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Accent makes a comeback...again

2014-04-04 08:31

BACK AGAIN: Hyundai has revived one of its first models, the Accent, for SA. It's already available at local dealers. Image: Hyundai SA

kalahari.com

Author: JANINE-LEE GORDON

 
Hyundai has revived an old favourite for, we figure, the fourth time in South Africa.

It has several names around the world and was one of the Korean automaker’s first models. It made a comeback in 2001 and then again in 2006. Then in 2011 it had a more modern facelift.

IMAGE GALLERY: 2014 Hyundai Accent

Now it’s back again and Hyundai SA says the Accent “fills a spot in its range that has long been reserved for it” in hatchback guise.

While there’s a definite slowdown in local car sales, people still have money to buy new cars. The only difference is that everyone is hopping on to the “buying down” trend.

FOR 'OLDER' DRIVERS?

Its previous 1.5 engine has been replaced by a 1.6 mated to either a six-speed manualor a four-speed auto box. Eeek! Hyunda, who still makes FOUR-speed auto gearboxes, right? Especially when there are brands who already have nine-speed transmissions like Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover.

Well, Hyundai SA says they “honestly don’t know why”. Jokes went round that it must be for the “older” drivers. Tsk, tsk.

Hyundai SA's MD Stanley Anderson said: “The Accent hatchback fits in very well in the local Hyundai range between the i20 and i30 hatchbacks – not only in terms of price, but also when it comes to space for passengers and luggage.”

Both derivatives are called Fluid units with its only difference being the transmission choice. The 1.6 Gamma units feature continuously variable valve timing (CVVT) pushing out 91kW at 6300rpm and 156Nm at 4200rpm. CO2 emissions are rated at 152g/km/161g/km (auto) with a combined fuel consumption claim of 6.4 litres/100km, 6.8 for the auto.

...AND THE RIVALS

Like a good wine, excuse the old cliché that "things get better with time". Styling has improved, with sharper lines. Bubble shapes are a thing of the past for the brand, and thank goodness for that. It looks a bit Ford Figo-ish but is set to take on quite a few B-segment contenders.

So which 1.6 rivals should watch their backs?

Toyota Auris, Opel Astra, Kia Ceratoand Chevrolet’s Sonic RS. In auto guise, the Honda Jazz can be added to the list. The only one-up the Accent has on any of these models is that it has reverse-parking sensors.

Student car perhaps? It’s rather pricey for that, considering it cost about R116 000 albeit eight years ago. However, I would think this car would slot in at the R200k mark, or way under. And, add R10 000 more and you might as well buy the Elantra sedan  from R244 900. Paying a quarter of a R1-million for an Accent just doesn't sound right.

The Accent isn’t tiny; in fact cabin room is suffice and boot space is bigger than that of the Sonic RS. Leather seats can be requested at about R8000 extra.

The new Accent’s headlights seem to reach towards the car’s body and feature a two-piece black bezel along with standard sporty fog lights and 16” alloy rims.

HOW DOES IT DRIVE?

Standard goodies inside the car include audio controls on the steering wheel; power external mirrors and window lifts, Bluetooth and iPod/USB/Aux ports in the centre console.

Not too bad. It’s nippy and great for driving in a city and sure can hold its own on the open road, as we found out while driving manual units through the Western Cape’s Swartland, out to Malmesbury and Riebeek Kasteel and back towards Stellenbosch.

However it would be interesting to see how the Accent will perform on the Reef; it was even a bit lazy in the low hills inland from Cape Town, almost struggling uphill at times and losing power even in lower gears.

I fiddled a bit with the driving position to get comfortable, the seat wouldn’t go down as much as I needed and I would have liked the steering column to be adjustable for reach as well as height. Even my taller driving partner felt she was sitting right on top of the steering wheel.

Handling was a bit unwieldy at first, the steering response a tad light for my liking, but then it scored brownie points on those lovely twisty bends on one of my favourite short passes, Helshoogte, as you drive out of Franschhoek towards Stellenbosch.

PLENTY STORAGE  S P A C E

It’s a good car and one thing is certain that nobody can fault Hyundai on quality. Materials are high-standard, even the cloth seats, and you certainly feel as if you are getting your money’s worth with build and finish, inside and out.

There are plenty of storage compartments, including space for water bottles in the door and a 370-litre boot volume.

Hyundai says the suspension uses Macpherson struts at the front and a coupled torsion beam axle at the rear.

Safety items include air bags for driver and front passenger, side and curtain bags and pre-tensioning for the three-point seat belts. There are also an anti-lock brakes with electronic pressure distribution.

Is it going to sell? Probably yes, since Hyundai products have become so well-loved in the local market. I’ll be surprised, however, if Hyundai SA sells its projected 200-250 a month with such fierce competition.

The Accent comes in seven colours: White, two shades of silver, two shades of blue, red and black.

Hyundai’s five-year or 150 000km warranty, five-year or 90 000km service plan and five-year or150 000km roadside assistance are all standard. Service intervals 15 000km.

And for those interested in Hyundai's new Grand i10... The additional model for the local line-up arrives in SA in June 2014.

MORE FROM HYUNDAI

Hyundai is delving into the minds of car-buyers with a series of humorous videos. The videos, the second in a series comprising of four clips, were produced for Hyundai by award-winning agency Red Bee.

The videos are hilarious and star British celebs. Click here to find out more about Hyundai's sitcom-style ads.

PRICES
Accent Hatch 1.6 Fluid - R234 900
Accent Hatch 1.6 Fluid a/t  - R244 900

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