It’s a sad, sad, situtation, sang Elton John, about what I don’t know, however, for A Wheel Thing, it could apply to having a major manufacturer having two cars so very close to each other that one of them is potentially superfluous. Hyundai has the Accent (a nameplate used to deflect hangover angst about the unlamented Excel) and the i30. They’re both very similar, down to the previous model i30 looking almost exactly like the current Accent. A Wheel Thing spent time with the 2014 Accent SR and asks why the Accent is still here.
It’s a five door hatch, the SR supplied was in a smooth metallic grey and funky looking alloys inside 195/50/16 Kumho rubber, has LED daylight running lights sweeping around and under the slimline headlights and the long, vertical tail lights that neatly integrate into the sheetmetal and sweep into the roofline underneath a modest spoiler. There’s two solid crease lines,one from atop the front wheel arch and running to the reverse light section in the tail lights, the other breaking up the solidity at the bottom of the doors. It’s not unattractive, with the ID subtle by having a single SR badge on the hatch lid. At the front there’s the signature, subtle, hexagonal imprint in the design, flanked by a pair of cornering lamps. Lay the profile side by side with the previous i30 and you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re twins. The Accent hatch is 4115mm long x 1700mm wide by 1450mm in height, wheelbase is 2570mm and front/rear track is 1493/1489mm.
Under the bonnet is a GDI (gasoline direct injection) 1.6L four potter, offering 103 kilowatts and 167Nm (6300/4850 revs respectively) through a six speed manual (in the test car supplied, auto available) with a slightly lower spec available with the MPI (multi point injection) power plant. It’s a slick gearchange, with no real weight but just enough to give feeling whilst the gate is a touch close with first and third sometimes becoming the gear selected but not wanted; more often than not it was third when I wanted first. Clutch is well synchronised in its pressure and pickup point, offering the chance to move the lever quicker through the gate at higher revs. It’s a competent package all round, but the lack of torque is noticed against the 1600 odd kilo gross vehicle weight. Hyundai quotes 6.1L/100 km (combined) from its 43 litre tank, which seems pretty much on the mark.
The interior is basic but functional, centred around a matt coat five inch touchscreen for radio and auxiliary inputs. Not unexpectedly, with Hyundai’s continuing focus on build quality, it’s ergonomic, a good mix of plastics to the look and touch, with a simple yet effective sweeping design to the dash. Aircon controls are the same, simple yet effective, with colour coding for temperature and icons for the speed and direction. The driver’s view is as equally simply effective, with two no nonsense dials for revs and speed bisected by a monochrome LCD display for fuel and temperature with the steering wheel also basic with minimal controls, limited to audio and cruise with Bluetooth phone controls attached to the buttons around the touchscreen. Seats are cloth trimmed, manually adjusted, well padded yet not as snug on the support to the body. Cargo space is considerable for the size, with up to 600L available.
On the road the Australian refined suspension is noticeable, with subtle refinements to the McPhersion strut front/torsion bar rear, providing a smooth and refined ride. Powered through some roads that are tight, twisty, off camber, the Accent surprises by being nimble, adhesive, flexible, rarely unflustered by sudden directional changes, absorbing the bumps and transmitting little through to the cabin. Steering input is somewhat numb however, with no real information feeling as if it’s been transmitted back to the driver and brakes haul up the Accent nicely and minimal fuss. The Kumho tyres are fairly quiet on coarse chip road surfaces and the overall feeling is of quiet control.
The reason A Wheel Thing queries the need for the Accent is this: the i30 offers a 1.6L diesel or petrol 1.8L and 2.0L, with the 1.8L not providing that much extra torque or power. Overall dimensions (4300 x 1780 x 1470mm) are again barely different from the Accent; weight is lighter in the Accent (i30 is 1850 kg GVM) and fuel economy really isn’t that much different for the i30, being an extra litre per 100km quoted. The overall feature set in the i30 (http://www.hyundai.com.au/vehicles/i30sr/specification-range isn’t enough to really differentiate apart from a 7 inch screen and some interior design touches. So, Hyundai, why keep the Accent, especially that in your normal passenger range it’s this or the Elantra (another confusing entry to the Hyundai passenger range given the i30’s quality), not the i something nomenclature.
With a sedan available in both levels (i30 and Accent) also, the Accents stacks up against the i30 with no seemingly obvious (to A Wheel Thing, at least) need to have it. Regardless, it is a good car and info can be found here: http://www.hyundai.com.au/vehicles/accent/specification—range At the time of writing Hyundai have factory pricing specials so contact your Hyundai dealerfor information.