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The Accent is the most affordable vehicle in the Hyundai lineup. Classified as a subcompact sedan, it is not ideal for large families or for those who need a ton of cargo space. As a competent daily drive, however, it excels. Drivers will find that the 2021 Hyundai Accent has many perks but also a few noteworthy flaws when looking at this vehicle closely. The ultimate question is whether or not the Accent is a smart buy.
What's New for 2021?
Other than changes to the paint options, the Accent goes into 2021 unchanged. Urban Gray has been replaced with Forge Gray, while Linen Beige is gone altogether. The 2021 model is part of the fifth generation of the Accent, which debuted in 2018. Last year, the changes were more significant and involved a slightly less powerful engine and a continuously variable transmission becoming standard.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Hyundai Accent – The Pros
1. Surprisingly Fun to Drive
With a 1.6L four-cylinder engine making 120-horsepower along with 113 lb-ft of torque, the 2021 Accent is not going to be winning many races. That said, it does provide a decent amount of zip for a vehicle of this size in this class. The handling is also decently impressive. Plus, the Accent can be thrown into Sport mode for livelier responses from the transmission and steering.
2. Spacious Cabin for Subcompact Sedan
There is technically room for up to five people in the Accent, although putting more than four inside for a long journey may be pushing it. Still, there is enough room for adults to sit in both rows, which is not always the case for a subcompact car. As a bonus, the layout of the dashboard is well done and puts everything you can need within easy reach.
3. Respectable List of Standard Features
The Accent SE has a starting cost lower than many of its competitors. For a low price, you get a decent number of features, including Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free, a rearview camera, and a USB port. There is also a 5-inch touchscreen and a four-speaker audio system, which is enough for many drivers just looking to get to and from work.
4. Outstanding Fuel Economy Numbers
If you stick with the entry-level model with the manual transmission, the Accent can get 29mpg in the city and 39mpg highway. These are good numbers for the class, although not necessarily remarkable. With the continuously variable transmission, however, the 2021 Accent can give you 33mpg in the city and 41mpg on the highway, which are some of the highest numbers found in this vehicle class.
5. Comfortable Ride
The Accent is well-constructed and protects the cabin from most normal bumps. This is largely due to the suspension, which does a spectacular job of making the road feel smooth. Considering this is an area that many affordable subcompact sedans struggle, this is a major perk for the 2021 Accent.
6. Easy-to-Use Infotainment System
Drivers who opt for the SEL or the Limited trim levels will get a 7-inch touchscreen and smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The infotainment is intuitive and the menus are easy to navigate. Satellite radio is also included to expand your entertainment options. You can enjoy that on the six-speaker sound system that is also found on these models.
7. Attractive Exterior Design
Hyundai gives all models of the 2021 Accent some exterior sophistication. A chrome grille is standard for the entire lineup, for example. If you opt for the Limited trim, your Accent also gets 17-inch alloy wheels and stylish chrome door handles. The Accent is also available in seven vibrant colors, including Pomegranate Red, Olympus Silver, Absolute Black, and Admiral Blue.
8. Affordable Top Trim Level
The Accent Limited is loaded with a fair amount of features while still remaining reasonably priced. It adds some nice upgrades like heated front seats and automatic climate control while still not breaking the bank. This trim level is also the only one to give you advanced driver aids, namely automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warning. The Limited is the only one that gets Hyundai Blue Link, which allows drivers to download an app and gain some remote features for their Accent.
9. Comfortable Front Seats
With a nice amount of cushion and support, the Accent is incredibly comfortable to ride in. This is true for even longer trips. All models come with durable cloth upholstery. For the best experience, drivers will want to upgrade to the SEL or Limited trim levels to get more adjustment options for the steering wheel. These models make it easier to find a setup that will keep you happy for the long haul.
10. Available Hands-Free Trunk
Choose the top-of-the-line Limited trim level and your Accent gains a hands-free power trunk. This is a fairly luxurious feature for this vehicle class and can make life much easier when heading out to your car with your hands full. The trunk pops automatically when the vehicle senses the proximity key behind the vehicle for at least three seconds.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Hyundai Accent – The Cons
1. Very Few Driver Aids Offered
In recent years, even the more affordable vehicle options out there have started to at least offer a variety of driver aids. The 2021 Accent offers absolutely none on the first two trim levels and only the forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking for the top-of-the-line Limited. Similarly priced competitors simply offer more. All models do come with a rearview camera, however, which may be enough to satisfy some drivers.
2. No Hatchback Model
A big part of the Accent's appeal used to be its available hatchback body style. It made the vehicle more practical and in many ways, it felt more fun. By limiting the Accent to the sedan, it makes it harder for this vehicle to stand out from the pack and limits the number of buyers who will even consider it.
3. Noise Leaks Into Cabin
Although the cabin is designed to keep you from feeling the bumps, it does very little when it comes to preventing road and wind noise from seeping in. This becomes very apparent when the Accent hits highway speeds. Some drivers may not notice it, while others may decide it is worth getting used to for the Accent's low price and impressive value.
4. Smaller Than Average Trunk Space
While it is true that no one is shopping the subcompact sedan market looking for something with a huge cargo hold, the Accent does a little worse than average in this category. The trunk offers only 13.7 cubic feet. This means you will have to think twice about taking the Accent for a big grocery shopping trip. The Accent also probably is not the best choice for a family vacation.
5. Manual Transmission Reserved for Base Model
The manual transmission is not quite as efficient as the CVT, however, it is a lot more fun to drive. It would be nice if this was an option on the SEL and Limited trim levels, which come with significantly more features. Still, buyers can opt for the Accent SE and get a fun vehicle at a hard-to-beat price.
How it Stacks Up to the Competition:
2021 Hyundai Accent vs 2021 Nissan Versa
Many consider the Versa to be the current king of the subcompact vehicle market. It received a complete redesign in 2020, making it more modern and adding quite a few more standard features. The Versa can be had for roughly the same starting price as the Accent. It is also available with many more driver aids, broadening its appeal to families and more safety-conscious drivers. On the other hand, it is not quite as fuel-efficient as the Accent is when it has the CVT. It also does not feel quite as engaging to drive.
2021 Hyundai Accent vs 2021 Kia Rio
These two vehicles are very similar, which is really not surprising considering the connection between Kia and Hyundai. They have the same performance stats and their cabins are the same size as well. You will find that you can buy the Rio for less than the Accent, however, there are fewer available features for the Rio. For example, it cannot have either heated front seats or a sunroof. The Rio does have a sportier setup, which may appeal to some, but this comes at the cost of ride comfort.
Overall, the 2021 Hyundai Accent does a great job of living up to expectations. It is affordable, comfortable, and fuel-efficient. There are a few things that Hyundai can do to increase its appeal moving forward, however. Offering it in a hatchback again would go definitely help attract more buyers. The vehicle could also stand more powertrain options as well as a redesign that includes more trunk space. These are all changes that can be made without taking away from the heart of what this vehicle is meant to be. In the meantime, the Accent is a perfectly acceptable choice for a daily driver.
• Why buy a 2020 Hyundai Accent? w/ pros vs cons