Hyundai Accent is all-new for 2012. If you see the 2011 and the 2012 versions side by side, they look like the products of two different car companies, they are so different. No longer a jelly-bean-shaped rental transport unit, the 2012 Hyundai Accent has grown up to be a real, modern car.
The 2012 Accent has been given a complete cosmetic makeover, with every panel on the car replaced by newer and flashier sheetmetal, with almost no chrome on the exterior other than the badges. There's a new upper and lower grille design, new hood, new fenders, new lamps, new bumpers and air intakes up front, with body-colored door handles all around, new taillamps, liftgate, and wheels. The front and rear lamp treatments on the new Accent are particularly adventurous and modern.
We like the sedan, especially when compared to the nerdy outgoing car, but we like the hatchback a whole lot better when it comes to pure eye appeal. Hyundai claims a respectable 0.30 coefficient of drag for the sedan version, slightly higher for the five-door with the longer roof.
The 2012 Hyundai Accent interior has been totally redesigned. The 2012 Accent has a far more modern interior than the previous model, with brushed metal accents on the doors, steering wheel and center console, white-on-black instrumentation with red needles, and a multi-function steering wheel. The elements have been redesigned for more room, more storage spaces.
Sporty bucket seats feature superior cushions and bolsters. We found the seats comfortably supportive without being intrusive. Outward vision is excellent. The instrument panel, center stack, vents, switches and controls have all been redone for the 2012 Accent models and it's all easy to look at and operate. The instrument package contains the usual two round gauges with digital readouts and indicators between the deeply tunneled clusters and is bathed in ice blue light at night.
The three-spoke steering wheel has a thick rim and a thickly padded hub. Lower models have urethane-covered steering wheels, upper models have leather-wrapped wheels with convenient switches for the sound system on the left, cruise control system on the right, and telephone on the lower left.
As for storage, the rated cargo capacity of the Hyundai Accent is 21.2 cubic feet behind the folding second-row bench seat, and 47.5 cubic feet with the second seat folded flat. Door and console storage is generous, and the new Accent has a sliding console armrest, unusual in this class.
In the center binnacle, there is a USB port, an AUX port, and the two combine to make a port for an iPod cable, a very clever arrangement. The interior components add up to a livable, easy-to-use whole with much higher quality materials, a minimum of brightwork, plenty of storage, and high functionality.