Manufacture a car or crossover with a price tag under $20,000 and it seems almost obligatory the marketing team will portray it as a vibrant, fun choice for under 30s. For evidence, look no further than Kia’s ad department using punchy electronic music and dancing hamsters, for some reason, to market it funky-styled Soul.
It makes sense to market cars to the younger crowd in such a price range. After all, most under 30s, me included, are saddled with student loan debt so extensive it rivals the national deficit.
But Hyundai does not seem to have taken the cue that it needs to appeal to a younger crowd with its subcompact sedan. In fact, its Accent is assuredly the adult in the subcompact group.
Though the Accent starts at $15,000 and my top-of-the-range tester just crossed the $20,000 mark, the Hyundai is not a gimmicky attempt of the suits to appeal to the shirts.
For starters, it doesn’t sport orange trim or funky geometric styling. Rather, with its chrome cascade grille and predictable but attractive lines, the Accent is handsome. The interior styling is also subdued and straightforward. Hyundai’s infotainment system is intuitive, and the Accent provides a welcome mixture of touchscreen functions and analog inputs on the dash and steering wheel.
The Accent is also a sensible choice when it comes to interior and cargo room.
While the rear seats are on the slightly cramped side of things for adults, the 13.7-cubic feet of trunk space provides enough storage for most everyday needs. If more space is needed, the 60/40 rear seats are easily folded. Interior storage is supplemented with cubby areas in all four doors and a sizeable area in the center console.
At its price point, the Accent provides a prudent number of features as standard.
The base SE trim with a 6-speed manual transmission starts at $14,995 with a 6-speed auto adding a grand to the price tag. The SE comes standard with a rearview camera, LATCH connections for the rear seats, Bluetooth, keyless entry, USB and auxiliary ports and a 5-inch infotainment screen.
Above the mid-range SEL trim is the Limited ($19,080), which adds safety features in the form of forward collision avoidance, LED front and rear lights, a sunroof, heated front seats, a 7-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity and other amenities.
All trims come with a 1.6-liter engine and front-wheel drive. The four-cylinder provides 130-horsepower and is slow to respond to the right pedal when called upon, though it does make a lot of noise. The 1.6-liter needs a long run to get up to highway speeds but is well-suited for traversing urban areas. Driving along the interstate and inner-city gives the Accent 32 combined mpg.
Shifts are noticeable when the transmission decides to change gear, especially down a cog, but otherwise the Accent’s ride is fairly calm and collected.
Being the adult of the subcompact group, the Accent seems far more suited for the daily commute than a sporty feel, but effortless and accurate steering makes for a peppy performance through switchbacks with some feel from the steering and brakes.
The Accent may not be the most exciting choice in the subcompact market, but it is a practical option for those who don’t need a bevy of thrills and frills. You know, like a grown-up.