The Hyundai Accent has evolved in all ways but one. Way back in 1994, the ’95 Accent was one of the most affordable ways to get around. In fact, if you could stick to the most basic trim (they essentially all were…), your bus/subway fare budget just about covered monthly payments for the car.
Fast forward nearly 25 years and the story is more or less the same. Less, because the subcompact car has evolved into a stylish offering with loads of equipment and more, because it remains one of the most inexpensive ways to get from point “A” to point “B”.
While cars might be losing out to crossovers, the Accent still has much to offer.
Things the 2019 Hyundai Accent does well
It surprises in every way. What gets us every time, and will get you immediately, is the unmistakable amount of effort Hyundai has put into their most attainable product. The cabin is not only extremely roomy but well appointed, with better-expected-materials and attention to details. Even the most basic trim features a 5-inch colour touchscreen, height-adjustable front seats and more.
The list of available features that can be packed into this entry-level automobile rivals what some cars retailing for 50% more, and more! Heated front seats, heated steering wheel, a 7-inch colour touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and automatic climate control can all be yours for barely more than $20,000.
The 2019 Accent’s exterior design is a prime example of how serious Hyundai is about delivering a product that looks far more upscale than the sticker price might suggest. Depending on the selected trim, LED headlights, foglamps and handsome 17-inch alloy wheels are available.
For $14,599, the Canada-exclusive 5-door hatchback ($17,349 for the 4-door sedan) features a 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine that produces 130-horsepower and 119 lb.-ft. of torque. Not only is this one of the more powerful engines in the segment but whether it is mated to the standard 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, the Accent will consume scarcely more than 7L/100km.
What might also come as a surprise is that the Accent’s drive is far from boring. The suspension’s calibration provides satisfactory damping for less than perfect city roads. If you enjoy the long way home, the Accent certainly does not mind demonstrating how well it can handle a few switchbacks.
Things the 2019 Hyundai Accent doesn’t do so well
The principal issue with the Hyundai is a typical Korean product affliction. Initial impressions are generally off the charts when compared with immediate rivals but long-term durability and reliability are spotty.
We recently reviewed the all-new 2019 Kia Forte and came to same conclusion. These cars are value packed, largely good to drive and comfortable but by year three or four, unusual issues can arise. This explains in part why resale and trade-in values remain weaker than equivalent Japanese products.
Although this is fact, we must add that reliability overall is on the rise for the Hyundai Accent.
What we tell our friends
The segment includes the likes of the Toyota Yaris, the Honda Fit, the Nissan Micra and Kia Rio. Without a doubt, the Yaris stands out as the safest long-term purchase within the category. The Fit is good too but not competitively priced. The Micra’s interesting but not much more nowadays. The Kia is more youthfully styled.
The Accent is the better bang for the buck and the most attractive in the segment In fact, the same applies to the Kia Rio. Considering that Hyundai (and Kia) continues to improve their product, the 2019 Accent 5-door (personal preference) is a good choice.