The Hyundai Accent is a subcompact car produced by Hyundai Motor Company since 1994. It is also known as the Hyundai Excel or Hyundai Verna in some markets. The Accent has been one of Hyundai’s top-selling models worldwide since its introduction and has undergone several generations of redesigns and updates.
The first generation Accent,introduced in 1994 for the 1995 model year, was a front-wheel drive subcompact car. It replaced the Hyundai Excel and was aimed at the economy car market segment. The Accent was initially available as a 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback. It provided good fuel economy, affordable pricing and a reputation for reliability.
Over the years, the Accent has continuously been updated with improved safety features, more efficient engines and refreshed exterior and interior styling. It has consistently been one of the highest rated vehicles in its class. The Accent is currently in its fifth generation, which launched in 2018. The Accent continues to be a popular, economical and well-equipped subcompact car for first-time buyers and everyday drivers.
First Generation (1994–2000)
The first generation Hyundai Accent (referred to as the Hyundai Excel in some markets) was introduced in 1994 as a replacement for the previous Excel model. It was available as a 3-door or 5-door hatchback as well as a 4-door sedan. Key features and specs of the first generation Accent included:
- 1.5L 12-valve SOHC or 16-valve DOHC 4-cylinder engines
- 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission options
- Front-wheel drive
- 70-110 horsepower depending on engine and trim
- Curb weight ranging from 1,970 to 2,279 lbs
- 34-37 mpg combined fuel economy
- Optional power windows, mirrors, locks
- Available in standard, GL, GLS, and GT trim levels
Notable updates for the first generation include the addition of the more powerful 1.6L DOHC engine in 1997. Several special editions with unique colors and trim were also released such as the Shasta, Volunteer, and Rave. Overall, the first generation Accent offered an affordable, fuel efficient small car option for buyers on a budget.
Second Generation (2000–2005)
The second generation Hyundai Accent was produced and made available in three trim levels: GT, GL, and GLS . The models released between 2000 and 2001 came with a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 92 horsepower. The hatchback body style was discontinued for the second generation.
In 2002, Hyundai introduced an upgraded 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 104 horsepower on the Accent. The 3-door hatchback made a return in 2003 for the second generation models. There were also some minor design changes and upgraded interior materials in 2003.
Noteworthy features of the Hyundai Accent second generation models include anti-lock brakes, air conditioning, CD player, power locks, mirrors and windows. The GT trim had sporty upgrades like alloy wheels, rear spoiler and fog lights. The GL and GLS trims focused more on comfort and convenience features.
Third Generation (2005–2011)
The third generation Hyundai Accent (codenamed MC) launched in 2005 for the 2006 model year. It was available as a 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback. This generation introduced Hyundai’s new “Fluidic Sculpture” design language, with more dynamic styling and improved driving dynamics.
The third gen Accent was offered with three engine options: a 1.4L or 1.6L 4-cylinder petrol engine, or a 1.5L diesel. The 1.4L produced 92 hp, while the 1.6L made 110 hp. Transmission choices included a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic.
Notable features of the third gen Accent included standard front, side and curtain airbags, ABS brakes, and optional extras like electronic stability control, Bluetooth connectivity and heated side mirrors. The hatchback body style provided greater cargo capacity than previous generations.
According to https://www.southcharlottehyundai.com/hyundai-accent-generations-all-model-years.htm, the third gen Accent received praise for its combination of affordability, modern styling, improved performance and generous list of standard safety equipment.
Fourth Generation (2011–2018)
The fourth generation Hyundai Accent was introduced in late 2010 and went on sale in early 2011 as a 2012 model. This generation marked a complete redesign for the Accent, with Hyundai moving it to a new platform that offered increased interior room and improved fuel economy.
The fourth gen Accent was offered as both a four-door sedan and five-door hatchback. It came with an updated 1.6L 4-cylinder engine producing 138 horsepower. Transmission options included a standard 6-speed manual or optional 6-speed automatic.
Notable features of the fourth generation Accent included:
- Standard Bluetooth and SiriusXM satellite radio
- Available navigation system
- Automatic climate control
- Remote keyless entry
- Heated front seats
In 2015, the Accent received a mid-cycle facelift with updated exterior styling including a new grille, front fascia, and headlights. The facelifted models also got interior improvements like a revised center console and updated gauge cluster.
Fourth generation Hyundai Accent models by year included:
- 2012 Hyundai Accent
- 2013 Hyundai Accent
- 2014 Hyundai Accent
- 2015 Hyundai Accent (facelift)
- 2016 Hyundai Accent
- 2017 Hyundai Accent
The fourth gen Accent was well-received for its improved interior room, feature content, and fuel efficiency. It provided an affordable, entry-level option for buyers looking for a practical commuter car.
Fifth Generation (2018–Present)
The fifth-generation Hyundai Accent debuted in 2018 as a 2019 model year vehicle. This generation saw a complete redesign of the Accent to make it more modern and upscale compared to previous models.
The fifth generation Hyundai Accent is offered only as a 4-door sedan, discontinuing the hatchback body style due to low sales. The exterior features a sleek, flowing design with a cascading front grille and wraparound headlights. The interior was also completely redesigned with upscale materials and features not typically found in a subcompact car, like a 7-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration, and available advanced safety technologies.
Under the hood, the Accent is powered by a 1.6L 4-cylinder engine producing 120 horsepower paired to either a 6-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission. Fuel economy is excellent, with models equipped with the CVT achieving up to 33 mpg city/41 mpg highway.
Notable features of the fifth generation Accent include standard forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, available blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane keeping assist. These advanced safety features helped the 2019 Accent earn a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS.
The 2019 Accent started at an MSRP of $14,995, making it one of the most affordable new cars on the market. In summary, the fifth generation Accent raises the bar for the subcompact segment with an upscale design, impressive fuel economy, and newly available advanced safety and technology features.
Awards and Recognition
The Hyundai Accent has received several awards and recognition over the years for its value, quality, and reliability. According to Hyundai’s website, the Accent has earned top honors in MotorTrend’s Ultimate Car Rankings and the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, ranking highest in its segment for initial quality.
Specific model years have also been recognized. The 2021 Hyundai Accent received a Best Value in America Award from Vincentric for providing excellent value compared to competitors (Hyundai, 2021). Additionally, J.D. Power recognized the 2022 Hyundai Accent with a quality award for having the fewest problems reported compared to other vehicles in its class (J.D. Power, 2022).
These awards demonstrate the Accent’s strong reputation for value, quality, and dependability over successive model years.
The Hyundai Accent has received decent safety ratings over the years, with safety features improving in more recent models.
The latest 2022 Hyundai Accent comes standard with forward collision avoidance assist, which can detect vehicles or pedestrians ahead and apply emergency braking if needed (https://www.autoblog.com/buy/2022-Hyundai-Accent/safety-features/). Other standard safety tech includes a rearview camera, tire pressure monitoring system, and automatic high beam assist. Upgraded packages offer extras like blind spot collision warning and rear cross traffic alert.
The 2021 Hyundai Accent features forward collision avoidance as standard, along with a driver attention warning system to detect drowsy driving. Higher trims add amenities like blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert (https://www.thirdcoastautos.com/blog/what-are-the-safety-features-of-the-2021-hyundai-accent/).
Earlier models like the 2011-2017 Accent had six airbags, electronic stability control, and antilock brakes as standard. Optional upgrades included a rearview camera and blind spot detection. Crash test ratings from this period ranged from 4 to 5 stars.
The Hyundai Accent is known for its fuel efficient engine options over the years. According to Fueleconomy.gov, the 2022 Hyundai Accent achieves an EPA-estimated 33 city and 41 highway mpg with a 36 combined mpg when equipped with the standard MPI 2.0L I4 engine and automatic transmission (Fuel Economy of the 2022 Hyundai Accent, 2023). This makes it one of the most fuel efficient subcompact cars available.
Looking back through previous model years, the fuel economy has remained impressively high. The 2018 Hyundai Accent achieved 27 city and 37 highway mpg, with a combined 31 mpg according to the EPA (Fuel Economy of the 2018 Hyundai Accent, 2023). Even earlier models like the 2013 Hyundai Accent managed 28 city and 37 highway mpg (Fuel Economy of the 2013 Hyundai Accent, 2023).
This consistent high fuel efficiency over multiple generations makes the Hyundai Accent a smart choice for shoppers looking to maximize MPG and minimize trips to the gas station.
The Hyundai Accent has a starting MSRP of $16,645 for the base SE trim according to Kelley Blue Book. The mid-level SEL starts at $18,345, while the top Limited trim has an MSRP of $19,600 as per Edmunds.
For the 2022 model year, the Accent SE comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission. However, Hyundai also offers the IVT automatic transmission for an additional $1,500 on the SE and SEL trims. The Limited comes standard with the IVT automatic transmission.
Optional packages and accessories can increase the pricing further. However, even when fully loaded, the Accent offers strong value compared to competitors with its combination of features, efficiency and warranty coverage.