The new Accent is taking aim at the Toyota Yaris sedan
In 2001 the Accent was replaced with some ugly-looking hatchback version and it got big thumbs down form the car buyers. Furthermore this model virtually killed the Accent brand and it quietly disappeared somewhere in 2003 when the Getz was launched.
With the latest model Hyundai is in gear to relive the Accent brand and the Korean carmaker wants to position it as the "sedan sibling" of the popular Getz.
Although an Accent hatchback is available in other markets, it seems unlikely that it will find its way here.
Like the Getz, and other Hyundai products such as the Tuscon and latest Sonata, the Accent is a new-generation Hyundai product offering style and good value for money.
In short, the new Accent is a simple no-nonsense sedan, which is well specified, spacious and probably quite reliable too.
Hyundai is also aiming the Accent directly at the Toyota Yaris sedan and Hyundai executives argue that the Accent offers more in almost every aspect than its Japanese rival.
They claim the Accent scores on space, engine power and comfort features. With pricing between R115 000 and R140 000 the Accent is also comfortable priced in Yaris and VW Polo territory.
The Accent shares its underpinnings with the new Kia Rio - and although there are some family resemblances the Accent isn't facing any identity crisis about it.
There are enough unique styling cues such as a complete different nose and tail design to perceive the Accent as a model in its own right. Furthermore it also has a different engine than the Rio.
Whereas the Rio comes with a 1.5-litre unit, the Accent gets a 1.6-litre engine. This engine delivers 82 kW at 6 000 r/min with its maximum torque of 145 Nm available at 4 500 r/min.
This engine does a good job in the Accent and it is a happy cruiser. In general the ride is composed and the Accent feels confident on the road.
Buyers also have choice of a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed auto.
However, on the inside the relationship with the Rio is more obvious as the fascia layout is the same.
But Hyundai lessened the similarities but using different materials for the fit and finish. The result is still classy and perceivable quality is on par with cars such as the VW Polo and the Toyota Yaris.
There are all the bells and whistles you can ask for and the standard model comes with features such as power steering, air-conditioning, electric windows and driver's airbags. The top-spec model has extra features such as ABS brakes, a passenger airbag and electric side mirrors.
Another plus for the Accent is the space it offers as the interior is roomy while the boot is quite sizable too.
Recent Hyundai products proved to be credible alternatives to pricier rivals from bigger carmakers.
The first impression of the Accent is that it could be another big hit for Hyundai. It will certainly appeal to fleet owners but individuals should put it on their shopping lists too if they are in the market for a small sedan.
Although it is more upmarket and of much better quality than the previous generation Accents the latest model will revive the core values of the Accent brand as set in the 1990s: a lot of car for your money and a sensible choice.
1.6 GLS (standard spec) manual: R 115 900
1.6 GLS (high spec) manual: R 129 900
1.6 GLS (high spec) automatic: R 139 900