Slowing the all-new Accent SE down from speed are excellent four-wheel, power-assisted steel disc brakes.  Up front are 10.1 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 10.3 inch solid discs in the rear clamped with single-piston calipers.  Your braking control and power are enhanced with standard ABS, EBD, BA, Electronic Stability Control, and Traction Control.

The all-new 2012 Hyundai Accent SE rides on large 16X6 inch alloy wheels wrapped with 195/50R16 inch all-season radial tires for excellent grip and a compliant ride.

The new Accent doesn’t skip a beat on the interior with a simple yet elegant setup for both driver and passengers.  All of the surfaces are ‘soft-touch’ and aluminum tone trim pieces are found on around the center stack, door switch plates, and center console.  Inside both the center stack and center console are shiny black piano trim pieces that gives the look of more luxury and elegance.  The three-spoke, leather-wrapped tilt/telescoping steering wheel feels perfect in your hands.  The stick shifter is also covered in shiny black piano trim to complete the upscale looks.

The instrument cluster is large and easy to see and read with all vital information straight-ahead.  All switches, dials, levers and buttons are within easy reach and easy to use besides being fully illuminated for safe nighttime travel.

The rear seating area features a 60/40-split bench seat that can accommodate three adults and when folded flat opens up the already large storage space making the all-new 2012 Accent a class-above in total volume-a subcompact car with the roominess of a compact and best-in-class five-door cargo volume of 47.5cu.ft.

The new Accent reinvigorates the subcompact segment, similar to what the game-changing Sonata and Elantra have done in their segments.

Standard feature not mentioned above include A/C with cabin air filter, aM-FM-XM/CD/MP3 audio system with six speakers, XM satellite radio, steering wheel mounted cruise control and audio controls, Bluetooth hands free phone system, power windows/door locks, remote keyless entry, trip computer, sliding armrest storage box, driver seat height adjustment, cloth door insert, front passenger seatback map pocket, grab handles above each door, power-remote sideview mirrors, dual vanity mirrors, dual map lights, thick cut pile carpeting and a hand brake for ease of use when parked.

Standard safety features include front and side impact airbags up, side-curtain airbags, 3-point safety belts for all seats with front pretensioners/load limiters, tire pressure monitoring system, front/rear crush zones and active front head restraints.



  • Price: $16,795.00
  • Engine: 1.6-liter 16-valve DOHC inline 4-cylinder 138 horsepower @ 6300 rpm / 123 ft-lbs. torque @ 4850 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 101.2in.
  • Total length: 162in.
  • Total width: 66.9in.
  • Total height: 57.1in.
  • Track: f/r-59.3/58.6in.
  • Headroom: f/r-39.9/37.8in.
  • Legroom: f/r-41.8/33.3in.
  • Turning circle: 34.1ft.
  • Fuel tank: 11.4 gallons
  • Passenger volume: 90.1cu.ft.
  • Cargo volume: seats-up-21.2cu.ft./seat down-47.5cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 2,429lbs.
  • EPA mileage 30mpg/city, 40mpg/highway

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