When you think subcompact, you're probably thinking giving up horsepower, cargo space, tech options, and safety. But this isn't so for the 2012 Hyundai Accent.
The new Accent comes in a smart four-door GLS spec and a sporty five-door hatch, in GS and SE trims. With a direct-injection 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, the Accent offers 138 horsepower at 6,300rpm and 123 pound-feet of torque at 4,850rpm.
The Accent four-door is slightly larger than its predecessor (3.5 inches longer and a wheelbase that's 2.8 inches longer). It also bests the Toyota Yaris, Ford Fiesta, and Chevrolet Aveo in size and cargo space. The sedan, at a lower price, offers a refined look, with a new kick up trunk edge with wraparound rear taillights.
The Accent five-door, the better looking of the two, offers 21.2 cubic feet of cargo room, which is more than what you'll find in the Fiesta, Mazda2, Yaris, Fit, and Nissan Versa. The five-door is also a class-leader in power-to-weight ratio with a curb weight of 2,430 pounds.
What the Korean automaker is really pushing about the 2012 Accent is the impressive fuel economy of 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.
So how does the 2012 Accent handle?
We drove a five-door with six-speed manual transmission. The Accent has great highway handling, but with the low-rolling resistance tires, it hardly blazes down the road or around corners. We also didn't notice much of a difference in handling or engine sound between fourth and sixth gears. But speaking of sound, the cabin was respectably quiet.
The Accent is well-equipped with a six-speaker sound system (including XM Satellite Radio, MP3 capability, iPod connectivity, and USB and auxiliary jacks) as well as Bluetooth hands-free calling.
The power windows, doors, and locks; the black dash; and the leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob of our tester all gave the Accent a richer feel.
Overall, the Accent five-door is terrific offering from Hyundai.
The Accent starts at $12,445 plus $760 shipping. The most expensive Accent will run $16,795.