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2012 Hyundai Accent diesel Review

2012 Hyundai Accent diesel Road Test and Review…

In recent years diesel engines have improved markedly and with this there’s been a rapid upsurge in sales.

In smaller vehicles the turbo diesel phenomenon has been particularly pronounced and that’s despite the price tag often being significantly higher than the petrol version.

Once again however a South Korean manufacturer has come through with a cost saving alternative – the 2012 Hyundai Accent diesel.

Firstly a little background on the Accent and some info that may help you out if you’re like me and at times get a little confused by the Hyundai naming strategy.

It can be a touch confusing because there are both the “i” cars and the models with more traditional names such as Elantra and Accent.

It’s particularly confusing when models such as the i30 and the Hyundai Accent are pretty similar in price, size and shape.

So what is the difference between the two?

Well in a nutshell the i30 is slightly bigger, offers a wagon version and you have a choice of three engines - 1.8 litre petrol, 2.0 litre petrol or 1.6 turbo diesel.

In the Accent there are just the two engine options - a 1.6 litre petrol or that same 1.6 turbo diesel.

I had the base model Accent the Active with a six speed manual transmission and that’s a configuration which will set you back $19,590 or about $2500 more than the equivalent petrol version.

So what’s it like?

Well I have to say it’s actually pretty good.

While the 2012 Hyundai Accent is generally a bit of an ugly duckling when compared to the new i30 and the very impressive Elantra, in all I found a number of real positives.

The major positive is that price tag; under $20,000 for a turbo diesel with plenty of standard features is a good deal.

The diesel engine delivers 94kW and a healthy 260Nm and that means acceleration, particularly on hills is quite impressive.

As you would expect the Hyundai Accent finds its groove when the turbo is doing its thing and that’s above 2000rpm, below this however and it’s a touch sluggish.

What I particularly liked about the engine is that it felt and sounded strong and robust when the revs are up.

Petrol engines at this end of the market often feel and sound quite “flimsy” and less than confidence inspiring when asked to do some real work but no so with this one.

This improved the overall feel of the car, in a way it gave it some much needed spirit!

Just because it’s a diesel don’t think that its noisy, in fact it’s particularly quite at idle, impressive.

The six speed gearbox offers the engine plenty of assistance, the sixth gear is probably not really necessary but even at 100km/h the Accent accelerates away at a pretty impressive rate.

As you would expect from a modern turbo diesel the fuel consumption is very good, I didn’t get a chance to get it onto too many open roads but around town I easily managed 5.7 litres per 100.

Officially the diesel Hyundai Accent uses a combined 4.5 litres per 100 dropping to a sensational 3.7 on the highway!

Those are figures better than what the average hybrid returns.

The Accent generally drives and rides ok with a pass mark in particular for the steering.

One thing I was particularly concerned about however was the sensitivity of the brakes when cold.

The Hyundai Accent stopped almost violently when even just a small amount of pressure was applied to the brakes from a cold start, it was even more pronounced in the wet.

External styling of the Accent is pretty good but the entry level model is let down by steel wheels and plastic wheel covers.

Inside the cabin you get handy standard features such as Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary audio inputs, trip computer and steering wheel audio system controls.

In all everything inside is where it should be, storage areas are pretty good, leg room is reasonable front and back and boot space is actually pretty good for the overall size of the vehicle.

The Active is of course aimed at the budget conscious and that means some sacrifices need to be accepted including a fair bit of hard plastic, no centre arm rest, a near rock hard door arm rest and hard plastic steering wheel.

The seats are also quite firm.

Another sacrifice is a lack of reach-adjust on the steering wheel, yes you can change the tilt but that’s it.

Safety is often of paramount importance to buyers at this end of the market and while the Accent is yet to gain an official ANCAP safety rating it comes standard with front, head and side air-bags, traction control, stability control and electronic brake force distribution.

Summing it up: if you’re considering buying a budget small car you would be crazy not to at least give the turbo diesel Hyundai Accent a drive.

This engine has managed to take a fairly bland little vehicle and turn it into something that’s not only a lot more fun to drive but is incredibly frugal at the bowser.

NUTS and BOLTS - 2012 Hyundai Accent diesel

Engine: 1.6 litre turbo diesel four cylinder delivering 95kW and 260Nm

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Safety: Not tested.

Warranty: 5 years

Origin: South Korea

Price: $19,590

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About Joel Helmes 3678 Articles
Joel is the founder and CEO of Behind the Wheel. Joel has a background as a radio broadcaster with on-air roles at 4BC, 4KQ, 2KY, 2LT and 2UE amongst others, as well as a news editor and program director. Joel’s relationship with cars stems back to his early childhood learning to change oil and brakes with his father and uncle. This continued on into his driving years owning an assorted collection of cars.

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