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2020 Hyundai Accent Review

In the 2020 Hyundai Accent, you’ll find a small car with a big interior, low price and a surprisingly well-equipped cabin. With sharp styling and a choice of three trims, there’s an Accent to fit just about every taste. And, with its long 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, the Accent makes a great off-to-college car when the time comes to hand it down.

As with its larger siblings, the Accent looks far more expensive than it actually is. The Accent is also significantly larger than rivals like the Toyota Yaris and the Chevrolet Sonic, yet Hyundai continues to call it a subcompact. The Environmental Protection Agency, however, took one look at the new Accent’s massive interior volume and promptly moved it up a notch to the compact car class.

What’s New for 2020?

The 2020 Hyundai Accent gets a new, less powerful 4-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission. A manual is, thankfully, still available. See the 2020 Hyundai Accent models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Expressive styling
  • Large rear seat and trunk
  • Advanced features like Apple CarPlay and a foot-activated trunk
  • Comfortable front seats
  • Lots of bang for the buck

What We Don’t

  • Only one body style offered (no hatchback)
  • Autonomous braking only offered on the most expensive trim
  • Manual transmission only offered on the least expensive trim
  • No high-end audio option

How Much?

$16,250-$20,500

Fuel Economy

The Hyundai Accent is powered by a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 120 horsepower. When equipped with the 6-speed manual, the Accent returns fuel economy figures of 29 miles per gallon in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. Opt for the CVT automatic, and those figures change to 33 mpg city/41 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

For 2020, the Accent is offered only as a 4-door sedan in three trim levels: SE, SEL and Limited.

The Accent SE ($16,250) comes with a 6-speed manual transmission, a 5-in color touchscreen with 4-speaker audio and CD player, a rearview camera plus steering wheel controls for audio, cruise control and Bluetooth. Also standard are cloth seats, a manual 6-way adjustable driver’s seat, power door locks with remote keyless entry, air conditioning, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, a 60/40 split/folding rear seat, power mirrors, power windows, sliding sun visors and 15-in steel wheels with covers. The only option for the SE is a CVT automatic transmission.

The Accent SEL ($18,605) adds the CVT automatic transmission, a 7-in display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, fog lights, 15-in alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, heated outside mirrors, automatic headlights, dual USB charging ports, driver’s side auto-up window and a driver’s blind spot mirror.

The Accent Limited ($20,355) adds forward-collision warning, 17-in alloy wheels, proximity key with push-button start, heated front seats, a power sunroof, LED daytime running lights, LED headlights, LED rear taillights, a hands-free Smart Trunk with auto open, automatic climate control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The Limited also features three years of complimentary Blue Link Connected Services. Hyundai Blue Link Connected Services includes remote start with temperature control, remote lock/unlock, stolen vehicle location and several other features. The system can also accept voice commands through Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa.

The Accent offers 90.2 cu ft. of passenger volume and a 13.7 cu ft. trunk.

Safety

The 2020 Accent comes loaded with standard safety features including anti-lock brakes, electronic traction and stability control, a rearview camera, front and front-side airbags plus active front head restraints, a tire pressure monitoring system and emergency trunk release. The SEL adds a driver’s blind spot mirror and rear disc brakes, while Limited trims come with automatic emergency braking.

In government crash tests, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2020 Accent an overall score of four out of five stars. There was one safety concern — an interior door panel struck the test dummy causing a possible thoracic injury to the rear passenger. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found no such issue and awarded the Accent a Top Safety Pick+ designation.

Behind the Wheel

Despite its small size and bargain-basement pricing, the 2020 Accent doesn’t drive like a small car, and its ride and handling are a vast improvement over the previous generation. The Accent’s comfortable front seats permit long hours behind the wheel without the aches or fatigue that usually accompany cars of this class. Rear seat comfort is also good, with a decent amount of legroom provided the front seats are not at their rearmost positions.

On the road, the little 1.6-liter engine does an acceptable job with acceleration, providing good low-speed sprints necessary for merging with traffic or darting across intersections. Regrettably, the same cannot be said when it comes time to pass cars at higher speeds. The new CVT automatic in our test car worked efficiently, and is made to sound and respond like traditional stepped gear automatic. It’s one of the better CVTs we’ve encountered.

You’ll find the Accent’s road manners rather appealing. The ride is soft yet controlled, the steering effortless without being numb or vague and the brakes strong (we tested a model with discs at all four corners). However, push the Accent too hard, and its tires will howl. A solid torsion beam rear axle permits the car to become somewhat unsettled on rough or broken pavement.

Other Cars to Consider

2020 Nissan Versa — The Versa is all new this year and offers a lower base price and a larger trunk plus automatic emergency braking as standard. However, the Accent gets slightly better gas mileage.

2020 Honda Fit — Offered only in hatchback form, the Fit offers a more versatile cargo bay but worse fuel economy. Additional safety features like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist are not available on the Accent.

2020 Chevrolet Sonic — The Sonic offers sporty handling, a turbocharged engine and choice of hatchback or sedan.

Used Hyundai Elantra — A 2016-2018 Hyundai Elantra offers more room, more power and more features without a substantial penalty in fuel economy or monthly payment. Buy a certified pre-owned model and Hyundai reinstates the 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Autotrader’s Advice

If you don’t live in a place that requires heated seats or mirrors, the base SE is pretty nicely equipped and is the only model that gives you a choice between manual or automatic transmission. However, moving up to the SEL gives you Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which for people addicted to their smartphones might just be worth the additional $3,000. The Limited’s collision avoidance technology is nice, but not very comprehensive. If you’re looking at spending $20,000 on a subcompact with the latest driver-assist technologies, we’d go with a Honda Fit or Nissan Versa. Find a Hyundai Accent for sale

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