2011 Hyundai AccentEnlarge Photo
From the looks of things, Hyundai may have the busiest product development team in the business. In just the past 12 months, they've launched the new Tucson, Sonata, Equus, and Elantra. The all-new Veloster and redesigned Azera will also hit showrooms soon. This didn't stop them from providing a thorough makeover for the entry-level Accent, which made it's first North American appearance at the Montreal Auto Show in mid-January.
Hyundai remade the Accent in the image of the Ford Fiesta. Like the Fiesta, the Accent comes only in four-door sedan or five-door hatchback body styles. The Accent now employs Hyundai's “Fluidic Sculpture” design language which means curved lines and sharply creased highlights. The sedan's roofline arcs more smoothly than before and the hatchback gains high-mounted wraparound taillights.
As they did with its other models, Hyundai engineers gave the Accent major upgrades under the hood. The Accent has an all-new 1.6-liter engine with Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI), a class-exclusive for North America. Both automatic and manual transmissions are six-speeds. Traction control, stability control and anti-lock brakes are all standard.
While the Accent's exterior grows only slightly with the new design, Hyundai claims its interior dimensions are large enough for Canada's government to classify it as a compact, not subcompact car. Hyundai also says the Accent will achieve best in class highway fuel economy of 4.7 L/100 km. Although Hyundai hasn't stated the new Accent's fuel economy in miles per gallon yet, it's safe to say it's 40 mpg or greater, since that is the current best-in-class. Hyundai also promises to hold pricing close to the current model.
Hyundai CEO John Krafcik told Jalopnik that this new Accent will “kick Fiesta's butt”. Only time and test drives will bear out that statement, but it's clear the new Accent has the vital stats to take on any comer in the subcompact class.