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2022 Hyundai Accent Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons.

2022 Hyundai Accent Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: SE vs SEL and Limited

Compare the 2022 Hyundai Accent Trims - SE vs SEL and Limited. What is the difference between them?

Subcompact cars are quickly becoming a thing of the past. The Hyundai Accent, however, is one of the few remaining holdouts. Petite in its stature, the 2022 Hyundai Accent is perfectly adept for city driving. What's more, its entry-level price tag is one that appeals to the buyer on a budget.

With its quiet cabin and comfortable ride quality, the Accent makes for a cozy scuttle about town. Its build quality is impressive given its price tag, and Hyundai has given this subcompact car as much interior space as it possibly can. You've probably seen a few of the old hatchbacks still on the road, but those were discontinued as of 2020. Now, you get the sedan, which is a lot more spacious inside of the cabin than the hatchback was - at least, that's certainly how it feels.

Plus, with its excellent real-world fuel economy practically besting its high EPA estimates, the Accent makes for a solid daily driver. Hyundai's warranty coverage is some of the most generous that you can find, boosting the overall value of the Accent well above other sedans.

The Accent isn't all sunshine and daisies though. Part of the problem lies with what is included and what gets skipped over. Obviously, at this price, a few of the features found on Hyundai's more expensive vehicles will be absent from the list. You cannot get any sort of onboard navigation, but the vehicle's system connects to smartphone navigation apps using either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to sync up. Also, the USB port that you do get struggles just to charge a smartphone. Don't be surprised if your phone never makes it back to 100% battery life while being charged in the vehicle. Advanced driver aids only come on the line-topping Limited trim level.

The biggest source of discomfort comes from the standard cloth seats. Not only are the uncomfortable in their design, but they are downright heat traps. They're not that pleasant to sit on, on a hot summer day. For a manufacturer renowned for providing comfort, it is rather mind-boggling as to why Hyundai would upholster the Accent's seats in such harsh and hot fabric. To top that off, there is no longer a manual transmission available. Our condolences to those who love driving a stick shift.

Overall, the Accent is a remarkable little vehicle for its price. It faces some tough competition, but it outperforms most of them. Even its corporate cousin, the Kia Rio, struggles to keep pace with the Accent. With three trim levels to choose from, the Accent presents buyers with three affordable options. But which one has the features that will suit your needs? Does one hold the most value? Let's compare the SE, SEL, and Limited to find out if one of these trims will pique your interest.


Compare the SE vs SEL Trims. What is the difference?

Starting off the 2022 Hyundai Accent line-up is the SE trim level, which is followed up by the mid-tier SEL trim. All trim levels in this line-up are powered by the same standard engine, which delivers on the fuel economy front. This vehicle gets an EPA estimated 36 miles per gallon in combined driving (from 33 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway), making it one of the more efficient subcompact sedans on the market. Even its real-world tests reflect these numbers well.

Now, about that engine. It is a 1.6-L inline four-cylinder engine that is able to generate a power output of 120 horsepower and 113 lb-ft of torque. This engine gets matched to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT for short). It has a dual port fuel injection system and a 16-valve valvetrain with CVVT. Power gets directed to the two front wheels; all-wheel-drive (AWD) is not available on any trim level.

This four-door unibody design has a front MacPherson Strut with gas shock absorbers and coil springs plus a rear torsion axle with monotube shock absorbers and coil springs. There is motor-driven power steering. One mechanical difference is that rear disc brakes are added to the SEL trim level. Also, the SE's 15-inch steel wheels that are adorned with wheel covers are swapped out on the SEL in favor of alloy wheels in the same size.

Safety features on the SE and SEL are relatively basic but also essential. A driver's blind spot monitor gets added to the SEL, so you will have to add after-market blind spot mirrors if you get the SE. Neither trim comes with Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist. They do both have a vehicle stability management system, electronic stability control, traction control, and a 4-wheel, 4-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution - again, essentials for driving. Hill start assist control, an occupant classification system, advanced airbags for the driver and front seat passenger, a tire pressure monitoring system, seatbelt pretensioners up front, a LATCH system for child car safety seats, rear child safety locks, and an anti-theft alarm with remote keyless entry are all standard. But, as you can tell, there is no bundle filled with driver aids.

The SE's exterior design is fairly simplistic. It comes with a one-touch triple turn signal, two power adjustable exterior mirrors done in the chosen body color, and a chrome grille up front. The SEL does add a few more trimmings to help the Accent look, well, accentuated. This includes slapping on chrome window belt molding, a heating function on each of the side mirrors, automatic control over the headlights, and a set of fog lights up front. Other than that, the SEL is not too complicated on the outside.

Inside, you will find a fairly standard array of features shared between the two trim levels. They both have seats upholstered in that standard heat-trapping cloth we talked about. Also, the driver's seat is manually adjustable six ways and height adjustable up and down. There are also two sliding adjustments and two reclining ones. The rear seatback has a 60/40 split fold. Cloth inserts can be found on the doors. A rear window defroster with a built-in timer, an air conditioning system, and an exterior temperature display help you control the cabin temperature.

Some extras that get included on the SEL are a passenger side seatback pocket and a sliding armrest (with a storage bin underneath) for the driver.

Cruise control is one of the controls mounted onto the multifunctional steering wheel. Audio controls are also built into it. Other tech features include a Bluetooth hands-free phone system, which gains voice recognition on the SEL trim level. The front and rear comes with power operated windows, but on the SEL, the driver's window is auto-up. Both have power door locks and panic alert with the remote keyless entry system. While the SE has an AM/FM/CD/MP3 setup with a 5-inch color touchscreen and four speaker sound system, the SEL switches to a 7-inch touchscreen display, an AM/FM/SirusXM Radio with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone app integration, and a six-speaker sound system. A rear-view camera with dynamic guidelines is standard. You get smartphone/USB and MP3 auxiliary input jacks with dual USB charging added to the SEL trim level. An engine immobilizer is optional on both of these trim levels and is a helpful theft deterrent tool.

Compare the SEL vs Limited Trims. What is the difference?

The Limited trim level has a few more features that it offers, but it might not feel like much. Given that its price difference over the SEL is just over $2,000, you might not feel like these additions are really enough to justify the cost.

Mechanically, the only thing different about the Limited is the fact that it rides on 17-inch alloy wheels instead of the 15-inch set found on the SEL. You do get forward collision assist on the Limited, but you will not find any other driver aids equipped on this vehicle.

There are a few more exterior features added onto the list of the Accent Limited. For starters, you get treated to a hands-free remote trunk release, making access to the trunk a lot easier when you have your hands full of stuff. On the front of the vehicle, you get upgraded to LED headlights with LED daytime running lights included. There are also LED taillights equipped on the rear. Integrated turn signals come with the side mirrors, and you get a power tilting and sliding sunroof for a little more airflow into the cabin.

As far as interior features go, you get a few more things included. The front seats gain a heating function, which can feel nice in the winter. Also, there is an automatic climate control system that has an automatic defogging system built into it, eliminating the need for you to manually force the defogger to run. Push button start accompanies the Limited's proximity key. The only other addition is the standardization of the engine immobilizer. Other than that, you won't notice too many differences between the SEL and the Limited trim levels.


Final Thoughts

The SE probably seems too basic for most buyers to really be interested in purchasing. Sure, it is the most affordable option, but it doesn't give you much bang for your buck. The Limited trim level tacks on a few extra grand and only a select number of upgrades. The price tag is pretty hard to justify for some buyers.

That's why we recommend going middle of the road on the 2022 Hyundai Accent. Buying the SEL trim level gets you the foundational features plus enough extras without the price tag skyrocketing. It is only about $1,300 more to start with than the SE and adds a lot of value. The tech features alone justify the additional cost. Having Bluetooth, smartphone app integration, and a sizable 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system help make the Accent feel more contemporary. The SE lacks this level of technology. And, truly, the SEL's tech caters to everyone. Whether you're tech-savvy or totally new to this in-vehicle tech gadgetry, Hyundai makes it easy to learn the ropes and enjoy using them.

Of course, one of the biggest bonuses to buying any Accent - or any Hyundai, really - is the generous warranty coverage. Any Accent you select has a New Vehicle Limited Warranty of 5 years/60,000 miles. The Powertrain Limited Warranty covers you for 10 years/100,000 miles. A 7 years/unlimited miles anti-perforation rust warranty and 10 years/100,000 miles Hybrid System Components warranty also comes with the Hyundai Accent.

That being said, despite lacking some of the more desirable driver aids and a few tech features, the 2022 Hyundai Accent is better than your average "economy" vehicle. It delivers a superb fuel economy while still having a responsive engine, making the Accent rather fun to drive. In this dwindling segment, that alone is a pretty big accomplishment.

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