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Old 08-11-2011, 03:52 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Hyundai, Your Accent Has a Pleasing Ring to It




Quote:
magine hearing a scream and looking out a fifth-story window to witness, helplessly, a mugging on the street below. That's how I felt last week driving the 2012 Hyundai Accent Five-Door, the Korean company's freshly redesigned subcompact hatchback (sedan style also available).

There, on the sidewalk, getting its precious little Hello Kitty head handed to it, was the Toyota Yaris. No! Don't kick it there! I can't watch. To be fair, the current-model-year Yaris is as obsolete as Bret Michaels. Toyota is bringing an all-new subcompact to the U.S. by the end of the year. But early reports suggest that car will have a 1.5-liter engine under the hood—figure no more than about 110 hp—to go against the Accent, with its tech-intensive 1.6-liter, all-alloy, 138-hp four-cylinder with direct injection and variable induction.

Hyundai is thumping a lot of its competitors lately. The new Elantra compact outsold each of the Japanese small three (Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, Honda Civic) in June, and the company's U.S. retail market share is up 0.7% in June, year-to-date, led by the all-star Sonata. Incentives on Elantra and Sonata are practically nonexistent; residual values and transaction prices are way up; and dealerships can barely keep the cars on the lot. Hyundai averaged 23 days' supply of cars in June, as compared with the industry average of 51.

So said the blustery PowerPoint presentation at the press conference here in Charleston, S.C. The company's marquee number is "40," as in the highway fuel economy of four of its models (Sonata Hybrid, Elantra, the new Accent, and the soon-to-arrive compact coupe Veloster).

Add up all the 40-mpg Focuses and Fiestas Ford sold between January and June, throw in all the 40-mpg Chevy Cruzes and all the Smart Cars sold, and the total is still less than a third of the number of Elantras sold. Just Elantras. Somebody call a cop.

My point: The redesigned Accent enters the market on a kind of brand bounce marketers can only dream of. But we should be wary of confirmation bias, the phenomenon of selectively reading evidence in order to confirm our prejudices. Yes, the company is doing good things and, at the moment, it is swimming in currency. That kind of success is prejudicial, in the same way that strong box-office numbers tend to make people think a play is good when it is, in fact, lame (I'm looking at you, "Sister Act").
But there's no rule that everything Hyundai builds is going to be good. Indeed, Hyundai's recent success makes me want to be even more skeptical of the Accent. After all, not too long ago—before it was J. Fred Muggs—Toyota was the 800-pound gorilla. So let's hold off on giving Hyundai the OBE, or the Presidential Medal of Freedom, or the Star of Zanzibar. Let's see if Hyundai's got some long-distance legs.
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Hyundai Motor America





2012 Hyundai Accent Five-Door SE

  • Price as tested:$15,795
  • Powertrain:Direct-injection DOHC 1.6-liter, 16-valve inline four cylinder with variable valve timing and variable-length intake runners; six-speed manual transmission; front-wheel drive
  • Horsepower/torque: 138 hp at 6,300 rpm/123 pound-feet at 4,850 rpm
  • Length/weight:162.0 inches/2,430 pounds
  • Wheelbase: 101.2 inches
  • 0-60 mph: 9.5 seconds (est.)
  • EPA fuel economy: 30/40/34 mpg, city/highway/combined
  • Cargo capacity: 21.2 cubic feet


This is me, being skeptical.
The Accent is certainly formidable, numerically: 40-mpg highway mileage, class-leading horsepower and torque (138 hp and 123 pound-feet at 4,850 rpm), and ingenious packaging, especially in the five-door model, with best-in-class cargo volume (21.2 cubic feet), better even than the brilliant Honda Fit. And with a reported curb weight of 2,430 pounds, the Accent five-door also has the lowest weight-to-power ratio (17.6 pounds/hp) in its class.

And, as with all Hyundais of recent vintage, the Accent's price inflicts serious bodily harm on competitors, with a generous tranche of standard features even on the budget-bound GLS sedan with auto transmission ($15,195). Gear includes six airbags, four-wheel disc brakes, stability control, hill-start assist and ECO mode (fuel-saving throttle and transmission mapping), satellite radio with MP3/USB jacks, power windows/doors/side mirrors. Toss another $1,300 at the car and you get Bluetooth with voice recognition, cruise control, chrome and piano-black interior accents, fog lights, 16-inch alloy wheels and more.

Whether all this equipment tallies up to a good car is another question. But subcompact shoppers are going to have a hard time resisting the Accent's on-paper value.

As for styling? Well, that's more easily resisted. Subcompacts are especially hard to make look like anything, The Ford Fiesta—stubby and wedged dramatically forward, rather like Alexander McQueen's armadillo high heel—is the segment's hands-down style winner. The Honda Fit, still hugely charismatic after these many years, has the look of a .22 short round. The daft, toothless Mazda2 looks like it runs a meth lab in Fontana.
The Accent features the upswept "fluidic styling" of the Elantra and Sonata and Genesis coupe. But, after a long walk-around, I have to say the Accent is merely attractive. Fiesta wins the swimsuit competition.

The Accent's inner life is better, with a cabin shiny with metal-painted plastics, quality synthetics and fabrics, all arranged around a Cruze-like dual-cowl dash design. Hyundai declined to offer a nav system in the Accent, since few buyers at this price point opt for one (may I show you an Elantra, madam?). Even so, the Hyundai looks rich with content, and my loaded test car seemed to have more buttons than a band uniform.

How does it drive? I wish I could tell you. Hyundai elected to stage the Southeast regional introduction in Charleston, S.C., and I spent most of a rainy morning driving down straight, oak-shrouded byways. The car certainly is unusually quiet, even as it cut through the dense, humid air of the Palmetto State. The powertrain refinement is excellent for this segment. I drove the six-speed manual model—it's nice that they even offer one—but the auto-equipped cars have the fuel-saving ECO program button, which smooths out the throttle response and transmission shifting.
With its low-rolling-resistance tires (a fuel-saving measure), torsion-beam rear axle and fluffy suspension settings, the Accent obviously has moderate sporting intentions. That said, it does have some spirit, particularly when you rouse all the hamsters.

Giants stumble. The mightiest ships at sea hit icebergs. For every Joe DiMaggio, there's always a 57th game. And I am still not entirely persuaded that Hyundai is a great car company. Still, with the Accent, there's no denying: The streak continues.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...tos_LS_Autos_2
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Old 08-11-2011, 04:28 PM   #2
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I find it amusing that the writer tries to make Hyundai sound like they have ulterior motives. Honestly I like what Hyundai's been doing lately and I think this is the time of Hyundai and Ford, as the previous decade was the time of Honda and Toyota.

I'm doubtful any company will retain that title for more than a few years at a time as it's a sales industry just like any other - people buy what's in at the time.
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:18 PM   #3
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Ya, South Korea is the new Japan. They are starting to make the best products out there for the money.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:51 PM   #4
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Very nice looking. So this is the Hyundai equivalent to the Forte correct? I'll have to swing by the show room and check these out. The 6mt is a huge plus, way to go Hyundai.
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:19 PM   #5
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See, how hard was that? They managed 138BHP out of a 1.6L without revving it to 7k. I've been watching and waiting for someone to build a decent 1 and a half liter engine and it's offering a 6spd manual with good MPG. The handling probably needs to be upgraded to accomplish anything fun but that is the norm.
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:30 PM   #6
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Why is 0-60 about a second slower than it should be with that hp/lb?
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:02 PM   #7
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9.5 seconds (est.)
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:37 PM   #8
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Hyundai just nailed the compact car perfectly. I saw one of these in five door trim drive by today and it was phenomenal looking to these unfamiliarized eyes (same double take I did when the previous gen legacy first hit the road). This car weighs less than the previous gen Corolla and Civic, with more power, more torque, and less fuel consumption. Most impressive to me though is 4 wheel disk in this class at that price. Toyota has slipped, Honda has slipped, Nissan was never there, Ford has made two mostly great products, but has overpriced them, and undersized it in the case of the Fiesta.
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Old 08-13-2011, 02:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derbagger View Post
Why is 0-60 about a second slower than it should be with that hp/lb?
I would assume the transmission has some very docile gearing to eek out mileage. My Fusion does it in something like 8.5 and (doing some quick top gear maths) I believe it has less power to weight.
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Old 08-14-2011, 10:15 AM   #10
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Stronger competition, generally means the others will step up your game. Waiting....
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Pointy_Rock View Post
I find it amusing that the writer tries to make Hyundai sound like they have ulterior motives. Honestly I like what Hyundai's been doing lately and I think this is the time of Hyundai and Ford, as the previous decade was the time of Honda and Toyota.
Building better cars for less money never goes out of style, and Hyundai's the one doing it.

The question is not whether Hyundai's gone too far, but if the rest are willing to do what it takes by reducing their prices, or stepping up their execution to match and beat Hyundai at their own game?
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:04 PM   #12
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Gf tried one recently when comparing new hatches to go with.

Seemed nice for the price, apart from the fact the auto we drove (didnt have a manual) was far more gutless than the specs would make you believe.
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Old 08-16-2011, 01:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Obsessive View Post
9.5 seconds (est.)
I understand its an estimate, but it's like they were using a calendar.
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Old 08-16-2011, 01:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by im2lazy789 View Post
Hyundai just nailed the compact car perfectly. I saw one of these in five door trim drive by today and it was phenomenal looking to these unfamiliarized eyes (same double take I did when the previous gen legacy first hit the road). This car weighs less than the previous gen Corolla and Civic, with more power, more torque, and less fuel consumption. Most impressive to me though is 4 wheel disk in this class at that price. Toyota has slipped, Honda has slipped, Nissan was never there, Ford has made two mostly great products, but has overpriced them, and undersized it in the case of the Fiesta.
I agree, GJ Hyundai. Especially the 4 wheel disk brakes, drum brakes are trash. I'll pay the couple hundred bucks extra for the factory disks. The easier DIY maintenance alone is worth it. And of course all of the other points are good too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Pointy_Rock View Post
I would assume the transmission has some very docile gearing to eek out mileage. My Fusion does it in something like 8.5 and (doing some quick top gear maths) I believe it has less power to weight.
It's a 6spd, they can gear it for brisk acceleration in the first 4 and still have tall top gears for cruising. It should get 0-60 in the 8 second range with that P:W. But who cares in a car like this .
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