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Small competitor, big achiever

<p>Now that the Accent sedan has been on the roads since last winter, it is time for the hatchback to hit the lots of the Hyundai dealerships.</p>

The Hyundai Accent three-door hatchback handles quite well

The Hyundai Accent three-door hatchback, which starts at $13,495, has a spacious interior, provides great visibility on all four corners, and has comfortable seats, our columnist says.

Now that the Accent sedan has been on the roads since last winter, it is time for the hatchback to hit the lots of the Hyundai dealerships.

The Korean three-door’s third generation distinguishes itself from its sedan sibling by having notorious curves and a unique look. The result is so stunning that my mother even said: “Are you sure that it’s an Accent?” Of course, mom...

Despite being shorter (235 mm) than the four-door model, the hatchback version maintains the same interior dimensions. It provides an increased cargo area even when the backseat is lifted up; about a third more (450 compared to 350 litres). Its handy 60/40 split fold-down rear seatback provides a different configuration when needed.

The 1.6L (110 HP) 4-cylinder engine, the gearbox and the power steering feature (no more man-powered steering wheel) are among shared components between both Accent models.

Oh yeah, the transmission... Unfortunately, by taking in the 5-speed manual, the hatchback ensures it retains the sedan’s disadvantage: badly geared, this transmission brings the engine’s rpm up to 3500 at 110 km/h on the highway (well, I admit, at 120km/h...). Result: the driver constantly looks for an inexistent sixth gear. One just doesn’t get used to the rumbling noise that reverberates within the car. That’s why I recommend the4-speedautomatic ($950),even thoughyou quickly assess its power limitation.

It’s the only criticism I have to make about the Accent hatchback. As for the rest, only compliments: handles well, great visibility on all four corners, spacious interior, relaxing driving position, comfortable seats... If it hadn’t been for the manual window cranks that reminded me this was a basic model, I would have thought I was in the more luxurious hatchback. It all starts at $13,495 — that’s $500 less than for the sedan. The Sport version, with reinforced suspension, 16-inch wheels, and sunroof (a sunroof on a compact hatchback!) goes for $16,195.

I personally am fond of the GS Premium version, which offers ABS, six airbags and heated seats for $16,995.

Aahhh heated seats, now there’s a treat that competitors don’t offer in the same car category!



  • Versions: GS, GS Comfort, GS Sport and GS Premium

  • Engine: 1.6L 4-cylinder

  • Performance: 110 HP, 106 lbs-ft

  • Gearbox: 5-speed manual, optional 4-speed automatic

  • Wheels: 14 inches (16 inches on Sport model)

  • Safety: 6 airbags and ABS on Premium version

  • Fuel consumption (combined) : 6.8L/100km (manual) — 7.1L/100km (automatic)

  • Built in: Ulsan, South Korea

  • Price: starting at $13,495

  • Competition: Chevrolet Aveo, Kia Rio, Pontiac Wave, Suzuki Swift+, Toyota Echo