There’s a lot to like about the 2012 frontwheel- drive Hyundai Accent. It’s a lot sportier and looks more modern, thanks to sharing the new design theme found on stablemates Sonata and Elantra models.
For 2012, the Accent body has been completely redesigned and given more flowing lines, with a new grille, hood, fenders, headlights, taillights, bumpers and air intakes. In essence, the new Accent looks like a smaller Elantra. It’s sleek in design and there’s very little chrome, with the body color prevailing from front to back — including the bumpers, mirrors and door handles — and black accents for emphasis; only the grille bar is chrome. There also are new 14- and 16-inch wheels.
On the inside, the Accent interior has been redesigned and it’s much more modern, with brushed metal accents on the doors, steering wheel and center console. The instrument panel, center stack, vents, switches and controls have been redesigned. The instrumentation is white-onblack with red needles and the blue-glow nightlight is a nice touch.
A three-spoke multi-function steering wheel has a thick rim and holds switches for the sound system on the left, cruise control system on the right, and telephone on the lower left. Sporty bucket seats have comfortable cushions and bolsters, and they are very supportive.
The interior also has more room and more storage spaces. There’s 21.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the folding second- row bench seat; 47.5 cubic feet with the seat folded flat. Door and console storage is spacious and there’s even a nifty sliding console armrest.
Under the hood, the new Accent has a peppy new twin-cam, 16-valve, 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that utilizes direct fuel injection — a first in the subcompact class — and variable valve timing to give it lowrpm torque and high-rpm horsepower.
The engine — 40 pounds lighter than the previous engine — generates 138 hp and 123 pounds-feet of torque. As for the gearbox, there’s a choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. On manual-transmission models, an EcoShift indicator between the instrument pods tells you the proper gear for various driving conditions. The automatic gearbox has the Shiftronic manual-shift mode. The EPA rates the new Accent at a not-too-shabby 30/40 mpg with either transmission.
The 2012 Hyundai Accent is available in two body styles — five-door hatchback and four-door sedan — and offered in three trim levels — GLS Sedan, GS Hatchback and SE five-door. Base pricing ranges from $12,445 to $16,795.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to <LetsTalkCars@aol.com>.