Hyundai's least expensive model is a surprisingly stylish sedan that offers good value, a great warranty, and tech touches like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are some upscale safety features, and while not the peppiest subcompact sedan, it does offer good fuel economy.
You'll Like The 2019 Hyundai Accent If...
If you're looking for a small, budgeted-minded sedan that doesn't make you sacrifice good looks and a great warranty, the 2019 Hyundai Accent should clearly be on your list.
You May Not Like The 2019 Hyundai Accent If...
Unfortunately for those wanting a little more flexibility, Hyundai dropped the Accent hatchback with the 2018 makeover. Those who want a 5-door will have to look at options like the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa Note. The other drawback: plenty of engine and road noise.
After undergoing a complete makeover for 2018, Hyundai is making only some modest tweaks to the Accent this year, starting with the cascading chrome grille now used across the entire range. There are also fog lights added for the SEL and LED headlights for the Limited models.
The 2019 Hyundai Accent’s 5-passenger cabin is nicely laid out and, like its exterior, appears nicer than its price implies. It’s not until you start sitting in the seats and feeling the material that you’ll realize this is still a value-oriented car. There is plenty of hard plastic, and if we had a couple of requests it would be for more bolstering of the front seats and an armrest for rear passengers. Those nits aside, we appreciate the central touch screen that controls audio and phone functions, and the easy-to-reach dials for climate. We suggest skipping the base SE model for several reasons, among them that the steering wheel only tilts on that model and doesn’t telescope like it does in the SEL and Limited variants. Not surprisingly, rear legroom is at a premium. At 13.7 cubic feet, trunk capacity is better than expected, and the rear seats fold in a 60/40-split for added cargo-carrying versatility.
Over the past decade, few automakers have done more to transform themselves visually. What was once a bland and forgettable econobox has become a sedan worth staring at. For 2019, even the base Hyundai Accent adopts the slick, cascading chrome grille that was only available on premium versions last year. You'll still have to spend a bit more money for upscale touches like the Limited's LED headlights and turn signals integrated into the side mirrors, however. The Limited also adds 17-inch wheels and a Hyundai-unique hands-free trunk that pops open if you approach it with the key.
Hyundai has done a good job enhancing the driving dynamics of its sedan lineup over the last few years, though if you want a really dynamic ride you'll probably want to stretch your budget to move up to the Hyundai Elantra. The Hyundai Accent is more of a budget-minded commuter car or something a student might be able to afford for around-town driving. The biggest complaint is the sedan's engine noise. It tends to drone under hard acceleration, but there's a reasonable amount of pep for something so basic, and the transmission doesn't spend too much time trying to figure out the best gear. But just because you have a "Sport" mode button, don't expect this little sedan to somehow transform itself into a sports car.
With a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $15,880 including destination, the 2019 Hyundai Accent is not only Hyundai’s least expensive vehicle, but also one of the most affordable models in its segment of the market. Only the Nissan Versa comes in at a lower starting price. That said, you'll be opting to live a spartan life with the base model, so you should check how far you can stretch you budget and add such useful options as an automatic transmission or consider nudging up into one of the higher-end trim levels, such as the $18,180 SEL or $19,965 Accent Limited. For the extra money, you'll be able to add features like LED headlights, Automatic Emergency Braking, and larger tires. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. The Hyundai Accent’s resale value has traditionally trailed leaders like the Honda Fit.
The 2019 Hyundai Accent is offered in three trims: SE, SEL and Limited. Other than an automatic transmission on base SE models, there are no major options or packages. This makes it blessedly simple for choosing the right Accent for you: Just look at what each has and determine if that’s what you want and can afford. The least expensive Accent includes the basics like air conditioning, power windows and door locks, plus cruise control and a rearview camera. Its infotainment system features a 5-inch touch screen and a 4-speaker AM/FM radio with Bluetooth connectivity and USB/auxiliary ports. Like all new Hyundais, the Accent has an excellent warranty: a 5-year/60,000-mile transferable new-vehicle warranty, plus a powertrain that’s guaranteed for 10 years or 100,000 miles.
Unless your budget has you tied to the base model or you really want a manual transmission, we suggest skipping the Accent SE and stepping up to the SEL or Limited. Mid-trim SEL models gain important features like an upgraded 7-inch infotainment system with CarPlay/Android Auto and voice recognition, rear disc brakes, automatic headlights, alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, and a steering wheel that tilts and telescopes. The top-line Hyundai Accent Limited adds a sunroof, LED daytime running lights and taillights, automatic climate control, heated front seats, proximity key with push-button start, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. If you want the forward-collision warning system with automatic braking, the Limited trim is the only way to get it. The Limited model is also the only trim to offer the Blue Link smartphone-enabled connected-services system (3-year subscription is standard).
ANDROID AUTO AND APPLE CARPLAY
These two smartphone systems are quickly moving from “nice to have” to “must have” in cars, and once you experience their seamless integration it’s hard to go back. While other automakers are still implementing them even in larger and more expensive models, Hyundai makes it readily available in its least expensive car.
AMERICA'S BEST WARRANTY
A name like that might come across as a bunch of marketing hype, but Hyundai is serious here. It's there for five years and 60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper, with the powertrain covered for 10 years and 100,000 miles. For budget-minded buyers, that's really reassuring.
Under the Hood
Hyundai went with a single powertrain option for the 5th-generation Accent, its 1.6-liter inline-4 making 130 horsepower. That's actually a bit less than with the previous generation but the trade-off is a bit better fuel economy. At as much as 38 mpg on the highway, it's a reasonably efficient offering. That 4-cylinder comes with two available transmissions -- a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic.
130 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
119 lb-ft of torque @ 4,850 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/37 mpg (manual), 28/38 mpg (automatic)
Since it first entered the American market three decades ago, buyers on a budget have counted on Hyundai. But these days, as the 2019 Hyundai Accent subcompact sedan demonstrates, the emphasis is on "value," rather than just a rock-bottom price. The Accent got a complete makeover for the 2018 model-year, so the 2019 edition receives only the most modest updates, notably including the cascading grille now available across the lineup. And there are LED headlights on the Accent Limited. If you're looking for the latest safety features, such as automatic emergency braking, that's also available, though only on high-line editions. The least expensive model in the Hyundai line-up, the Accent primarily appeals to younger buyers, and they're likely to appreciate such available features as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto built into the Accent's infotainment system.