The addition of a three-door hatchback to Hyundai's Accent range should add something refreshingly different to the sub-R150 000 segment.
Hyundai has secured a rather loyal following based on offering good value products across several segments.
Added to this, the Accent Hatch's bodystyle lends itself to very sporty ambitions with clean lines that extend from the wraparound headlight clusters to the sculpted rump with its attractive tail light arrangement.
The very sexy Accent SR concept shown at the 2005 Sema show initially created huge interest in this model. A "hot" version will not be available here, although a localised SR version, sporting a bodykit and ride height lowered by about 20 mm, will be offered at a later date.
Sadly, those in need of a powerboost will have to settle for the standard powerplant...
Power is sourced from the 1.6-litre unit with continuously variable valve timing already in use in the sedan. With peak outputs of 82 kW at 6 000 r/min and 145 Nm at 4 500 r/min, the easy revving unit is perky and more than capable in mainly urban pursuits.
Drive to the front wheels is via a slick shifting five-speed manual gearbox.
Tilt-adjustable power steering is light and ideal for city driving.
Lively but loud
While the engine is a bit loud when racing to the red line, Hyundai assures that noise, harshness and vibration (NVH) levels were a primary focus when developing the hatchback. Despite the noisy engine, the levels of refinement within the cabin are commendable.
Hard plastics dominate the cabin, but in this Hyundai appear durable rather than flimsy. The arrangement of radio and air conditioning controls on the centre stack is sensible and can be accessed easily by both front occupants.
This hatchback is available as one derivative only, but standard equipment is very high. These include dual-stage front airbags, keyless entry, timed rear demister, fog lights at the front and rear and a full-sized spare wheel.
Air conditioning, a radio/CD/MP3 player, a sunglass holder and front electric windows with one-touch down and an adjustable seat for the driver are among the comfort features.
The latest addition to the segment, which Hyundai assures will not cannibalise on the sales of the already successful Getz, is intended to rival the three-door offerings from Ford, Renault and Volkswagen in the form of the Fiesta, Renault and Polo.