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2020 Hyundai Accent Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2020 Hyundai Accent Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: SE vs SEL & Limited

What 2020 Hyundai Accent Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

Looking for a vehicle that is small and practical but is not a total bore to drive? Then you might want to consider getting the 2020 Hyundai Accent. While a lot of its best features get reserved for the top trim level, the lower trims do have some good qualities.

The Accent has a spacious interior for being a small sedan. It also has a spunkier driving performance than what you might expect from an economy vehicle. It has remarkable handling and steering capabilities and is not a drain on fuel. The addition of the new 4-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT) get at least 36 mpg combined. In road tests, the Accent has gotten even better numbers than that EPA estimate.

Unfortunately, this engine is not as powerful as the outgoing one. The new one gets 120 hp, which creates a lag on the gas pedal. Acceleration is slow, so you'll need more time to get up to speed on the highway and merge between lanes. It certainly makes for a bit of frustration for those of us who like to drive fast.

That being said, is the 2020 Hyundai Accent the right small sedan for you? Is there a trim level that best suits your needs? Are there any you should skip directly over? Read through to the end of this trim level comparison review and find out which 2020 Hyundai Accent trim level we think gives drivers the best deal.


Compare the 2020 Hyundai Accent SE vs SEL Trims. What is the difference?

The 2020 Hyundai Accent's base trim level is known as the SE, and its middle trim is the SEL. The SEL prices at about $1,500 more than the SE, and for a good reason - it adds more features. Let's take a look at how these two trim levels compare.

The SE is powered by a 1.6-L 4-cylinder engine that makes 120 hp and 113 lb-ft of torque. Of course, the trade-off is less power from the engine. The SE has a 6-speed manual transmission, but the SEL swaps it out in favor of what Hyundai calls the Smartstream Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT). It is basically a CVT that simulates extremely smooth gear shifts from an automatic transmission. The IVT is optional on the SE. Front-wheel drive comes standard across the entire line-up.

Aside from that, the vehicles have similar mechanical features. The SE does have smaller 15-inch steel wheels with covers while the SEL gets upgraded to 15-inch alloys. The MacPherson struts on the front suspension and torsion axle with coil springs on the rear are also standard for the whole line-up.

The SE has a few exterior features that are worth mentioning. It has a one-touch triple turn signal, side mirrors that are body-colored and power-adjustable, and a chrome grille placed on the front fascia. The SEL has slightly more, adding fog lights, automatic headlight control, heating on the side mirrors, and chrome window belt molding.

The interior of the SE does have a bit to offer, but bear in mind that it is a base trim on an economy vehicle. The SE is equipped with premium cloth seat upholstery (which tends to be a bit stiff, unfortunately), a 6-way adjustable driver's seat with 2-way height adjustability, sliding and reclining adjustments, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, air conditioning, a timed rear defrost, cruise control, a steering wheel with audio controls mounted onto it, Bluetooth hands-free capability, power windows, remote keyless entry with a panic alert button, and a 4-speaker sound system with a 5-inch touchscreen infotainment display. Other interior features on the SE include a rear view camera that has dynamic guidelines and smartphone and MP3 USB/auxiliary input jacks.

The SEL does, of course, have a bit more. On this mid-level trim, you get a passenger's side seat-back pocket, an outside temperature display, Bluetooth with voice recognition, an auto-up window on the driver's side, a 7-inch touchscreen display, a 6-speaker sound system, and two USB charging ports. Smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto comes standard as well, making it exponentially easier to access your phone's apps while you are driving.

Naturally, an abundance of safety features are a must-have on all newer vehicles. It is safe to say that the base SE trim level is modestly equipped with these. You will not find any advanced driver aids on the SE or SEL. For that, you will have to upgrade all the way to the Limited trim. But the SE and SEL both have some important safety features.

The SE comes with vehicle stability management, electronic stability control, traction control, a tire pressure monitoring system, remote keyless entry, and the LATCH system for child car safety seats. Hill start control is available if you get the IVT instead of the 6-speed manual transmission. To that, the SEL adds the driver's blind spot mirror and hill start assist as a standard feature.

As you can see, Hyundai keeps the Accent feeling like an economy car when it comes to features. Still, the ride quality is better than expected, which might compensate for a lack of standard features. However, the SE definitely feels minimalist while the SEL is a bit more inclusive. But it might not be enough for some drivers.

Compare the 2020 Hyundai Accent SEL vs Limited Trims.  What is the difference?

That is where the Limited trim level comes in. It is the Accent's line-topper, and it adds more to the mix. It does price about $2,000 above the SEL, so you will have to budget for that if you want the most in terms of features. Luckily, it is not a terribly big jump, and there is little in the way of extra packages and stand-alone options worth adding on.

So, is the Limited worth its price tag? How much can you actually get? Will the Limited feel less bare-bones than the two lower trim levels? It is time to find out.

It does come with the exact same powertrain, drivetrain, and suspension systems that you get on the SEL. In fact, the only mechanical difference is that the Limited gets boosted up to 17-inch alloy wheels instead of the SEL's 15-inchers. This can change the ride quality, and the 15-inch wheels might be a little bit too small for some drivers.

The Limited's exterior does get treated to a few decent upgrades. It is equipped with standard LED headlights and daytime running lights, LED taillights, turn signals integrated into the side mirrors, and a power sunroof. Everything else carries over from the SEL. Having LED lights instead of halogens is preferable since LEDs are brighter and are known to last longer than halogen bulbs. Therefore, you can see a bit better at night with the LED lights and might not have to replace bulbs as frequently. Of course, the sunroof is a sweet bonus for those who like to get a bit of sun and air into the vehicle.

On the inside, there are a few more luxurious upgrades to be found. For starters, heating comes standard on the front seats and is a delight to use during cooler months. There is also a proximity key instead of remote keyless entry. The proximity key comes with push button start, which absolutely comes in handy. Other than that, you will find that the Limited trim level has the same infotainment system and audio set-up as the SEL as well as the same upholstery and trim.

As far as safety features go, barely anything gets added. The only driver aid you will get is the forward collision avoidance assistance feature. This feature is found on many other competitors, who are starting to put it on their lower trim levels. Highly desired safety features like blind spot monitoring, advanced cruise control, and pedestrian detection are not available on the 2020 Hyundai Accent.

As you can tell, the Limited is the most loaded trim level of the bunch. But, even for being an economy vehicle, it lacks some of the same standard features that its competitors are equipping on their models.


Which Trim to Choose?

Unfortunately, the 2020 Hyundai Accent is stuck in a quagmire of a market. A lot of consumers are wanting larger vehicles but also crave fuel efficiency since that saves them money at the pump. They also want as many standard safety and infotainment features as they can possibly get. And the Accent does not really deliver that. This means that the Accent is probably going to get overlooked in favor of other makes and models this year. This is even more unfortunate since the Accent does put in a good driving performance for the small sedan segment.

Hyundai just has not gotten the balance between fuel efficiency, power, and standard features right on the 2020 Hyundai Accent. Other automakers, such as Kia and Honda, are dominating the competition with their well-balanced, well-equipped, affordably priced small sedans. And, in a market dominated by crossovers, SUVs, and trucks, the fight for sedans to stay alive is real. Ford and Chevy are dwindling down their sedan line-ups, and Hyundai is seemingly at risk as well.

The 2020 Hyundai Accent is not a terrible vehicle when it comes to fuel efficiency and handling. It just feels like everything else is cheaply put together, especially the cloth seat upholstery. You cannot get an upgrade on the upholstery either.

Picking a winning trim level is simple here. The Limited is the only trim level on the 2020 Hyundai Accent that is worthy of purchase. The SE and SEL feel a little bit too basic to meet the needs of the average driver. And, with the downgrade in power from the new 1.6-L engine, it is fair to say that some drivers will feel disappointed in the Accent.

Of course, if you are dead set on getting the 2020 Hyundai Accent, skip the SE and SEL and go straight to the Limited. For around $20,000, you get a decent amount of standard features. The forward collision avoidance assistance feature is a huge bonus, but it really should be made standard on at least the SEL, if not also on the SE.

Overall, the 2020 Hyundai Accent provides an enjoyable enough ride. Many aspects of its drive performance are surprisingly good. However, Hyundai is holding the Accent back from being a truly tough competitor by withholding certain standard features, especially when its comes to driver aids. In the end, if any trim level is going to be bought, it should be the Limited. This line-topper has the most features and is not terribly expensive. The fuel economy will help make the Accent more attractive, so that is the one big bonus here.
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Compare the 2019 Hyundai Accent Trim Levels