Five-Point Inspection: 2014 Hyundai Accent Manual

Stephen Elmer
by Stephen Elmer

Starting at $15,455, the Hyundai Accent has long been a value proposition in the sub-compact segment and for 2014, the car gets a few more standard features.

But can it keep up to its rivals when it comes to driving dynamics or usability? Read on to find out.

Unlike some other subcompacts, the Hyundai Accent doesn’t seem to be chasing the “fun to drive” crowd all that much and that is OK. While carving corners is not a rewarding experience in this car, the ride is smooth and there is no unnecessary harshness like that can be found in the Ford Fiesta or Mazda2. Both of those cars are likely to bring a smile to your face if you’re an enthusiast, but this Hyundai just provides simple, smooth transportation. Power from the 1.6-liter four cylinder comes in at 138 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque, and just like the handling, is isn’t necessarily quick, but it is enough to move the little car comfortably.

The six-speed manual transmission is about as easy to use as they come and would be a good choice for someone just learning to use a manual transmission. The bite point of the clutch is long and begins to engage about halfway up the travel in a very comfortable spot. The stick itself offers little resistance sliding into and out of gates, and never makes you second-guess where you are. To top it off, there is even an indicator on the on the info screen between the gauges that will tell you when it is time to shift. This is yet another area where Hyundai is not chasing the enthusiast crowd. If tight throws and notchy shifts are what you’re after, the Accent isn’t for you.

Many Hyundai vehicles, including the Elantra and Sonata, offer driver selectable steering modes that allow you to choose between normal, comfort and sport. More choice is usually a good thing, but the Accent doesn’t feature these modes and that is to its benefit.

That’s because in those vehicles, the electronic steering boost is dialed up a little too much, leaving the steering feeling numb and loose. In the small Accent, there is only one choice and it provides a nice solid feeling with good levels of feedback.

Thanks to Hyundai’s “fluidic sculpture” design language, the small Accent looks stylish beyond its price point. Swoops and curves make this Korean sub-compact stand out next to every other vehicle in its class such as the rather conservative looking Ford Fiesta and Chevy Spark.

A seemingly simple part of any car are the cup holders, but in the Hyundai Accent, the placement makes them awkward to reach. Placed very low and far back, the cup holders are hard to get at especially if you are tall. Add on that once the arm rest is extended as far forward as possible, one of the cup holders in no longer usable, and it makes keeping a drink for the road a tough task.

Stephen Elmer
Stephen Elmer

Stephen covers all of the day-to-day events of the industry as the News Editor at AutoGuide, along with being the AG truck expert. His truck knowledge comes from working long days on the woodlot with pickups and driving straight trucks professionally. When not at his desk, Steve can be found playing his bass or riding his snowmobile or Sea-Doo. Find Stephen on <A title="@Selmer07 on Twitter" href="">Twitter</A> and <A title="Stephen on Google+" href="">Google+</A>

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