DRIVING WITH AN ACCENT
2012 Hyundai Accent GLS
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Mon, Mar 26, 2012
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Story by Doug Stokes Photos by the author and courtesy Hyundai Of course, it may not be your concern, but I actually waste a lot of money on car magazines each year. I don’t read the car reviews—which means that you’ll have to tell me if the rest of the people who wrote about the new Hyundai Accent GLS were as pleased with this machine as I was. “Good” as used here in relationship to the Accent GLS means just that. This car is well and truly (honestly) good—as in nothing bad, stupid, underdone, overdone, fussy, or silly. I got into this car and asked it to do something that would make me wonder about it, dislike it, not enjoy my week (and a bit under 300 miles of driving as it turned out) behind the wheel in this one and what I got back was a good experience all around.
The price strikes one’s eye early-on here. $16,625 is a mighty interesting price for a car that comes so fully-equipped as this GLS model does. A few seconds later the mind catches up, and, after looking over the warranty, the heart is informed that it is okay to not only look, but consider for purchase. Lead off by Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and followed in close order by a five-year/60,000-mile new vehicle, a seven-year/unlimited mileage anti-perforation, and five years of roadside assistance, there seems to be a high level of confidence in the product evidenced by the manufacturer. As for the drive itself, this machine is every bit a modern four-door compact with good road manners and enough under the hood to do what needs to be done, long run or short blast.
Honestly, the only thing that took any acclimating at all for me was the steering feel, which felt (pardon the technical jargon here) “different” for about half a day. All car companies decide on what they want one’s hands to know about the road and cornering forces, with the Accent I was a little off-center (for me personally) when the car was on-center (pointed straight on down the road), but after the above-noted first hour or three (even in some very strong cross-winds out Corona way) the car and I were in full agreement that this much movement of the steering wheel would produce this much directional change. Everyone reading this knows that the Hyundai Accent GLS is not an ultra-luxury car, however, it’s as fully-contented as many of them were only scant years ago. All-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, a 6-speed automatic transmission, a 138 horsepower, 123 pound-feet of torque 1,600cc engine with variable valve timing and direct fuel injection (more on that shortly), AM/FM/CD/MP3/XM 6-speaker sound system (with USB aux capabilities), electronic stability control, and more, are all standard here. The “premium package” adds a modest $1,300 to the $15,195 base price and includes such niceties as remote keyless entry, fog lights, cruise control, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, and a set of sporty alloy wheels mounted with 16-inch P195/50R tires for a more aggressive look and sportier handling.
Your favorite uncle, you know Sam, over in D.C., indicates on the window sticker that you can expect to get 30 miles to the gallon around town and 40 (!) out on the open road. Your results may vary, but the framework is set for getting some pretty good distance out of each gallon of gasoline. Those numbers are due in no small way to the fact that this Hyundai has direct fuel injection (Hyundai calls it GDI). Not to get overly technical, but direct injection is as much of an advance as fuel injection itself was 25 years or so ago. With the “direct” approach, fuel is delivered right into the engine’s combustion chamber in exactly the correct amount at precisely the right moment in time. This kind of micromanagement of the fuel not only produces the above excellent mileage numbers, but somewhat more horsepower (for the same size engine) and better engine flexibility.
Combine direct injection with infinitely variable valve timing, and a slick-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission, all standard in the Accent GLS, and you have a car that never feels out of breath, out-gunned, or inadequate in any traffic situation. Again, the dissemination of technology has made once “exotic” equipment (transistors, GPS, mobile phones, edible undies) available to darn near everyone. Direct gasoline injection was solely within the purview of extreme high-zoot, top-dollar manufacturers like Porsche only a year or two ago. Hyundai leads the way here making GDI standard across the Accent line and making a statement at the same time. And, this car’s low price is surely not belied by the styling. The look is smart, not flashy, but every line is (as they say in the studios) “fully realized” … which means that two or three years down the road, no one is going to be looking at this car saying, “I wonder why they did THAT?” to themselves.
The GLS is the least expensive of the Accent line with the SE version the top of the line. I went to the Hyundai website to see how much more I could spend on an Accent and found that, by punching every button on the site (mudguards, package tray, and I-don’t-know-what-else), the very most expensive version I could version build ticketed out at a still-modest $17,995. The Accent was a very easy car to acclimate to and even easier to like. Dollar-for-dollar, pound-for-pound this Accent GLS comes out very good deal. And “good” as used here is NOT a bad word. For more information about Hyundai products, go to www.hyundai.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2012 Hyundai Accent GLS Price: $12,545, base price $15,195, base GLS $16,625, GLS, as tested, with Premium Package (remote keyless entry, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, cruise control, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, premium cloth seats, chrome inside door handle, high gloss accents, sunglass holder, sliding armrest storage box, 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights), carpeted floor mats and iPod cable EPA fuel economy rating 30 city/40 highway miles per gallon Engine: 1.8-liter GDI DOHC four-in-line with dual continuously variable valve timing Horsepower: 138 at 6300 rpm Torque: 123 pound-feet at 4850 rpm Transmission: 6-speed automatic with SHIFTRONIC® sequential manual mode Drive configuration: Front-wheel drive Steering: Power-assisted rack and pinion Suspension: MacPherson strut front independent suspension with stabilizer bar and torsion beam rear suspension Brakes: Ventilated front discs and solid rear discs, ABS, with electronic brake force distribution, and brake assist Wheels and tires: 16-inch alloy wheels with 195/50R-16 tires Dimensions Length: 172 inches Width: 66.9 inches Height: 57.1 inches Curb weight: 2396 pounds