2012 Hyundai Accent GLS Sedan Review [Video]

New Accent sheds econo-box past in all ways, including price

2012 Hyundai Accent GLS Sedan Review [Video]

In 2001 Honda introduced the Fit. Three years earlier, in 1998, Toyota brought out the Yaris, which was then called the Echo. Almost an entire generation of cars before that, Hyundai first introduced the world to the Accent.


1. Gone is the 3-door hatchback, replaced by a 5-door model that’s priced at a premium and starting at $14,595 compared to $14,195 for a sedan. Add $1,000 for an automatic transmission.

2. The Accent boasts 138-hp from a direct-injection 1.6L 4-cylinder, with an incredible 30/40 mpg rating.

3. A $1,300 Premium Package can be added to sedan models that includes remote keyless entry, steering wheel audio controls, 16-inch alloy wheels, upgraded seat material and Bluetooth.

A roaring success, the Accent long outlived its product cycle, allowing the Japanese to catch up and even surpass the Korean sub-compact, which differed so little over its first three generations anyone would be forgiven for thinking this is the first time Hyundai has updated the car.

Now on its fourth generation, Hyundai has finally given the Accent the attention it has so badly needed, with an all new look and engine.


With all the additions, there’s also something notably absent from the new Accent, namely in its model lineup. Gone is the discount three-door hatchback model, replaced by a five-door hatch which is now priced above the sedan.

There’s no longer anything close to a sub 10K Accent, with the stripped-down sedan starting at $12,445. Anyone looking for a automatic transmission will, however, have to start at $15,195.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Priced right on par with Japanese rivals, has Hyundai overstepped the value being offered in this new model, or is the significant increase warranted?


Even before you get in the Accent and drive it, the car’s new style and the numbers seem to suggest it is. Offering not just best-in-class fuel economy at 30/40-mpg, the Accent also delivers excellent power (only the new Chevy Sonic makes more) thanks to the first direct-injection engine in this segment. The 1.6-liter 4-cylinder makes 138-hp, which is a 25 percent improvement over its predecessor. Plus, it’s actually more power than the Toyota Corolla, which competes in a larger class size – even if the Accent is now classified as a compact.


The style of the car is engaging at first, but it’s not hard to see that the Accent did not get the full attention of Hyundai’s design department. While the hatch has its strong points, the sedan gives a distinct feeling that while innovative now, it won’t be long before it looks dated. In many ways it looks like a cheap Chinese knockoff of the Elantra. Arguably Honda’s Fit continues to be the only truly original design in the sub-compact segment.


Sit inside the Accent and you’ll hit the reset button, wiping clear all past impressions of what a Korean economy car is. Sure cars like the Sonata and Elantra are big improvements over their predecessors, but despite Hyundai’s major leaps in interior design and quality, we still expected the Accent to underwhelm. It does the opposite. With the upgraded Premium Package (a reasonable $1,300 option), the seat material is even nice. Other goodies included in that option group include remote keyless entry, steering wheel audio and cruise controls, Bluetooth and some nice piano black trim accenting. The improvement is so significant a previous generation Accent wouldn’t recognize this new model as one of its own.

But wait… there is one aspect that’s less than ideal. Normally we don’t gripe too much about soft-touch-this, or hard-plastic-that, but the ledge on the doors (where the driver might rest his elbow) is made of some seriously hard plastic and if you’re using the Accent as a put-put commuter, then this is bound to make you grumpy.


Turn the key in the ignition and there’s a reminder of Hyundai’s past, with the rather crude sound of the direct-injection 4-cylinder permiating the cabin like the firewall is made of rice paper.

Fortunately, complaints about the engine stop as soon as you get on the gas. During our drive we hit 36-mpg average and there’s no lack of power. In fact, this might be the first sub-compact ever built where you don’t have to put your foot all the way down just to merge on the highway.

Once on the highway the car is smooth and quiet. As a sign that this is till an economy car bumps in the road (even rather small ones) can still be heard and felt, but just appear muffled rather than eliminated.

Steering is decidedly strange, as with all modern Hyundais. It’s less vague with better on-center feel than the past few Hyundai’s we’ve driven, but lacks feel while cornering – in many ways the opposite of the Elantra and Sonata.


Those looking at getting the stick shift model will be pleased it comes with a Hillstart Assist control system. Popular in Europe and usually reserved for more premium models, it will hold the car on a hill for just a second, long enough for you to engage the gas and let off the clutch. All without sliding backwards!

Those looking for maximum practicality might want to choose the more spacious hatchback with around 20 cubic feet of space (47.5 cu-ft total), but even the sedan delivers a solid 13.7 cu-ft behind the back seats, while offering usable seating.


It’s impossible to call the Accent expensive, but the price has jumped considerably over the past model. While that entry price of $12,445 doesn’t sound too steep, it doesn’t include AC or power options. With the automatic transmission model starting at $15,195 and the premium pack adding $1,300 you’re then up to $17,255 for a car like our tester.


And while that’s the combo we’d suggest, (if you’re shopping for the sedan at least), deciding otherwise is made easy with only 8 buildable options in general.

Those looking for a hatchback model will have to spend slightly more, with the 5-door starting at $14,595 for the GS model and $15,795 for the SE.


In tossing aside the 3-door model, Hyundai is neglecting those whose wallets are a little empty, a dangerous move in shaky economic times. A company that pioneered basic transportation in the modern era, Hyundai has proven it doesn’t have to be basic any more, for better and for worse. Such is the cost of progress.


But enough moping. The new Accent is excellently built with solid interior design and materials, it delivers exceptional power and fuel economy and is even quite spacious. Plus it’s not bad looking either. True, the new Accent is more expensive, but it’s an even bigger value than before.

Related Reading
2012 Chevy Sonic Review
2012 Hyundai Veloster Review
2010 Honda Fit Review
2011 Ford Fiesta Review
2012 Hyundai Accent Review

  • Jack

    I’ve driven this Hyundai Accent before, I really hated driving it. There is no feel at all in the steering, not even in corners, and it kind of disappointed me while I was driving.  Next, I drove the Chevrolet Sonic, now that is a great drive!  It’s so much better than the Hyundai Accent. 

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked