Used Car Review

2012 Hyundai Accent: Used Car Review

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author photo by Ron Sessions July 2016

Ushering in an all-new fourth-generation design, the 2012 Hyundai Accent is built on a longer, 101.2-inch wheelbase for more room. It also adopts the striking Fluidic Sculpture styling as seen in its larger siblings, the compact Elantra and midsize Sonata. The Accent, Hyundai's entry-level subcompact, continues to be available as a 4-door sedan or a 5-door hatchback. The hatchback offers 21.2 cu ft. of cargo space behind the rear seats and 47.5 cu ft. with the rear seat folded down, a figure that rivals some compact crossovers.

New for 2012 is a direct-injected, 138-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers class-leading fuel economy. The available 6-speed automatic transmission offers SHIFTRONIC manual control. An Active ECO feature, when activated by the driver, modifies throttle response and automatic shifting to optimize fuel economy. Standard safety features include a tire-pressure monitoring system, electronic stability and traction control, 4-wheel disc anti-lock brakes, dual front airbags, front-seat side airbags, and front and rear overhead airbags.

The 2012 Accent is a good used-car value, delivering practicality, fuel efficiency and styling flair.

What We Like

Excellent 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty; Fluidic Sculpture styling reminiscent of the Sonata; good fuel economy; hatchback's roomy cargo capacity

What We Don't

Sparse standard amenities; unpadded door armrests; tight back seat; no power driver's seat; no navigation system; no telescopic steering wheel

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The Hyundai Accent comes standard with a direct-injected 1.6-liter double-overhead-camshaft 16-valve 4-cylinder engine. It generates a healthy 138 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque on regular unleaded fuel, making the Accent more powerful than the subcompact norm. It's available with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Both versions get 28 miles per gallon in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. All 2012 Accent models are equipped with front-wheel drive.

Standard Features & Options

The 2012 Hyundai Accent hatchback is available in GS and SE trims, and the Accent sedan comes exclusively in a GLS trim.

The Accent GLS sedan is the lowest-priced model in Hyundai's lineup. Standard equipment is sparse on the base manual-transmission version, including 14-in steel wheels, cloth seats, power door locks, a tilt steering wheel, a trip computer, a split folding rear seat, a driver's-seat armrest and an adjustable-height driver's seat. Automatic-transmission versions of the GLS sedan, however, come standard with air conditioning, an AM/FM/CD stereo, SiriusXM radio, iPod/auxiliary input jacks, cloth door inserts and power windows and mirrors. Remote keyless entry, Bluetooth, cruise control and other features are optional.

The Accent GS hatchback comes better-equipped, adding standard air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, cloth interior door trim, keyless entry, a rear cargo cover and a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with an MP3 decoder, SiriusXM radio and iPod/auxiliary input jacks.

The SE hatchback is at the top of the Accent lineup, gaining standard 16-in alloy wheels, fog lamps, a rear spoiler, a leather-wrapped shifter and steering wheel with remote audio controls, piano-black interior trim, cruise control and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity with voice recognition.


The 2012 Accent was one of the best-selling subcompacts of its model year, so there should be a reasonable supply of used examples available for purchase at moderate prices. The Accent is one of the most fuel-efficient small cars in its class, and with good J.D. Power scores and extended warranties, the Hyundai reputation has improved greatly in recent years.

To get a good idea of the 2012 Accent's price range, check out You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see which models are for sale in your area.


As of the time this article was published, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had not issued any recalls for the 2012 Accent.

Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, they'll fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

NHTSA gave the 2012 Accent a 4-star overall rating, with four stars across the board for frontal impacts, side impacts and rollover performance.

The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the 2012 Accent sedan as Poor for small-overlap front impacts, Acceptable for side impacts and Good for roof strength, head restraints and moderate-overlap front impacts.

Hyundai sold the 2012 Accent with a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, an industry-leading 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty (for original owners only), a 7-year/unlimited-distance corrosion-perforation warranty and 5 years/unlimited miles of roadside assistance coverage.

Hyundai certified pre-owned vehicles can't be more than 4 years old or have more than 60,000 miles. Every certified pre-owned Elantra undergoes a 150-point inspection. Each receives the balance of Hyundai's 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Roadside assistance is extended to 10 years/unlimited miles from the vehicle's original date of sale. Also included are 3 months of SiriusXM radio and a vehicle history report.

Other Cars to Consider

2012 Honda Fit -- This subcompact 5-door hatch is 3 feet shorter than a Honda Crosstour but offers more interior space due to innovative packaging that places the gas tank under the front seat. Despite its mini-minivan look, the Fit is fun to drive, making the most of its 117-hp 1.5-liter 4-cylinder.

2012 Nissan Versa -- The top-selling subcompact Versa sedan is all new for 2012, featuring a 109-hp 1.6-liter 4-cylinder and a roomy cabin, but the cheap, plasticky interior trim spoils the mood. Carried over unchanged is the 5-door hatchback with a 122-hp 1.8-liter 4-cylinder, good ride and a roomy interior with nice touches such as padded armrests. The hatchback provides 50.4 cu ft. of cargo space with the rear seat down.

Autotrader's Advice

The Accent is solid, basic transportation. Hyundai quality and reliability may have been questionable decades ago, but today the brand's vehicles are highly ranked and have solid reputations. While it's one of the more peppy subcompacts, the Accent's biggest attribute is bang for the buck. You won't find many base GLS sedans out there; most will have been optioned up with air conditioning, a basic stereo and power windows, door locks and mirrors. Find one with available 16-in alloy wheels and cruise control, and you'll have a baby Elantra. All hatchbacks come in the GS or SE trim and are pretty well equipped. The hatchback Accent is a good choice because folding down the rear seat gives you crossoverlike utility.

Always look for a vehicle that's been well maintained. Selecting a Hyundai certified pre-owned Accent is a smart choice because you can assume the remainder of the outstanding 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. And even though no safety recalls were announced for the 2012 Accent when this report was written, check with the dealer anyway.

Find a Hyundai Accent for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2012 Hyundai Accent: Used Car Review - Autotrader