2016 Hyundai Accent Photo Tour

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2016 Hyundai Accent front view

2016 Hyundai Accent front view
2016 Hyundai Accent. Photo © Aaron Gold

Hyundai’s subcompact Accent hasn’t changed much since the current version was introduced in 2012. The five-door hatch features a handsome, contemporary shape that still looks good; not bad for a design now in its fifth year. Top-of-the-line Sport model features fog lamps, and the attractive 16-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels, exclusive to this trim level, are a nice touch.

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2016 Hyundai Accent rear view

2016 Hyundai Accent rear view
2016 Hyundai Accent. Photo © Aaron Gold

Accent is offered in both sedan and hatchback form, but the Sport model shown here comes exclusively as a hatchback. If you want a sedan, you’ll need to stick to the SE base model. This seems to be a new a trend, as the latest iteration of competitors like the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris offer hatchbacks exclusively. Despite the wedge shape of the windows, all-round visibility is very good, better than most small cars, though the view out the rear is a bit pinched. The Accent Sport model shown here gets rear disc brakes (as opposed to rear drums), which offer better stopping power, particularly in wet weather.

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2016 Hyundai Accent interior

2016 Hyundai Accent interior
2016 Hyundai Accent interior. Photo © Aaron Gold

Accent’s interior is nicely trimmed; the materials are not Hyundai’s best, but they are better than what most buyers are probably expecting in a low-cost, entry-level car. Two-tone trim and sparing use of metal-look and piano black trim are a nice touch, and there is an abundance of storage space, including a large center console bin with USB and power ports. Keep in mind, however, that this is as nice as it gets: Accent offers leather on the shifter and steering wheel, but not on the seats.

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2016 Hyundai Accent dash detail

2016 Hyundai Accent dashboard
2016 Hyundai Accent dashboard. Photo © Aaron Gold

One of the high points of the Accent is its straightforward control layout. Accent’s controls are easy to learn and easy to use, and prove that it’s possible to create a stylish design that doesn’t require hours of study and a few evenings with the owner’s manual to figure out. That said, the Accent lacks a touch-screen display stereo, now found on rivals like the Chevrolet Spark. It does, however, get steering wheel audio controls.

Accent’s center stack uses the “plunging neckline” motif first introduced in 2011 on the previous-generation Elantra and Sonata. I like the three-dial climate controls, which are easy to use; every car should have them. And I also appreciate the simple two-dial stereo, which has satellite ratio and Bluetooth phone connectivity. But as mentioned in the last slide, if you want apps or navigation or phone mirroring via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, you are out of luck: Hyundai doesn’t offer a display stereo on the Accent, not even as an option. Most small cars offer better connectivity.

Read more: 2016 Hyundai Accent review

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2016 Hyundai Accent front seat

2016 Hyundai Accent front seat
2016 Hyundai Accent front seat. Photo © Aaron Gold

The Accent’s front seats are comfortable and supportive; they are also height-adjustable and that, combined with a tilt-and-telescope steering column, means it’ll fit drivers of all sizes and shapes. But this “premium cloth” is as good as it gets—unlike some of its rivals, the Accent does not offer leather upholstery as an option. As more and more Americans cease to equate luxury with size, this is going to become more and more of a problem. Perhaps Hyundai will add optional leather in the next version of the Accent.

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2016 Hyundai Accent back seat

2016 Hyundai Accent back seat
2016 Hyundai Accent back seat. Photo © Aaron Gold

Back seat room in the Hyundai Accent is decent—not as generous as the Honda Fit, but certainly roomier and more comfortable than the Ford Fiesta. Note the presence of a center-position headrest but the lack of a fold-down center armrest. In a back seat best sized for two people, an armrest would be nice to have—one would expect it in the most expensive Accent model.

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2016 Hyundai Accent cargo area

2016 Hyundai Accent trunk
2016 Hyundai Accent trunk. Photo © Aaron Gold

The cargo bay is an Accent high point: With 21.2 cubic feet of cargo space, it’s one of the most generous, and the boxy shape makes it practical and easy to pack. But as important as the room in the trunk is the materials that line it. Hyundai has used cheaper plastics on the fenderwells and scuffplates and thin flocking on the spare tire cover. My brand-new test car already showed wear and tear from cargo being taken in and out. I imagine it’ll look pretty ratty after ten years.

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2016 Hyundai Accent engine

2016 Hyundai Accent engine
2016 Hyundai Accent engine. Photo © Aaron Gold

All Accents are powered by this 137-hp 1.6 liter engine, and the buyer can choose between a 6-speed manual and a six-speed automatic. With such modern hardware, you’d expect decent fuel economy from the Accent, but its EPA fuel economy estimates aren’t very good—just 31 MPG combined, when many of its rivals get 35 MPG. And I did even worse: After a week of driving (much of it gentle) the Accent failed to break 30 MPG. On the plus side, the engine offers zippy acceleration and the combination of a light clutch, precise shifter, and light steering made it a pleasure to drive, even in Los Angeles’ famous freeway traffic.

Read more: 2016 Hyundai Accent review