Hyundai shuffles its entry-level lineup
The biggest decision you might have to face with the Hyundai Accent is whether you prefer the sedan over the hatchback or the other way around. Suit yourself.
Both deliver on the attributes which make either Accent the smart choice among subcompact cars. But, for purposes of this review we’ll concentrate on the sedan version.
For 2008, the Accent sedan boasts three trim levels, although there has been some minor reshuffling from the ‘07 lineup in the process. Last year’s version came in GL, GL Comfort and GLS trim.
But now there’s a base L model to start things off, essentially replacing the GL as the entry-level choice. The former GL Comfort disappears, leaving just the GL as a mid-range model, and the top-line GLS loses its five-speed manual transmission offering — now available only with a standard four-speed automatic for 2008.
The four-door L starts at $14,295. Add another $1,000 if you want the optional four-speed auto. Moving up, the GS begins at $15,745 while the GLS carries an $18,145 sticker price.
This adds up to value as the little front-wheel-drive sedan looks and feels like it costs much more than it does.
An eight-way adjustable driver’s seat is high-rent stuff, as are standard tinted windows, a handy 60/40-split fold-down rear seat, and dual cupholders in both the front centre console and rear-seat centre armrests.
Rear seat room is simply excellent, as is trunk space.
The engine is a torque-rich, 1.6-litre 4-cylinder rated at 110 horsepower that’s a good match for the optional 4-speed automatic transmission. The standard 5-speed manual works well, though it does have longish throws between gears.
Nothing out of the ordinary on the chassis, or on the steering and suspension side, but it’s the end product that counts, and the Accent delivers a solid feel on the road. The ride is slightly firm, but the body doesn’t lean much and this appealing little sedan takes corners very confidently.
Another of the Accent’s defining traits is bigger than average feet. 185/65R14 tires are standard on the L and GL, while the GLS rides on bigger 195/55 rubber with 15-inch wheels.
The subcompact segment in Canada is alive with tough competitors these days. Witness the Honda Fit and Nissan’s Versa, not to mention the Suzuki Swift, Chevrolet Aveo, Pontiac Wave, Toyota Yaris and Kia Rio.
In this category, Hyundai sees the Yaris as its main rival and, in typical Hyundai fashion, it’s taking on the Toyota with a bigger car, and more stuff for the money. Now it looks ready to also compete on quality, and in the “fun factor” sweepstakes.
2008 Hyundai Accent