Hyundai’s Accent Range Expands for 20070
Hyundai‘s Latest Hatchback Introduced in Chicago
The latest hatchback Accent goes on sale in spring 2006, after being unveiled at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show. (The sedan went on sale in December 2005, as a 2006MY vehicle.) VehicleVoice and AutoPacific correspondents were on hand for the first look. Hyundai launched the Accent hatchback with a rap-oriented song-and-dance routine reminiscent of the ragged-edge youth marketing at Mitsubishi. The only thing missing were boom-boxes and rollerskates. But we digress.
The Accent seems dead on for the segment. These are small cars with a reputation for being the cheapest transportation around, but over the years small cars have benefited from expanding features and options available in larger cars and the Accent is no exception. There is stiff competition this year in the entry-car segment, and the all-new Accent goes up against several other freshly updated entries.
Though air conditioning is still an option on the base Accent, typical of the segment, Hyundai has ensured even its least-expensive entry gets six standard airbags. Touches that help the owner of a base car not feel like they’re in driver’s purgatory include standard intermittent wipers, rear spoiler, center console and lots of storage cubbies, 60/40-split/fold rear seats, and a rear defroster. The base price, excluding destination charges, is $10,915. Though not surprising that this price undercuts the also-new Toyota Yaris, the difference at launch is only $35.
Hyundai Boasts Most Power in Segment. . . Barely
The Accent three-door gets the same powertrain as the sedan, the 110HP 1.6L I4, which Hyundai correctly pointed out gives them more horsepower than the competition. But that advantage ranges only from 1HP to 6HP, as the Honda Fit offers 109HP, the Toyota Yaris 106HP, and both the Chevy Aveo and Scion xA 103HP. It’s unlikely that a 6HP difference would more than vaguely noticeable to any driver, much less 1HP, but these are technically legitimate bragging rights that can play on TV. Regardless of horsepower, this is a model year with lots of new product to pick from in the Economy Car segment. The Aveo was updated for 2007MY and the Yaris and Fit are new this model year as well. Scion’s xA is the oldest car in the segment, launched for the 2004MY.
Three Trim Levels for Accent Range
The Accent sedan, which launched in time for the 2006 model year, is offered only in one well-equipped GLS model, while there are two variations on the hatchback. The very basic is the GS, though it gets features like tachometer, rear-window defroster, intermittent wipers, rear spoiler, and, as with other Hyundai offerings, six standard airbags. The SE hatchback gets air conditioning (optional on GS), remote keyless entry, leather-wrapped steering wheel, lighted vanity mirrors, heated side mirrors, and power windows, mirrors and locks. The SE also gets a sport suspension (unique springs, strut valves, roll bar, and steering gear) that increases roll stiffness over the GLS sedan by 70 percent. All models get a standard five-speed manual transmission, though a four-speed automatic can be ordered.
The Accent can be ordered with more than thirty-five dealer- or port-installed accessories, with only the power sunroof and upgraded audio as factory-installed. Among the options are an iPod holder, ground effects kit, cold-air intake, metallic shift knobs, and interior LED light kits.