Hyundai has launched its new Accent hatchback to the South African market. The all-new Hyundai Accent Hatchback slots between the i20 and the i30, making it an interesting offering for consumers who may not be able to afford the i30.
Features and safetyThe Hyundai Accent hatchback is a decent looking vehicle, but its strength is unreal levels of specification coupled to a refined 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine. There's steering wheel-mounted audio controls, USB/aux ports for multimedia, integrated Bluetooth which enables phone calls and music streaming, height adjustable steering wheel, height-adjustable driver's seat, four-speed air conditioner, and park distance control.
Interestingly, there's no cruise control but for this amount of money, it's not a train smash. There is however, a full-size spare wheel - something which can be regarded as a necessity on South Africa's potholed roads.
The car's cabin is rather practical and there are a few clever storage places which are handy to put house keys and mobile phone. The back seats fold down in a 60:40 split, which then makes the luggage area a commendable 370 litres. Safety features for the new Hyundai Accent Hatchback include driver and passenger airbags, side/curtain airbags along with ABS with EBD. This vehicle score five stars on the Australian version of the NCAP test.
Engine and gearboxThe 1.6-litre engine has 91 kW and 156 Nm on tap, making it rather potent on paper. This engine has been tuned for fuel economy however, and the Hyundai Accent Hatchback is claimed to consume just 6.4l/100km, while its automatic sibling goes through 6.8l/100km. Speaking of automatic, there are two transmission offerings.
There's a decent six-speed manual and a four-speed automatic. The number of ratios in the automatic is a puzzling one, surely we've progressed beyond this antiquated technology? My advice is to stick with the manual - it's a slick-shifting pleasant affair.
As mentioned earlier, the Hyundai Accent Hatchback fits between the popular i20 and i30. “The Accent hatchback fits in very well in the local Hyundai range between the i20 and i30 hatchbacks – not only in terms of price, but also when it comes to interior space for passengers as well as luggage storage,” says Stanley Anderson, marketing director at Hyundai Automotive South Africa.
Ride and handlingOur launch route took us from Spier Wine Estate in the Western Cape up to Malmesbury and Riebeek Kasteel. Despite the car's small engine, it felt adequate and enough grunt. I'd be keen to see how the Hyundai Accent Hatchback performs at Jhb altitudes though. The steering is very light, thanks to a new motorised assistance system, which makes low-speed maneuvers a breeze. This car is effortless to drive on the open road and it feels like a premium product. It's a pleasant enough drive and ideal for those who just want a comfortable and practical hatchback, without any brand pretentiousness.
Hyundai Accent Hatchback (2014) price in South AfricaAccent Hatch 1.6 Fluid (manual) R 234 900
Accent Hatch 1.6 Fluid (auto) R 244 900A 5 year/150 000 km warranty, 5 year/90 000 km service plan and 5 year/150 000 km roadside assistance is part of the Hyundai Accent Hatchback package. Service intervals are 15 000 km.