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Old 24th November 2005, 09:55   #1
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Default Review: 2006 HYUNDAI ACCENT

This just in from the Winnepg Free Press in Canada (all prices in Canadian Dollars)

FIRST DRIVE! 2006 HYUNDAI ACCENT

HYUNDAI'S Accent rolled into Canada's subcompact class in late 1994 and being as reliable as it was cheap and as fuel-efficient as it was fun to drive, quickly claimed the crown of subcompact leader.

As king of the low-dough realm, the Accent wasn't a bad little A-to-B roller skate. And Canadians snapped up some 191,000 of them since its debut. That's a slow five years of sales in Honda Civic terms, but the Accent offered something that till then had been sorely lacking in its category: reliability.

But 11 years later, after several attempts to overthrow the throne, including a palace coup by Hyundai subsidiary Kia's Rio, it's time to buff up the crown, give the castle a good sandblasting and toss some more alligators in the moat.

"The king is truly back," said Peter Renz, Hyundai of Canada's director of marketing. "There's no doubt that the segment has become far more competitive in recent years, but we're confident that the all-new Accent will regain its leadership position."

The heavyweight champ of the Canuck subcompact world has hit the engineering gym. Dimensions have grown in every direction. The wheelbase has increased 58.42 mm, the track has been widened by 35.56 mm, and the Accent is 76.2 mm taller than the departing second-generation model.

The stretching results in an interior volume increase of 105 litres, and a boost of 33 litres in trunk space. That's a lot of milk cartons. Under the hood is the latest generation of the Alpha mill family. The 1.6-litre four boasts dual-overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. Continuously Variable Valve Timing has resulted in a horsepower output of 110 at 6,000 rpm, with 106 ft.-lbs. of torque arriving at 4,500 rpm. The standard five-speed manual stick has received gearing improvements, while the available four-speed automatic uses an overdrive lock-up torque convertor for fuel-sipping savvy.

Realizing that some people in low-dough land actually do enjoy cornering, Hyundai added a 21-mm front stabilizer bar to the front strut set-up, while a torsion beam system supplements the rear coils and shocks. Base wheels are steel 14 inchers, with 15-inch alloys on the hoity-toity GLS content fest. The GLS gets the brakes, namely, four-channel ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution, which does its rapid pulsating on four-wheel discs. GL models get front disc/rear drums, with panic modulation courtesy of your right foot. Rack-and-pinion steering has engine-RPM sensing assist, for parking ease and firm highway feel.

The content-hungry will have a field day with the various interior trim levels. Even the $13,995 GL price leader has tilt, variable wipers, CD tunes, an eight-way manually adjustable driver's seat, even a flip-down centre armrest in the rear with dual cup holders. $15,295 is the MSRP for the GL Comfort Group. It includes manual air-conditioning, power windows and locks with keyless entry, plus heated power side mirrors. The GLS adds the alloy wheels, rear-seat adjustable head rests, tweeters for the tunes and even heated front seats. The big GLS kicker is the safety factor. While GLs get dual front airbags, the GLS adds side thorax protection for driver and passenger, as well as curtain protection front and rear. The kick in the pants is the window sticker: only $16,695. Each model has an abundance of storage cubbies and cup holders.

The product planners at Hyundai must have those large, pulsating brains that were all the rage when Captain Kirk was throwing expendable crew members at them. They come in piece, as in the variety of little pieces that culminate in both value and esthetics. Notice the absence of black exterior trim pieces. The side mirrors, door handles, and body mouldings all appear in living body colour. While the interior uses the typical price leader plastics, the fit and finish is impeccable. All models use two-tone treatments on the dash and door panels.

The only exterior differentiation between models is the wheel types, with trunk lids devoid of gaudy script. "That stuff costs money you know," quipped Tom McPherson, Hyundai Canada's Manager of Public Relations. That five cents per car is found elsewhere, such as standard sunvisor extenders, and passenger grab handles that don't snap back like a mousetrap. The best part about being a carmaker is that you can take little digs at the competition with your designs. The Sonata pays obvious homage to the Accord, while the Accent's grillework has positioned the "H" in a very Toyota-like position. With both cars, it almost seems to scream "we're coming after you." Be afraid. Be very afraid.

The first thing you notice as you pilot the new Accent is your elevated state. No, I wasn't chanting my mantra, it was the five-centimetre increase in height for the driver's seat. The eight-way adjustments and lumbar support kept the spinal pinches away over a 200-km run. Hyundai's new interior styling direction, first seen on the Sonata, has filtered over into the Accent cabin. Legibility and functionality are the order of the day. There is a driver seat flip-down armrest on the right hand side. It looks like a fugitive from a minivan, and would certainly impede proper steering position and inputs, which few motorists employ anyway.

Rear seat room was surprisingly ample, when the front seat position was sized for my 5-foot-8 frame. six-footers should be Elantra bound to avoid crushing their children. The side mirrors are of a sensible size and shape for lane scans. The five-speed manual stick is nothing earth-shattering, nor is it too annoying to engage. The clutch is feather-light, with good take-up. Gears are tall, with the 1.6 revving happily to redline, without undue vibrations or feelings of warranty voiding. A 5-3 downshift actually does allow the ability to pass, just make sure you don't try it on a hill. The four-speed automatic hunts for gears like hounds for a fox when dealing with hills. However, it never barks, lurches or shakes. Cruising speeds are relatively quiet in the passenger cabin, thanks to the torque lock overdrive.

The suspension platform was the big surprise. I was lucky enough to get behind a brave local in his Toyota Tacoma for Vancouver Island's twisty bits from Port Alberni to Tofino. While the RPM-sensing steering could stand to tighten up a smidge, the Accent was road-sticky like gum on your good loafers. The other contenders may have the funk factor, however the Accent has a great road personality.

While four-door sedans are the only current offering, the three-door hatch is back in early 2006. A tweaked GSi version would be most welcome, while everyone else in the segment throws on heavy bling to add to their road anemia. Think of the early '90s Sentra SE-Rs, a U.S. model banned here due to motorized seat belts. Take a tip from the tuners and stuff in an Elantra mill. Oh, and give me a long-term tester please.

Sadly, the idea of a king in this segment is as much of a throwback as the current monarchy. Hyundai will continue to attract those in search of minimal monthly outlay for hassle-free transport.

What is ultimately of greater importance to Hyundai is keeping their customers within their borders once they move beyond Accent. If the Sonata, Tucson, and coming-very-soon Azera are any indication, why would you ever want to leave?
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Old 24th November 2005, 22:12   #2
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thnx for dat giri

but i think it should be transferred to other section
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Old 24th November 2005, 22:55   #3
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This is an intresting read...

Jeremy Clarkson's review of the old Hyundai Accent.

http://driving.timesonline.co.uk/art...440373,00.html
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Old 24th November 2005, 23:03   #4
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curtain airbags, glued to road...emm impressive! but would it come to India loaded like that?

and I think thers another thread regarding this.
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Old 24th November 2005, 23:23   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neoranjit
This is an intresting read...

Jeremy Clarkson's review of the old Hyundai Accent.

http://driving.timesonline.co.uk/art...440373,00.html

Those who are gonna read that, start frm the second page's second para!

and if you have a CRDi, dont read taht review. You will start hating JC like 1000's of others!
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Old 24th November 2005, 23:38   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neoranjit
This is an intresting read...

Jeremy Clarkson's review of the old Hyundai Accent.

http://driving.timesonline.co.uk/art...440373,00.html
This is not relevant to the car under discussion.
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Old 25th November 2005, 02:33   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkdas
Those who are gonna read that, start frm the second page's second para!

and if you have a CRDi, dont read taht review. You will start hating JC like 1000's of others!
Hey add me to the list....tht guy really barks effortlessly !!! did see some of his shows and used to get a bit irritated by his disrespect to every other car he sits in...but thts it ab meri CRDi ke izzat ka sawal hai !!!!
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Old 25th November 2005, 06:06   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkdas
and if you have a CRDi, dont read taht review. You will start hating JC like 1000's of others!
Why does he compare it with Golf and Focus. It competes with a Polo and Fiesta. What a nut.
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Old 25th November 2005, 11:37   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid
This is not relevant to the car under discussion.
Not really - could point to how much they've improved the car.
Coming to the link - JC is a snobbish boor, one must say. Though its fun watching his shows precisely for this reason - if you really start listening to him most cars should not exist at all. He does not believe that every car has a purpose - which may not be achieving 0-60 mph in the least possible time. While I agree with his assessment of the ride and handling, the CRDi or even the regular accent is great VFM for a lot of the world (including the not so richie rich's amongst his own bretheren) and on an average Hyundai is beating Fords hollow on the reliability front. It takes guts/good QA to offer a 100k/10yr warranty in the US.
I personally find Hyundais a tad boring but that in no way means the Accent is a no-buy-list car. JC needs to mature a bit - having been spoilt for too long, if u ask me.

Now that was reasonably off-topic
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Old 25th November 2005, 12:16   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower
Why does he compare it with Golf and Focus. It competes with a Polo and Fiesta. What a nut.
becase if u read carefully, d golf is arnd 3000 more than d accent. thts where the comparisions coming.

"On the face of it the Hyundai Accent appears to be the same sort of size and shape as a Volkswagen Golf. If you’d heard of neither, you’d look at the Hyundai’s £9,400 price tag and almost certainly wonder why the Golf costs £3,000 more. "


"The pipe smokers’ bible, known as Which?, recently found that some Korean and Malaysian cars lose 77% of their value in the first three years compared with a 50% loss on various European alternatives. So the initial £3,000 saving is wiped out. '
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Old 19th September 2006, 14:59   #11
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Hmmm..it would be interesting to know what Jeremy would have to say about " Verna"
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