In this case it was an existing gap in which the five-door Accent hatch fits perfectly in terms of size and pricing.
The design takes elements from its siblings - it shares a front end with the Accent sedan bar a few unique touches and at the rear there are hints of both the i20 and i30 to keep it within the Hyundai hatch stable. It also comes with a set of 16-inch alloy wheels that includes a full-size alloy spare wheel.
Inside is a host of standard features, as we have come to expect from the Koreans. These include steering wheel controls, electric side mirror and windows, rear parking sensors, iPod/USB/Aux ports in the centre consoleand Bluetooth audio and telephony.The seats fold in a 60:40 split to increase the 370-litre boot space.
The Accent is powered by a 91kW 1.6-litre petrol engine that can be coupled with either a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. I did not have the opportunity to drive the automatic, but can report that the manual derivative shifts smoothly and provides sprightly performance considering the altitude.
Revisions have been made to the manual gearbox, as well as the addition of a hydraulically controlled clutch while the sixth gear is there to provide fuel efficiency on the open road. The four-speed automatic transmission has a flat-type torque converter with a variable line pressure control disc-type return spring. As I did not try the gearbox, I will reserve judgement, but a four-speed gearbox doesn’t seem awfully modern in an era of eight- and nine-speed single-clutch transmissions.
Claimed fuel consumption is 6.4 litres/100km and CO2 emissions of 152g/km, which is believable as I managed 7.2 litres/100km on a test route that included a bit of hooning.
The ride quality and refinement is impressive thanks to the McPherson struts up front and a torsion beam axle at the rear along with lateral load compensation springs which provide reduced friction resistance on the struts. I am not the biggest fan of the artificiality of the new-generation electric power steering systems, but the weighting chosen for the Accent is pretty good - it isn’t light enough to create a vague steering feel or too heavy to try fool you into thinking you are driving a sports car.
The Accent hatch has received a five-starrating in the Australian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP). Some active safety features include ABS and EBD as well as driver and passenger airbags, side and curtain airbags and seatbelt pretensioners for the driver and front passenger’s safety belts.
The Hyundai Accent hatch comes with a 5-year/150 000km warranty and 5-year/90 000km service plan.
Accent Hatch 1.6 Fluid (manual) R 234 900
Accent Hatch 1.6 Fluid (auto) R 244 900