2020 Hyundai Accent Review
  • Car Review

2020 Hyundai Accent Review

By Autolist Editorial | November 23, 2020

Quick Facts:

Pros:

  • Agile handling and economical engine.
  • Upmarket exterior styling.
  • Limited trim has many standard features.
  • Excellent warranty coverage.

Cons:

  • Few available driver safety aids.
  • Rivals have more stylish and practical interiors.

Would we buy one? Yes.

Vehicle Type: Subcompact five-passenger sedan.

Price Range: $16,270-$20,375 including destination, before options.

Powertrain: A 120-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder gas engine paired with a 6-speed manual transmission and front-wheel-drive.

A single-speed CVT automatic transmission is available.

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Overall Score: 7.1/10

Safety Features: 6/10

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The 2020 Hyundai Accent is considered average for its class in crash safety and driver assistance features. It's uniformly better in most respects than the Mitsubishi Mirage, while it lags behind the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris in a few critical ways.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested the Hyundai Accent for crashworthiness and other safety fields like headlights and child seat anchor usability. Overall, the IIHS awarded the Accent its 'Top Safety Pick' designation due to its good all-around scores. From the Honda Fit to the Chevrolet Sonic to the Toyota Yaris, none of the Accent's popular competitors received this award.

Things were not to the Accent's advantage when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tested it. The Hyundai sedan received four stars overall out of five, which is very good, but the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris got five out of five stars. In fact, of the twelve subcategories NHTSA tests cars in, the Honda Fit scored a five in every category except one, in which it received a four. The Accent did better in its NHTSA testing than the Mitsubishi Mirage, which fared the most poorly, but it cannot match the Fit's scores.

Relative to other small new cars in its class, the Hyundai Accent's safety technology is about average. Subcompact cars do not tend to have much in the way of standard driver safety features, as those can raise the price quickly, and this segment is all about affordability. Airbags and a rearview camera are standard.

Shoppers wanting any driver safety features will want to go for at least the Hyundai Accent SEL trim, which has a blind-spot mirror. For tech, buyers will need to upgrade to the Limited trim level. That level comes with a forward-collision warning system and automatic emergency braking. The Toyota Yaris comes with that technology standard on its lowest trim level, which is rare.

Certain trims of the Honda Fit have Honda Sensing, a suite of driver safety aids including forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane-keep assist. Overall, the Accent has decent features considering the Limited trim's roughly-$20,000 pricing; we wish those collision-avoidance features came standard across the lineup.


Value: 6/10

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Value is a mixed bag with the 2020 model year Accent. It checks the standard boxes, with a low starting price and excellent fuel economy, two things that are common amongst all subcompact cars that people generally buy if they are seeking affordable transportation. It has a lower starting MSRP than the Chevrolet Sonic sedan, Honda Fit hatchback, and Toyota Yaris sedan, but it costs more than the Chevy Spark and Mitsubishi Mirage. Fuel economy, which ranges from 26-33 mpg overall depending on trim, is about average for the class. It's a good starting point, but nothing stands out so far.

The Accent has an average predicted reliability, too. Historically, some owners have had issues with the paint and trim quality.

According to Consumer Reports, the 2020 Accent gets a two out of five in predicted owner satisfaction. That is a good inside look at how owners feel about their vehicle and its value proposition.

So where, if anywhere, does the Accent excel? The answer is in its warranty. Hyundai, and its sister brand Kia, have been known to offer some of the lengthiest warranty periods of any manufacturer, which means owners have coverage against defects for longer than the average amount of time. It saves money, boosting the car's potential value.

The Accent gets Hyundai's best-in-class coverage, with a five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. There's also a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty that protects owners against spending money on any valid engine or transmission issues. Hyundai also gives owners a seven-year rust warranty, five years of roadside assistance, and three years or 36,000 miles of free scheduled maintenance.

Only the Mitsubishi Mirage has a similarly strong warranty. Still, the Mirage's lackluster scores in other areas like safety technology and cabin comfort take it out of the running as a value buy.


Tech Features: 7/10

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The Accent has useful tech features that again place it in the middle of the segment. The base Hyundai Accent SE has keyless entry, cruise control, air conditioning, a CD player, a four-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, an aux input, a five-inch touchscreen, and a USB port. By comparison, the Fit and Yaris each have a one-touch automatic driver window. The Yaris also has a push-button ignition, satellite radio, HD Radio, six speakers, a seven-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

As one ascends the Accent's trim levels and gets to the most feature-filled trim, the Limited, the differences narrow considerably between Hyundai and the competition. The Accent and the equivalent top-of-the-line Fit have heated seats, while the Yaris doesn't. Neither the Honda nor Toyota have the Accent Limited's remote engine starter. The Fit outdoes the competition with its navigation system and adaptive cruise control. The Accent has a seven-inch infotainment screen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Here again, some rivals are more substantial feature-wise than the Accent, but it remains a competitive option.


Practicality: 6/10

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The Hyundai Accent is a subcompact sedan, so it is practical enough to carry four adults in reasonable comfort, and it has a 13.7-cubic-foot trunk, which is good. The Accent is a decent people carrier overall. The leg room is good. It has dual cup holders between the front seats and bottle holders in the front doors. There is also a non-locking glove compartment and a small center console storage bin.

While it's practical enough for daily use, the Accent doesn't have any outstanding features that make it wholly more practical or versatile than its subcompact competitors. The Honda Fit is a hatchback, which gives it a large cargo opening. The Fit also has a second-row seat that folds in various ways, which helps expand cargo space.


Styling & Design: 8/10

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Styling is one of the Accent's strong suits. It's one of the better-looking subcompact cars on the market, with a style that makes it look like a larger and more expensive car. Meanwhile, competitors from Chevrolet, Mitsubishi, and Toyota fall more into the economy-car department. The Accent's large, angled headlights and aggressive grille give it a sporty look, and the sleek body styling continues to the taillights, with great proportions all around. The Accent's rear looks particularly upmarket, bringing it in line stylistically with the compact Hyundai Elantra.

Inside the cabin, the Accent isn't as stylish as rivals like the Toyota Yaris. The Yaris has perhaps the most upscale interior in the class, with high-quality materials and a sporty dashboard layout. The Accent has a straightforward interior style, with subtle flourishes of metal-look trim around the dashboard. Design-wise, everything is simple to access and operate. The Accent has a large, well-placed steering wheel. The touchscreen is built into the center stack, which gives it some protection from sunlight and makes it easy to view.

The rear seats are split-folding, which allows owners to expand the cargo area. There is cloth trim lining every door, which is nicer than the low-quality plastic some rivals include.


Driving Experience: 8/10

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Driving the Accent is one of the better aspects of the small car. It has a 120-horsepower four-cylinder engine that makes 113 pound-foot of torque. It provides adequate power, thanks in part to a low curb weight. It's more potent than the Yaris and its 106 horsepower, though it is less than the 130 horses on tap with the Fit. Like the Yaris and Fit, a six-speed manual transmission comes standard with the Accent. Its FWD drivetrain isn't as sporty as the others, with slower shifts and a heavier clutch. Nonetheless, it works quite well in day-to-day driving.

The Accent has excellent handling, which is second only to the Yaris. It has a turning diameter of 33.5 feet. The Accent is a breeze to park, with a short wheelbase, tight handling, and good outward visibility. It offers good steering feel that nicely balances road feel with comfortable cruising.

It's reasonably comfortable on the road, too. The Accent has a soft suspension and a quiet ride, which matches its more upmarket exterior styling.


Fuel Efficiency: 9/10

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The Hyundai Accent has excellent fuel economy. With its standard manual transmission, the base model gets an EPA-estimated 29/39/33 mpg city/highway/combined. The other trims, with their continuously variable automatic transmissions, do better, getting 33/41/36 mpg city/hwy/combined.
The Honda Fit gets 31 mpg combined with its manual transmission and 33 mpg with the automatic. The Yaris gets an even better 34 mpg with the manual and 35 mpg with the automatic.

The Accent's fuel economy figures are some of the best of any car outside of a hybrid or electric vehicle, making it an excellent choice for the frugally-minded.


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