Hyundai's Accent slotted in the small-scale subcompact class looks like a streamlined, sporty car conforming to a family-friendly 4-door notchback sedan or a cargo-hauling 5-door hatchback.
For Accent's refreshed 2017 models, Hyundai adds a 4-door Value Edition packing a 6-speed automatic transaxle, 16-inch machine finish alloy wheels and Bluetooth hands-free phone system plus a low MSRP of $16,450.
Entry issue Accent SE fitted with a 6-speed manual shifter drives the MSRP even lower: $14,745 (4-door) or $14,995 (5-door).
Top model Accent Sport 5-door caps the MSRP chart at $17,495.
Beneath a strafed and canted front hood, each Accent trim version houses Hyundai's DOHC (dual-overhead-cam) in-line-4 Gamma engine which displaces 1.6 liters and has GDI (gasoline direct injection) plus Hyundai's DCVVT (dual continuously variable valve timing) equipment to balance the power output with thrifty fuel economy.
The Gamma plant generates 137 hp at 6300 rpm and torque of 123 lb-ft at 4850 rpm. And it musters some impressive fuel economy figures -- up to 27/37 mpg (city/highway) with the 6-speed manual.
For suspension, all versions of the 2017 Accent employ independent MacPherson struts up front with gas-charged hydraulic twin-tube shocks and stabilizer bar, and in the rear a torsion axle with coil springs and gas-filled monotube shocks.
Hyundai also packs a load of hardware for safety.
Each trim level stocks passive safety systems like front seatbelt pre-tensioners, front-seat active head restraints, frontal airbags and seat-mounted side impact airbags front and rear plus curtain-style air bags above outboard seats on the two rows.
Standard active safety systems include a disc brake at every wheel with electronic linkage to a 4-channel ABS (anti-lock brake system) with EBD (electronic brake force distribution), ESC (electronic stability control) and TCS (traction control system). Also, a VSM (vehicle stability management) device integrates control of the ESC and MDPS (motor-driven power steering) systems.
Accent's wedge-shaped body design appears keen and slick with crisp lines and sparse chrome. The prow sports corner lamp clusters (with available boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights for Accent Sport) flanking the narrow hexagonal grille. The body features a fast-sloping prow and raked windshield leading over the arching roof to a fast-sloping rear window (4-door) or blunted rump (5-door) with LED taillight assemblies wrapping around rear corners and a body-colored bumper swooping low with the exhaust pipe tucked beneath.
Accent's wheelbase -- measuring the distance between front and rear axles -- stretches to 101.2 inches. The overall length from prow to trunk measures up to 172 inches and the body width expands to 66.9 inches. These linear dimensions combine to forge a surprisingly spacious passenger compartment containing approximately 90 cubic feet with cargo space of 13.7 cubic feet (4-door) or 21.2 cubic feet (5-door).
The layout of the cabin shows a pair of bucket seats up front and a bench in back with two articulated seat positions but room for three in a pinch. Headroom amounts to 39.9 inches up front and 37.2/37.8 inches (4-door/5-door) in back, with front-seat legroom stretching to 41.8 inches.
The driver sits in a comfortable form-fitting bucket which adjusts to fit even a large frame, with seat height in tall stance to set up excellent visibility through the windows.
All of the controls -- handy in positions either left on the door, right on the console or ahead on the instrument panel -- set in logical positions and operate easily.
The surfaces for dash and door, clad in a soft-touch synthetic material, feel refined, even sophisticated, which is certainly unexpected in this conservative class.
Standard content for the price-leading Accent SE ranges from 14-inch steel wheels to air conditioning, power controls for windows and exterior mirrors, power door locks with remote keyless entry device, a tilting steering wheel, 6-way adjustable driver seat, 60/40 split folding rear seatback, 2-speed intermittent wipers and rear window defroster with a timer.