Rags to riches

It used to be the cheapest new car in America, but now it's a contender for the top of its class. Let's take a look at the 2012 Hyundai Accent SE.
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Fluidic sculpture

It's far from bland, but the Accent is easily the most tame interpretation of Hyundai's current "fluidic sculpture" design language.
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Hatchback

The Accent is available as a sedan, but we think our five-door SE trim level is the best mix of utility, performance, and tech.
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Handling

We were surprised by how well the Accent handled our favorite back road. It's not what we'd call a performance car, but this little hatch does like to go.
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Rear view

We'd like a bit more rear glass for increased rearward visibility, but as is we didn't have any issues reversing or parking the Accent.
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There's plenty of space in the Accent's hatch to fit an average-size Car Tech editor.
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1.6-liter engine

The Accent's 1.6-liter direct-injected engine claims better power and fuel economy than that of its competitors.
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Manual transmission

The six-speed manual transmission isn't perfect, but we still had a great time rowing through the gears.
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The SE trim level features a unique sport steering calibration that makes it feel more responsive than other Accent models.
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Interior

The Accent's cabin features a good mix of materials that are pleasing to the eye and--where it counts--to the touch. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob are examples of good attention to detail.
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Audio system

A 172-watt, six-speaker audio system pumps out audio from the standard single-slot CD player, USB port, and auxiliary input.
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Steering wheel controls

Steering-wheel controls put volume, skip, and speakerphone controls at the driver's fingertips.
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Bluetooth

Bluetooth wireless is standard on the Accent SE and optional at lesser trim levels. Users are able to sync their phone's address book via PBAP and access A2DP Bluetooth audio streaming on supported handsets.
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Voice command

With a phone connected, users can initiate calls via voice command with the touch of a steering-wheel button.
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SiriusXM tuner

SiriusXM satellite radio is standard on the Accent.
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iPod connectivity

With the addition of a $35 cable, iPod users get full access to their iOS device's media and organization tree.
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