A fun subcompact with a fresh colour | This is a car that suits the young urban lifestyle nicely.
It was only a couple of weeks ago that Canadian drivers were enjoying the tumbling prices of oil, which brought gas prices plummeting to 80 cents per litre. An acquaintance of mine who will remain anonymous, said that the cheap gas prices were actually persuading him to buy a used car with a big V8 under the hood. While he was busy looking at big V8s, I was busy enjoying the fuel savings while driving the 2015 Hyundai Accent SE with the Sport Appearance Package.
Painted in a bright and imposing Sunflower Yellow, the 2015 Accent definitely stands out. In a sea filled with Fifty Shades of Grey, the peppy and small yellow Accent can be found in a parking lot in a matter of seconds. Thanks to Hyundai’s fluidic sculpture that was introduced in 2012 and applied throughout their lineup, this yellow accent has the bodywork to match its demeanor. Long gone are the days of the Accent being cheap, ugly, and an overall penalty box. My particular Accent came equipped with the ‘Sport Appearance Package’ which is new for 2015 along with the Sunflower Yellow paint job, and comes with a sticker price of $18,849.
At this price, the SE features everything a GL model Accent includes but adds fog lights, a sunroof, and 16-inch alloy wheels. Although a combination of 16-inch wheels and the word ‘sport’ are rarely combined; the wheels on my tester had 50-series tires which did give them a fighting chance at being considered low-profile. Luckily, I did not find ride quality to be affected heavily by this, and the Accent was still able to provide a comfortable ride. While the exterior shies away from LED and bi-xenon niceties, I think the simplistic yet stylish exterior keep this Accent from trying to be something that it is not. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, sometimes we need entry-level cars to feel and look just as they were intended. The Accent is no exception.
Inside, the Hyundai Accent does remind you that you are in an entry-level vehicle. There is an abundance of hard plastics, the absence of navigation and leather, and the presence of a small digital screen. It is not all bad news, because this particular Accent has the aforementioned Sport Appearance Package. The sunroof does open up the cabin, and gives it seemingly more space and an overall airy feeling. The buttons, steering wheel and dash layout pay attention to both design and function.
While I would have enjoyed a thicker steering wheel, the one provided in the Accent did the job nicely. While hydraulic steering is quickly going the way of the manual, I am sure many would like some more work on maintaining some feedback through the wheel. The car does steer directly and precisely, which is especially good for those urban commutes this car excels at. The sound system in the Accent was very good and the easy-to-use system allowed me to pair my phone via Bluetooth in a matter of seconds. Call clarity was excellent and I found myself having no troubles whatsoever in relation to the system.
The seats featured in the Accent are quite nice, but I wasn’t really a fan of the fabric pattern. While the seats were comfy and did feature the ability to be heated, I did not find them as appealing to the eye as I would have liked. The rear seats split 60/40, and deliver 600 litres of cargo space. This number is perfectly adequate and the Accent will haul most small objects as well as help for those IKEA runs, but it’s important to mention that the new Honda Fit features just over double the amount of cargo volume. The Accent is definitely not on the low end with regards to cargo space, especially in the segment it’s nicely slotted in.
The 2015 Accent handles itself great in both dry and wintery conditions. Paired with a great set of Continental winter tires, the Accent did extremely well for itself during a large snowstorm. The setup is very predictable and having confidence while driving is something the Accent does very well. With 138 horsepower, the 1.6-litre dual overhead-cam engine has the most power in the segment, and the 123 lb-ft. of helps the Accent remain pretty responsive. The mill is peppy and decently quick, but engaging the ‘Active Eco’ button does dull the response quite a bit. For this reason I left Active Eco mode deactivated, but to my surprise, I was able to match the fuel ratings set for my tester.
With an almost even 50/50 city/highway split I averaged 7.9 L/100km, just 0.1 L/100km off the EPA rated 7.8L/100km average listed for the Accent. Additionally, the cold weather conditions and winter tires have an impact on economy. I’d actually go as far as to assume that in warmer weather with all-season tires, the Accent can surpass its estimated fuel economy numbers. The six-speed automatic transmission in this car is tuned to keep the revs on the lower end of the RPM range, which does great for fuel but not for responsiveness. I found that the car needed to downshift more than I would have liked in order to pass on the highway.
As gas prices are currently on their way back up, it made me realize that the Accent is a vehicle that should not be overlooked. The Accent can give you stylish looks at a decently low price, and is both efficient and roomy enough to move your stuff at a fraction of the cost of a V8 gas guzzler. While the 2015 Accent painted in all of its yellow glory may not be the car for me, I still enjoyed my time with it, and looking at receipts from gas stations I visited, I’d say it was well worth it. This is a car that suits the young urban lifestyle nicely, and we can’t wait to see what Hyundai has in store for the next one.