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Car reviews - Hyundai - Accent - sedan and hatch range

Launch Story

Hyundai logo9 Aug 2011

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

DIESEL as well as the petrol-powered versions of the all-new Accent now on sale will be available by the end of 2011 as Hyundai redefines its position in Australia’s light-car class post-Getz.

The fourth-generation hatch and sedan to wear the long-lived Hyundai nameplate, the RB-series Accent CRDi will join the Ford Fiesta TDCi, Volkswagen Polo 66TDI, Peugeot 207 HDi and Citroen C3 HDi as the only diesel-powered light cars on sale in Australia.

However, a key advantage for Hyundai will be an expected sub-$20,000 starting price for the Accent CRDi diesel, as well as the availability of an automatic transmission – a relative rarity in the baby car class.

While Hyundai also has the ability to add a diesel version of the i20 hatchback should the need arise, currently only the Polo can be had with a diesel/auto powertrain, in the form of the seven-speed dual-clutch DSG-equipped 1.6-litre Polo 66TDI ($24,850), although a dual-clutch Powershift version of the Fiesta TDCi is on the cards when it undergoes a facelift next year.

Furthermore, the Hyundai newcomer will offer diesel power in both four-door sedan and five-door hatchback styles, unlike the French and German marques.

In overseas guises, the Accent CRDi employs a 1582cc 1.6-litre DOHC four-cylinder common-rail variable-geometry turbo-diesel engine delivering 94kW of power at 4000rpm and 265Nm of torque from 1900 to 2750rpm and driving the front wheels via a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.

Expect this more powerful diesel to eventually usurp the 85kW/255kW CRDi found in the popular i30 diesel at some stage.

Only supply issues from Korea could curtail Hyundai’s plans to introduce the Accent CRDi in Australia before the beginning of 2012, while continuing strong demand in Asia may limit the monthly numbers of both the diesel and petrol models to between 500 and 1000 units.

Nevertheless, Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) officials will not be drawn as to whether the newcomer will outsell the i20 hatch – the company’s other light-car contender. Introduced a year ago and built in India, it too has been constrained to about 500 units per month due to heavy overseas orders.

As GoAuto reported late last month, the Accent range commences with the Active 1.6 hatch or sedan at $16,990 plus on-road costs, slotting the freshest Hyundai between the entry-level i20 Active 1.4 manual three-door (currently $14,990 drive-away) and the larger i30 SX 1.6 manual five-door (currently $18,990 drive-away), while the new MD Elantra launched last month starts at $20,590 for the 1.8-litre Active manual sedan.

Later on a 1396cc 1.4-litre petrol version of the Accent, producing 79kW at 6300rpm and 139Nm at 5000rpm, might be launched in Australia. GoAuto has learnt that it is ready to go should HMCA deem it necessary, to potentially bring the RB’s base price down by at least $1000 to $15,990.

For now all Accents are powered by a 1591cc 1.6-litre DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder Gamma petrol engine producing 91kW at 6300rpm and 156Nm of torque at 4200rpm with the aid of continuously variable valve timing.

Other technologies include an aluminium block and head, maintenance-free silent timing chain with advanced coating properties and electronic throttle control to help achieve 6.0 and 6.4 litres per 100km in five-speed manual and four-speed automatic guises respectively. The combined CO2 emissions rating is 139 grams per kilometre (151g/km auto).

As a point of comparison, the best the previous-generation MC Accent from May 2006 to January 2010 could muster was 82kW/145Nm, 7.0L/100km and 167g/km from its 1599cc 1.6-litre petrol engine.

Based on the variation of Hyundai’s B-segment light-car class platform that underpins a range of vehicles including the i20, Kia Soul and Kia’s upcoming Rio, the Accent conforms to class convention by utilising MacPherson struts and coil springs up front and a coupled torsion beam axle with coil springs out back.

A complete visual departure from the old MC, the RB adopts Hyundai’s distinctive ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language, visually linking it with the ix35, i45 and latest Elantra. The styling was executed at the company’s Namyang R&D centre in Korea.

Bigger than any previous Accent, the RB hatch’s total length, width, height and wheelbase measurements are 4115mm (sedan: 4370mm), 1700mm, 1450mm and 2570mm respectively. Ground clearance is 140mm and kerb weight is listed at 1115kg for the base manual and 1140kg for the automatic.

HMCA has fettled with springs, dampers and tyres, as well as the electronic mapping of the motor-driven power steering system, to create a unique chassis tune for Australia-bound Accents. Hyundai says pre-production examples were tested over several thousand kilometres in Australia over a period of several weeks.

The RB arrives in a trio of trim levels – the aforementioned Active, $18,490 Elite, and $20,990 Premium – with six airbags and a “segment-first” Vehicle Stability Management system (VSM), which incorporates electronic stability and traction control systems with four-wheel disc brakes, anti-lock brakes and electronic brake-force distribution as standard to help it achieve a maximum five-star ANCAP crash-test safety rating.

All models also include front seatbelts with pretensioners and height-adjustment, high-tensile steel in critical areas for improved collision impact performance, height-adjustable front and rear head restraints, speed-sensing auto locking, keyless entry with alarm, a full-sized spare wheel, full iPod/USB connectivity, Bluetooth telephony, air-conditioning, electric windows/mirrors, a trip computer and multi-function steering wheel.

The Accent Premium adds a reversing camera image in the rear-view mirror, and also features rear parking sensors, leather trim, 16-inch alloy wheels, climate control and keyless entry and starting among other items.

Metallic paint is a further $375 on all models.

Known in some overseas markets as the i25, Solaris, Verna, Grand Avega and even the Dodge Attitude in Mexico as part of a model-sharing agreement with Chrysler, the RB reintroduces a badge that lay dormant in Australia for 18 months.

Always overshadowed by the high-flying but soon-to-be-discontinued Getz, the previous Accent never topped the 4828 sales it achieved in its first full year (2007 – versus Getz’s 21,166 for the same period) and HMCA chose not to import the facelifted Accent revealed in Korea in mid-2009. In contrast, the Getz’s record was just last year, when it found 21,547 buyers.

The Accent’s lineage stretches back to the first Hyundai sold in Australia, the 1986 X1 Excel, although the Accent name was not introduced until the X3 of 1994 internationally and the LC of 2000 locally. Hyundai sold 21,000 Accents here in 2001, the nameplate’s most successful year in Australia.

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