It's hard to imagine that the Hyundai Accent has been in the country for well over a decade now. Thanks to its diesel engine (the lone option at the time), it won praises for its efficiency and performance. But the Hyundai Accent story goes far beyond that. In fact, the subcompact sedan turns 25 this year.
Yes, the Accent is a quarter of a century old now, and it's Hyundai's third-longest running nameplate. Its older brothers are the Sonata (34 years) and the Elantra (29 years).
Introduced in the middle of 1994, the first-generation Accent is a far cry from what it is now. It was small at just 4.1 meters long, and light at 975 kg in top of the line trim. While it seemed basic at the time, the Accent holds the distinction of being among the first Hyundai cars to be designed from the ground up in-house. The engine range was good at the time too, with DOHC mills being available. Interestingly, there was a wide variety of body styles available with the four-door sedan, two-door coupe, three-door liftback, and five-door liftback.
The Accent was then redesigned in 1999 and looked more angular than its predecessor. This generation saw the introduction of diesel engines to the range. By this time, the two-door was dropped, leaving the sedan, three-door hatch, and five-door liftback. While we didn't get this iteration of the Accent, we did have a variation of it. This model actually served as the basis of the Hyundai Getz. It also had a brief stint as a rally car from 2000 to 2003, albeit with limited success.
On to the third-generation Accent and this is the model that made it a household name in the country. Launched locally in 2006, it was a novelty at the time as it was among the few diesel passenger cars in the market. This Accent also sold for less than one million Pesos, making it one of the most affordable diesel cars in the market at the time. While 1.5-liter CRDI turbodiesel only made 108 PS, it had a healthy 235 Nm of torque, giving it surprising performance.
For the fourth-generation, the Accent had grown dramatically in size. Here, we had either a 1.4-liter gas or 1.6-liter CRDI turbodiesel. With the Hyundai sticking to the diesel formula, it continued where the third-generation (first for us) set off. Significantly, local-spec Accents became available with automatic transmissions for the first time, broadening its appeal. We also got the hatchback body here for the first time, going up against the likes of the Honda Jazz, Suzuki Swift, and Toyota Yaris.
Six years would pass until an all-new Accent would arrive. It made its debut in 2017 and launched here by late 2018. In terms of specs, it was largely carried over from the previous model, retaining both diesel and gas engine options. The design on the other hand is evolutionary, employing sharper looks as seen on larger Hyundai models. However, we would no longer have the hatchback in the Philippines.
After 25 years and five generations, the Accent is still proving to be a good seller for Hyundai. It was the car that introduced Hyundai ownership to a lot of people worldwide, and it looks like it will still be the case for more years to come.
Happy 25th Hyundai Accent.You've grown to be one of the top contenders in the subcompact class.