LOS ANGELES, October 29, 2015 — Surprising is the word that kept coming up for exterior and interior design as well as performance and fuel efficiency in the stunning 2015 Hyundai Accent and its near twin, the brand new 2016 Accent, which is already available this fall in dealer showrooms.
What could be better than being able to afford a brand new ride (both the 2015 and 2016 models have a base MSRP is just $14,745)) that looks attractive, is equipped with loads of standard near luxury features, has better-than-average performance for a compact and gets 27 mpg city and 38 mpg hwy?
The hot-looking exterior makes it not your Mother’s subcompact. Available in both sedan and hatchback models, the 2016 Accent has only slight changes outside, which means both the 2015 and 2016 Accent can show up just about anywhere and show you off with its sporty appeal. Somehow, Hyundai exterior design engineers got it all right in the new Accent from the pointy nose to the sculpted side lines to the cat eye windows to the bootylicious back side to the standard 16-inch steel wheels.
In yet another surprise, the Accent’s roomy interior has a sporty, yet near luxury feel as well. Much like a well-dressed Ford, the Hyundai Accent has a masculine-inspired minimalist design that just works — most notably on the piano-black wing-tip-shaped console surrounded by good-looking burnished metal accents. All is well in the world as you sit in the Accent’s driver’s cockpit. The cozy seat, excellent steering wheel (with thumb controls), gauges, arm rest and console controls are exceedingly ergonomic and stylish at the same time – even the interior door designs add visual interest to this “cheap” ride.
Hyundai also happily made certain to include not one but two deep and perfectly-placed media hubs for smartphone charging, keeping and using (just don’t text and drive!) your digital devices. A deep well next to the emergency brake neatly held my LG 64 securely and within easy reach.
We were not impressed with the 2015 Accent’s small infotainment screen. However, the six-speaker, 172-watt sound system rocked each and every drive, especially with built-in CD/MP3 player, iPod/auxiliary jacks and Sirius XM satellite radio. Available Bluetooth connectivity also lets drivers make hands-free calls, stream music and access other smartphone information using the audio system or steering wheel controls.
Power was also surprisingly not disappointing. Although the 2015 Hyundai Accent’s 1.6-liter engine and six-speed transmission at times ran rough through lower gears, this zippy compact has more than enough acceleration and power to get through LA’s urban traffic, fast freeways and even Hollywood Hill’s steep and curvy hills. All other driving dynamics such as steering, handling and braking were excellent and made driving a brand new Accent feel more like a luxury vehicle rather than an affordable compact sedan or hatch.