Text: Vince Pornelos / Photos: Vince Pornelos | posted May 23, 2012 16:32
So, we've driven the Accent over a year ago. We found it to be a great value car in the subcompact class, but it had a few issues with it. Could this new, 2012 version have been improved compared to that 2011 model?
For aesthetics, the new 2012 Accent GLS Blue certainly looks better. Not much has really changed, as the Accent still has that same style as before, though I must admit, I much prefer this color to the white one I drove earlier. Ditto for the new, larger wheels that fill up the wheel arches more, especially when compared to the rather paltry looking 14 inchers the old one had.
Inside, again, not much has changed. Seats are still every bit as comfortable as before, plastics and materials do have a quality feel about them, same goes for all the controls. What has changed is the addition of more features, on top of the climate control, steering audio controls, fully functional multi info display and the standard complement of power amenities. Hyundai have added Bluetooth functionality with a new 3rd party (or at least it appears to be) audio unit. Great as the audio unit seems on paper, I prefer the old one as the interface of the new head unit leaves a bit to be desired.
Now, for the drive. I don't really expect any difference, as the 1.6 liter CVVT engine with 124 horsepower and transmission in the Accent GLS Blue I drove in early 2011 is still the same as in this one. My indicated fuel economy (as per the trip computer) is a little less than before, with city driving at 10.9 km/l (moderate traffic) and 14.6 km/l on the highway (light to moderate traffic). Power and speed is decent, and seems to do the same speed on slightly lower revs than the original, owing perhaps to the larger wheels and tires as it still has the same 4-speed automatic.
On to the main gripe I had with the 2011 Accent: the rear suspension. If you've read my original review, I was not impressed with the rear suspension of the car; causing the rear end to behave as if there were no shock absorbers at all, bouncing and bottoming out at every speed bump I encountered. This new one, thankfully, feels slightly better, as the rear end doesn't hit the bump stop of the shock absorbers like the original. It's not night and day, as I still prefer the rear suspension of cars like the City or Fiesta, but it's definitely an improvement of note.
Over the past few years, the subcompact sedan market has become an unusual market segment, as no one car is really the “perfect” choice. The Fiesta (sedan) has that ungainly rear end, the City has the most uncomfortable seats around, and the Vios lacks excitement.
It's got quirks all its own, but still, the Accent remains a great choice in the subcompact sedan segment.