Hyundai’s 3rd 40_mpg rated automobile and for a price anyone can afford. [fimg=right]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/523/2012_Hyundai_Accent_Review_Pup.jpg[/fimg]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Feb. 5, 2012 2012 Hyundai Accent – $12,545 to start and rated at 30/40 mpgUS city/highway. With a little Cinnamon on top for her own first review Beginning with the release of the current generation Hyundai Sonata in 2011 and followed soon after with the just recently awarded 2012 North American Car of the Year winner in the form of the Elantra, Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture design language is setting the mid-size and compact sales charts on fire. The now famous design creates a sense of motion even when standing still and it was only a matter of time before Hyundai instilled the same award winning design language into their subcompact Accent. Meet the 2012 Hyundai Accent The all new, fourth-generation Accent is not only defined by its eye catching design, it is the first in its class to include a powerful direct injected 1.6L engine, a size above voluminous interior, Hyundai’s excellent 5-year/60,000 mile basic warranty, 10 years/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, 5-years/unlimited mileage roadside assistance warranty and a price the rest of the B-segment simply cannot match. Adding, a high level of content including such niceties as a sliding center console armrest, overhead sunglass holder, sewn cloth like textured headliner, 60/40 split fold down rear seats, damped glove box, front door map pockets and bottle holder, 6-way adjustable front seats, drivers seat rear pockets, cloth door inserts and an interior fuel fill door open lever are standard. 2012 Hyundai Accent Highlights Sewn cloth like textured headliner, sunglass holder and dual map lights. Most of the above is unusually high end content for a B-segment automobile and unheard of from the $16,765 (incl D&H) as tested 2012 Hyundai Accent SE. 2012 Hyundai Accent Specifications The 2012 Hyundai Accent is available in three trim levels, the 4-door GLS and 5-door GS and SE. Complete specifications, pricing, standard and optional equipment for the SE can be found on the 2012 Hyundai Accent SE – Specifications page. 2012 Hyundai Accent Exterior The new Accent appearance can be described in one word, "Sharp". Hyundai's Fluidic Sculpture From the front, it is the aggressively swept wraparound headlight lenses and optional fog lamp cutouts that grabs ones attention. Moving to the silhouette, the fluidic sculpture begins in force with its rising and extended beltline through the door handles and sculpted lower cutout. Moving to the rear, the large vertical taillamps and roof mounted rear spoiler give the impression of speed and size beyond its actual capability. On the aerodynamic front, wheels that are set deep up in the wheel wells and an engine underbody cover help the Accent achieve a 0.30 Cd. 2012 Hyundai Accent Interior The all new Accent is larger, more versatile and far more modern than its predecessor. While the interior plastics are a bit simplistic, not uncommon for the segment, it makes up for it with the previously mentioned textured headliner, sliding armrest, and numerous storage locations. With 90.1 and 21.2 cu. ft. of passenger and cargo volume respectively, the passenger space is as large as the 2012 Ford Focus! The top trim SE arrives with steering wheel mounted audio and Bluetooth hands free controls, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, all standard. The control knobs and switches and the fonts describing each are of medium size with a higher quality feel than some of its competitors. The central MFD between the tach and speedometer is classic Hyundai with white alphanumerics on a black background. While small, it is legible with a glance. The only failings I have experienced so far is the lack of a telescopic wheel has me reaching for the wheel, the dash plastics look inexpensive, the cloth seat material does not feel robust and installing a Scangauge requires removal of a lower dash plastic Fuse/OBD cover. Sightlines to the front are excellent but you cannot see the hood or front corners. To the rear, the C-pillar is in the way and the rear window is a bit small for a full view directly to the rear. 2012 Hyundai Accent SE 5-Door Hatch Versatility indeed. NVH? The 2012 Accent has been quieted in an attempt to beat its B-segment rivals which it does. When compared to the larger C and D-Segment brethren however, it has a level of noise intrusion that could be bothersome at 65 + or for hours on end behind the wheel. 2012 Hyundai Accent Infotainment There are two Audio systems including a base system that provides an AM/FM/Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system with tweeters and iPod/USB auxiliary input jacks. There is an optional 172 W AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system with six speakers, iPod/USB/auxiliary input jacks. In action, Bluetooth connectivity has been solid and basic voice control is satisfactory but not exemplary as sound quality is only average. Stereo output is similar with a decent output but nothing extraordinary. 2012 Hyundai Accent Drivetrain The true highlight of the all-new Accent is its all aluminum, offset crank and direct-injected 1.6L I4 with a DOHC controlling both the intake and exhaust valves. Not only does the 138 HP and 123 lb-ft. of torque 1.6L provide the lightweight Accent the best power to weight ratio in the B-Segment, when mated to either the all-new 6-speed AT or MT it achieves a 30/40 mpgUS city/highway rating. In practice, the powerful 1.6L has far more than enough power to get out of its way and when running at 1,500 to 2,050 RPM at 80 to 98% load during any acceleration will provide fantastic fuel economy. The Accent's 6-speed MT is a quick and a very smooth shifter from gear to gear but has a touch of notchiness. Enough so you can actually hear it move from gate to gate. Ride and Handling The 2012 Accent was provided with an almost 22% increase in rigidity compared to its predecessor thanks to 59% High Strength Steel construction, a reinforced front shock absorber housing, strengthened center pillar structure for added roof support and protection and a straightened connection between the rear spring mounting and vertical member. All come together to make for a decent corner carver. Turn in is a bit vague and the suspension is a bit soft but when pushed, it breaks loose predictably. That said, with pressed up tires, the suspension lacks the sophistication and isolation of some of its competitors. Rain grooved section of I-94 just north of the IL/WI border. A true highlight and a surprising one at that was the Accent did not tramline even a little. It was as solid as many midsize automobiles and was completely unexpected. 2012 Hyundai Accent Safety IIHS Crash Test Ratings The Accent brings to the table the standard front, side and side airbags. In addition, the front seats incorporate active head restraints. On the active side of the fence, 4-wheel disc brakes, ABS, Electronic stability control (ESC), Traction control (TRAC), Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBFD), and Hill-Start Assist (HSA) on the AT. The 2012 Accent has not yet been tested by the NHTSA and given the Average rating on the IIHS side impact crash tests, it is doubtful the 2012 Accent will earn a 5-star rating. 2012 Hyundai Accent Fuel Economy Results Initial and final top off. Notice the Accent’s gas cap holder? Few still offer this feature. [fimg=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/523/Speedway_to_Milwaukee_to_Speedway.jpg[/fimg]99.2 actual miles from Speedway in Gurnee, IL to downtown Milwaukee and back. Weather was just ok with dry but cold conditions. Temps ranged from 31 to 36 degrees F with 5 to 10 mph winds out of the ENE on the North-South route between the Gurnee, IL Speedway to Milwaukee, WI and back. In other words it was not exactly conducive to great fuel economy. Traffic was unusually heavy for a Saturday evening with upwards of 2-miles of stop and crawl just prior to reaching downtown Milwaukee. The congestion however was the type that was rolling between 5 and 30 mph so applying an anti wave P&G, it actually added another 1 mpg over those 2-miles prior to turning around vs. harmed the overall. I was expecting to barely touch 60 mpg when throwing the book at it given the conditions and oh boy was I wrong Final calcs: 99.2 miles/1.415 gallons = 70.106 mpgUS. While I still have to complete the steady state fuel economy results and a non-advanced aFCD offset calibration, Hyundai has yet another winner in its 40 mpgUS highway stable. On the initial top off, I could only add another 1.3 gallons before the top off occurred after first click so I am estimating the 12 Accent’s actual tank capacity is approximately 13 gallons vs. the 11.4 gallon tank spec. 2012 Hyundai Accent Early Conclusions Since this is Chicago Auto Show Week, I will be taking the Accent downtown at least three times with Step Child, Bestmapman and Msirach and they will add their own commentary. Ride is a bit rougher than I expected yet handling has so far proven itself to be better. Braking is a bit soft initially but linear and strong once past the first few mm. The Kumho Solus KH25 (Grand Touring All-Season) 195/50R16 tires do not roll worth a damn. One of these days, Hyundai is going to let loose and install some Ecopia EP20’s or Assurance FuelMax’s on their 40 mpg vehicles and then look out The 12 Accent EPS’s On-center feel is better than the “lack of” Elantra GLS and overly synthetic Elantra Limited’s. It is actually quite nice and on the rain grooved section of I-94 just across the IL/WI border (WI side), the short wheelbase Accent did not even flinch as if it were traveling on smooth asphalt. A non-issue for everyone. All in, if you are in the market for a B-segment, you had better not skip this one as it offers so much for so little and Hyundai backs it up with their new Trade In Assurance program let alone the over the top warranty.