2014 Hyundai Accent Driving Impressions

The 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine in the Hyundai Accent provides enough power and torque to deliver good acceleration with either 6-speed transmission, partly because the car's power-to-weight ratio is about the best in the class, according to Hyundai figures. The engine is smooth and quiet, and runs at about 2200 rpm at 70 mph in sixth gear. The thrifty, gutty little Gamma engine is surrounded by helpers like electric power steering and low-rolling-resistance tires, as well as lighter elements throughout the engine bay and the rest of the vehicle.

It all adds up to Accent's 27/37 mpg EPA mileage rating City/Highway with automatic. The 6-speed manual has a slight edge in highway fuel economy when driven well.

The 6-speed automatic transmission performed quickly and quietly. An Active Eco mode modifies engine management and transmission shift points for up to 7 percent better fuel economy, according to Hyundai, presumably at the expense of throttle response.

The 6-speed manual gearbox is easy to shift, and the clutch pedal is light and easy to operate. Some models include an EcoShift indicator between the instrument pods to indicate the proper gear for all driving conditions. We did not care for this, and generally find shift lights distracting.

Going down the road, the Accent is far smoother and quieter than we were expecting it to be. A rigid chassis, high-strength steel, generous sound insulation and effective door seals show in the car's quiet highway behavior.

We found the Accent responds relatively quickly, has good tracking, relatively quick response, and good feel on-center. Bump, rut and pothole damping is very good. Roll control on twisty mountain and desert roads was very good, and the car stayed put pretty well in hard corners. It's one of the lightest cars in its class at around 2500 pounds, so it responds quickly to driver inputs.

The available all-disc anti-lock braking system (ABS) is rare in the subcompact class, and the Accent's stopping performance was excellent.

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