Hyundai advances the cause and stature of its 5-door subcompact
The five-door subcompact is one of the automotive world’s most efficient formats. The new-generation of subcompacts add another level to their positive position: subcompacts are no longer penalty boxes. Along with their thriftiness and efficiency, subcompacts now offer the refinement, styling, and features previously reserved for larger automotive formats.
The current-generation Hyundai Accent hatchback debuted for model-year 2012. That model, and the 2013 version we tested here, doesn’t really stand out from its competitors in any discernible way. However, that’s not saying the 2013 Hyundai Accent hatchback isn't one great little car, just that it’s one honour student in a class suddenly filled with top-scoring academics.
Price as tested
Like most 5-doors, the 2013 Hyundai Accent hatchback has a “price leader” version (the $13,749 “L” trim) that nobody really buys mostly because it’s unavailable with an automatic transmission and air conditioning. If you want auto and air-con you have to step up to the GL, and hand over $17,099.
Our tester was a top-rung GLS trim 2013 Hyundai Accent with an automatic transmission at $18,949. And don't forget Hyundai's prominent Freight and Destination ding, at $1,495.
All Accents feature a great new engine: the 1.6L Gamma I4 with direction injection, dual continuously variable valve timing, and a maintenance-free timing chain. It pumps out 138 horses and 123 lb-ft of torque. The 6-speed automatic transmission returns virtually the same great fuel efficiency as the 6-speed manual: 7.2 L/100 km city; 5.2L highway; 6.3L combined.
Other equipment highlights include:
The 16” wheels are only available on the GLS trim, otherwise you’re stuck with the decidedly more down-market 14” steel ones.
Much to like
There is a lot to like with this 2013 Hyundai Accent GLS hatchback. First and foremost (for me at least), was the styling: it’s a version of the “Fluid Sculpture” rendered on the rest of the Hyundai line, but seems to work well on the 2013 Hyundai Accent. Many friends and family members remarked on how sharp-looking this tester was.
The powertrain is very refined offering up smooth shifts and good throttle response. The only caveat would be that it doesn’t quite feel like 138 horses and 123 “torques.” Those power outputs are only available at 6,300 rpm and 4,700 rpm, respectively, so that could have something to do with it.
Steering is nicely weighted in the 2013 Hyundai Accent GLS, which is a pleasant surprise from the overly assisted feel of many of its competitors.
The ride in the 2013 Hyundai Accent GLS is a bit on the firm side and gives the car a secure, planted feel. The Accent doesn’t like being thrashed about at the limit, but otherwise it has decent handling with little body roll.
The interior is nicely turned out, with a style you will recognize from the Elantra, Sonata, etc. Seat fabric is comfortable and appears to be very durable.
The seat heaters work quickly and get quite hot, just as we like them.
Another thing about the interior of the 2013 Hyundai Accent GLS hatchback: there is a lot of it. The Accent hatchback feels larger than a subcompact, and the numbers reflect that. It has 2,552 litres of passenger volume, and 600 litres of cargo volume, which is much more than the Ford Fiesta, Mazda2 and Toyota Yaris, and only slightly down from the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa.
The rear seats fold forward in a flash to aid versatility (however, the Hyundai Accent hatchback doesn’t offer nearly as much space as the Fit, the class athlete in versatility and carry-all ability).
What we liked less
These items fall more into the “quibble” category than “problem” category, but here we go…
The rear-seating area in the 2013 Hyundai Accent GLS is somewhat tight, acerbated by seats that are kind of straight-backed and don't offer a recline adjustment.
The rear-suspension uprights narrow the cargo area at the sides in the 2013 Hyundai Accent GLS hatchback. It's also a foot or so drop into the cargo area, which makes it difficult to slide in larger items. Also, the rear seats don't fold forward completely flat, and there is industrial-grade plastic back there, as well.
Of note: the driver armrests don't really work, and the general lack of “soft touch” materials of any kind in the 2013 Hyundai Accent GLS hatchback cabin is rather disheartening.
Leather seating and navigation are not available on the 2013 Hyundai Accent GLS hatchback.
Good to go
Overall, the 2013 Hyundai Accent GLS hatchback is very hard not to like. It looks good, goes well, has great value and offers great efficiency in space and energy use. Like we said off the top: The Hyundai Accent is a good car in a good segment.