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Hyundai Accent

From so-so to top of the heap.

Hyundai is on quite a roll of late, and the Accent — it was fully revised for 2012 — is perhaps the most impressive renewal yet from the Korean automaker. The entry-level Accent stacks up incredibly well in a segment that has recently been revolutionized by products such as the Ford Fiesta, the Chevrolet Sonic, and the Mazda 2. Like its predecessor, the new Accent is an inexpensive car, but it no longer feels cheap. It features a 1.6-liter direct-injected four-cylinder that produces 138 hp and paces the class in fuel mileage, achieving EPA ratings of 30/40 mpg city/highway. The exterior styling might not appeal to folks with a phobia of melted things, but it helps the car stand out boldly from its competitors as well as its predecessors. The Accent’s sophomore season brings a slew of new standard features to the base-model car, most notably air-conditioning, power windows, and a six-speaker stereo. The top trim level, SE, can now be ordered with a power sunroof. The Accent’s cabin is surprisingly spacious — its interior volume earns it a spot in the EPA’s compact class even though it is, by general definition, a subcompact car. Few small cars are penalty boxes these days, and the Accent proudly stands at the top of its segment alongside the likes of the Ford Fiesta.

COMPETITORS

Chevrolet Sonic

Ford Fiesta

Kia Rio

Nissan Versa

new for 2013

Lots of features are now standard on the base model, which means they’re standard on all Accents: air-conditioning, power windows, a six-speaker stereo with a USB input, body-colored mirrors and door handles, and keyless entry. (The car’s base price accordingly rises by about $2000.) The SE now comes standard with turn-signal repeaters in the sideview mirrors and is newly available with a power sunroof. Standard heated side mirrors are also new this year.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, front side, and side curtain air bags; active front head restraints; ABS; traction and stability control; electronic brake-force distribution; and tire-pressure monitors are standard.

High Mileage

MPG

CITY 30

HWY 40

PRO

Refreshingly spacious

Difficult to find faults

Class-leading mileage, power

CON

Lacks fancy options like nav or leather

Armrests need more padding

Base Price Range: $15,320–$17,870

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Front-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: GLS, GS, SE

BODY STYLES: Sedan, hatchback, 5-passenger

ENGINE: 1.6L I-4, 138 hp, 123 lb-ft

TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: 89.7–90.1 cu ft

CARGO SPACE: (sedan) 13.7 cu ft; (hatchback, rear seats up/down) 21.2/47.5 cu ft

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