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Hyundai’s hatch with an accent

15.08.2014

I SPENT the better years of my youth in the backseat of a Hyundai Accent and every now and again I got dibs on the front passenger seat.

You see, my parents owned one of the first Hyundai Accents launched in SA. It was a humble car that did more than it should have. It had a few niceties, most notably the optional aircon my father had fitted.

But while humble in its approach, it was a capable machine that we dubbed, The Green Tick, because it was green and the registration was TCK 485 T.

Tasked with the daily commute and early morning school runs, my mother quickly racked up the mileage on The Green Tick as it became our choice vehicle for family holidays.

Sadly, it was written off after it was rear-ended, but the memories certainly remain, because every time I find myself behind the wheel of an Accent I’m filled with nostalgia.

That said, the new breed of Hyundai has taken the next step towards luxury and quality.

I recently test drove the new Hyundai Accent hatch and I’m left questioning why? Don’t get me wrong, the car is typical South Korean in its design work.

The problem is, where exactly does the Accent hatch fit in? The sedan sibling has its place in the market as an entry-level-type sedan for families with a reasonably attractive price tag. But, the hatch, surprisingly, costs more than its sedan brethren in a rather bold move.

Powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a six-speed manual, it does the necessary chores of going from standstill to 100km/h in 10.2 seconds, has a top speed of 190km/h and returns a claimed fuel consumption figure of 6.4 litres/100km.

It’s not a bad vehicle to drive, sporting the usual attire in terms of creature comforts and safety technology, although a fatter steering wheel would’ve added an element of class to the fray.

It’s a savvy run-around and handy commuter but playing in the segments between the popular i20 and i30 the Accent hatchback has got its work cut out for it as both the other vehicles have clearly defined segments.

Hyundai is going to have to convince the public that buying the Accent hatch for a R30 000 premium, over the sedan, is a good idea and that the car does, in fact, have its place in the market.

It’s certainly a confusing proposition paying that much more for the hatch, but if you look at it for what it is, it does offer charm and purpose. I can’t help but wonder... if only it had a different nameplate, like the i25.

 

Article written by Stuart Moir
15.08.2014
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