2020 Hyundai Accent vs Elantra
Hyundai has been a dominant force in both the SUV and sedan game for quite a while. The subcompact Accent and compact Elantra are reliable and loaded with features. They both also received updates in recent years, making them feel current and fresh. The Elantra gives buyers a lot more when it comes to choices, both in trim levels and in engines. At the same time, the Accent is hard to beat when it comes to affordability and fuel economy.
While they certainly have a lot in common, there are also some major differences between them. Size is the most obvious one. Power is another. The following guide can help to simplify the similarities and differences between these two vehicle options so that buyers can pick the one that better suits their needs.
Size and Styling
Both the Accent and the Elantra are small enough to be considered highly maneuverable. The Accent is 172.6-inches long and 68.1-inches wide. It will easily fit in almost any garage due to its height of 57.1-inches. As for the Elantra sedan, buyers are looking at a vehicle that is 181.9-inches long, 70.9-inches wide, and 56.5-inches tall. Although they are both compact, it will be easier to squeeze the Accent into tight parking spaces.
The larger Elantra has more room for people with its passenger volume of 95.8 cubic feet. This is over five cubic feet more than what is provided by the Accent. The Elantra offers more headroom in the front at 40.3-inches compared to 38.9-inches. Legroom is nearly identical when looking at the front rows of the Accent and the Elantra, with both options sitting at right around 42 inches.
Not surprisingly, the Elantra has a bit more space in the backseat as well. There are 37.3-inches of headroom and 35.7-inches of legroom. In the Accent, passengers still get 37.3-inches of headroom but with 33.5-inches to stretch out their legs. Taller passengers will definitely prefer the back of the Elantra.
Although the Accent was available was a hatchback in the past, that is no longer the case. The Elantra, on the other hand, does have a hatchback model known as the GT. It has its own two trim levels, the base and the N-Line.
The Accent does not provide as much cargo space as either version of the Elantra. Popping the trunk of the Accent reveals 13.7 cubic feet to work with. The Elantra sedan has 14.4 cubic feet. Going with the Elantra GT will add even more room for miscellaneous gear. With the seats up, this vehicle provides nearly 25 cubic feet to work with. The backseat can also be folded down, opening up the cargo area to 55.1 cubic feet.
Buyers will get to choose from seven paint options when picking out a 2020 Accent. They include options like Absolute Black, Admiral Blue, Pomegranate Red, and Frost White Pearl. As for the Elantra, there are only six choices. Buyers can have Flame Red, Lakeside Blue, Phantom Black, and more.
While neither of these vehicles will be winning any races anytime soon, they both offer decently satisfying acceleration and impressive fuel economy. The Accent uses a 1.6L four-cylinder engine in all of its trim levels. With this, the subcompact sedan generates 120-horsepower and 113 lb-ft of torque. This means drivers will have enough power in most situations but will have to plan ahead when it comes to passing and merging. The Accent is only available with front-wheel-drive.
The Elantra offers up a variety when it comes to powertrain options. Entry-level models use a 2.0L four-cylinder making 147-horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. It works with either a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission that is new for 2020. There is also an Eco trim level to consider, which utilizes a turbo 1.4L four-cylinder producing 128-horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque. It works with a dual-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission.
For those seeking more power, there is the Sport model with its turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder. These models make 201-horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. Other performance-oriented upgrades for the Sport include stronger brakes and a multi-link rear suspension. In years past, the Sport was available with a manual transmission. The dual-clutch seven-speed transmission is, unfortunately, the only option in 2020.
Going with the hatchback GT model will give buyers two engine choices, depending on the trim level selected. The base model has a 2.0L four-cylinder that can generate 161-horsepower. For the N-Line, Hyundai gave the Elantra GT the same turbocharged 1.6L engine found in the sedan Sport model.
The Accent is highly fuel-efficient with either transmission. Models with the six-speed manual are expected to get 29mpg in the city and 39mpg on the highway. Going with the CVT ups those numbers to 33mpg city and 41mpg highway. These numbers are hard to beat for any non-hybrid sedan.
With the standard engine, the Elantra is estimated to get 31mpg city and 41mpg highway. Going with the Eco option will mean getting 33mpg in the city but does not change the highway estimate, which casts some doubt on the accuracy of its name. Opting for the more athletic Sport will result in a decent ding to fuel efficiency, bringing it down to 26mpg in the city and 33mpg on the highway. The 2.0L base engine for the GT model is even less efficient, getting 25mpg city and 32mpg highway.
While it is not anything to get excited about, the Accent does provide drivers with competent handling. The ride will stay smooth as long as the pavement does. Rougher road surfaces will result in a bumpy drive. The Elantra does a better job of cushioning the cabin. It also has responsive steering and strong braking, making it the more fun vehicle to sit behind the wheel of.
Of course, the warranty on both of these vehicles is the same impressive 10 years or 100,000 miles for the powertrain that Hyundai is famous for. They both also have a limited warranty of five years or 60,000 miles. On the reliability front, the Elantra does a bit better. It received four out of five potential stars from J.D. Powers. This is quite a bit above average. The Accent also did quite well, earning 3.5 stars.
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Comfort, Options, & Performance
Both of these smaller sedans are designed to seat up to five people. They both offer supportive seats and a respectable amount of room in both rows. While two adults may be comfortable in the back seat of either, trying to squeeze in three would be a stretch. Up to three children should be able to sit comfortably in the back of the Accent or the Elantra.
The Accent is available in three different variations while the Elantra has six. For the entry-level Accent, known as the SE, Hyundai sticks with the essentials. It has things such as a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, Bluetooth, and a four-speaker sound system. The entry-level Elantra, also known as the SE, is very similarly equipped.
Technology features are a bit lacking on the SE of either option. They have 5-inch touchscreens but lack smartphone integration. A singular USB port is found in the base Accent or Elantra. Moving up to the SEL trim or higher of either will give drivers a 7-inch touchscreen as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
An 8-inch touchscreen is available for the Elantra Sport alone. It is part of a Sport Premium package that also includes an upgraded sound system, navigation, and Blue Link Connected Care Services. That last feature gives drivers access to diagnostic alerts, enhanced roadside assistance, and a monthly vehicle health report.
Unlike the Accent, the Elantra offers a Value Edition trim level. It lives up to its name by offering buyers features like heated front seats, leather for the steering wheel, a sunroof, and push-button start. This trim also the handy proximity lock and unlock features.
The top-of-the-line Accent is called the Limited. It offers a decent amount of luxury for a car in this class and at this price point. Many of the features, however, are added to the Elantra at the Value Edition trim level. These include heated seats and a sunroof. The Accent Limited trim does also add automatic climate control.
Although not the top trim, there is also a Limited model of the Elantra. It is a little fancier than the one found in the Accent lineup. Picking the Elantra Limited means getting wireless device charging, LED headlights, a premium audio system, and more.
The Limited trim level is not the priciest version of the Elantra, however. The Sport trim has performance upgrades as well as fun interior features. These include heated front sport seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted crash testing on both the 2020 Accent and the 2020 Elantra. Out of five stars overall, both the sedans received four. The Accent does do slightly better than the Elantra when the test results are looked at in greater detail, however. For the Accent, the NHTSA gave four stars in frontal crashes and rollover testing. It did receive five stars in side crash testing. The Elantra received four stars in all three of those categories.
Hyundai is known for equipping its lineup with multiple driver aids. While this is definitely true of the Elantra, it is not really the case with the Accent. All trim levels of the Accent do come with a rearview camera. Only the Limited trim level has forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. No other driver aids are even available for the Accent.
The Elantra does much better. Standard on all models is that same rearview camera, plus a driver attention monitor, lane keep assist and forward collision warning featuring brake assist. The SEL trim, which is only one step up from the entry-level SE, further adds a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane departure warning. Select trims can also be equipped with automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, and pedestrian detection.
Which Model to Choose?
The Accent has a low starting price of just over $15,000 with the top-of-the-line Limited trim jumping up to around $19,300. As for the Elantra, it offers buyers great value with a starting price to just under $19,000. Going with the athletic Sport trim will bring the price tag up to almost $24,000.
When it comes to non-nonsense vehicles that are easy on the wallet, the Accent is a great choice. It has an affordable starting price and great fuel economy, particularly when equipped with the optional CVT. While it may not appeal to families due to its lack of advanced safety features, it will definitely appeal to those needing a daily commuter.
The Elantra, on the other hand, is a more well-rounded vehicle. With three different engines and six different trims, it is easier for shoppers to find one that matches both their budget and their needs. Its longer lists of both standard and available safety features are also major selling points. Those who are after luxury or a more heart-pounding level of acceleration will definitely want to explore the Elantra lineup.