2012 Hyundai Accent: Up Close

2012 Hyundai AccentIt comes with some embarrassment that I mistook the white Elantra on stage at Hyundai’s press conference for the Accent. (And here’s the admittance, in virtual ink, to live on forever.) I had to examine the facial differences to tell the two apart: The Accent’s headlights are more clipped, while the fog lights curl back. It’s vice versa on the Elantra.

More 2011 New York Auto Show Coverage

The fact is, Hyundai’s fluidic design is taking hold, and the automaker’s cars look more similar than arguably at any point in its U.S. history. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; BMW and Audi have cultivated similar faces across their lineups for years.

2012 Hyundai Accent

Cabin materials in the Accent feel segment-competitive. The dimpled plastics at eye level are a welcome distraction from their modest quality, and the controls look sharp. Hyundai’s two Accents on display – a sedan and hatchback, both well-optioned – had chrome door handles and piano-black trim, which are uncommon niceties for the class. Anyone with big hands may find the steering-wheel buttons too small, and it won’t take long for your elbows to wish the door armrests had more (any, really) padding.

2012 Hyundai Accent

The Accent offers no telescoping steering wheel, something the Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta do. But I found the wheel close enough to me, and I usually deem non-telescoping wheels too far away. (Short drivers, on the other hand, may wish it sat farther forward.) For a small car, the driver’s seat extends impressively far rearward. Even with the height jacked up, I sat comfortably with an inch of rearward travel to spare. Storage areas abound: The center console could stash a couple of bulky sunglass cases, and Hyundai claims the glove box beats that of the Fit, Chevy Aveo and Toyota Yaris. It’s roomy, at any rate.

2012 Hyundai Accent

Legroom in back is modest, and typical of this class, the rear seat sits too low to the floor. Headroom in the hatchback is good, however. In the sedan it’s tight. The rear window in both the hatchback and sedan is small, which hurts the view straight back, but neither car has massive C-pillars.

2012 Hyundai Accent



I like the hatchback - a lot. I wonder if this definitely means they aren't going to come out with an Elantra Touring (hatch) model? Have you heard anything about that?

I prefer hatchbacks for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that I always carry my bike with me in the back. Do you think a standard bike would fit in the Accent hatch with the rear seats down?

Also, regarding rear seat height - that's one of the things I like the most about my 2005 Vibe. Anyone, including me, who rides in the back has commented on how comfortable it is back there, and the main reason is because the seat is well-elevated above the floor. They pulled it off in the Vibe, not sure why other automakers haven't been able to pull that off too.

The omission of a telescopic-steering-wheel is probably a deal-breaker for me.

I am 6'2" and need the seat moved far-back and need the steering-wheel to come far back with it.

Also, cruise-control is only standard on the SE (?). Seems odd - for a car designed for fuel-efficiency - not to have a fuel-saving convenience feature like cruise-control as standard across the line.

Elantra hatchback is a larger car and yes, it will be coming out in the next year.


The rear of the hatchback is pure BMW 1-Series. Love it!

My wife and I love all the new Hyundai's. We bought our first recently - a Sonata SE and are very happy with it. It seems within the last year they have been redesigning their whole line up and all the new models look great in my opinion!

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