New Hyundai Accent: small car, big style
These days, not even Taylor Swift can match Hyundai for cranking out chart-topping hits. Sonata, Elantra, Genesis, Santa Fe, Tucson, Equus. In the past year or so, it seems like the entire Hyundai line-up has had more new additions than Brad and Angelina. And with more of us starting to fall in love with the gas-sipping benefits of small cars, along comes Hyundai's newest kid on the block, the 2012 Accent. New from nose to tail, this Mini-me Sonata boasts head-turning styling, best-in-class interior space, best-in-class horsepower and 40 mpg highway economy.And here's the sweet part; despite offering more equipment and more state-of-the-art technology, you can drive away in a new base Accent GLS sedan for $13,205. That's the same price as the last model. Take your pick from a four-door sedan or five-door hatch with the choice of GLS, GS or SE trim levels. As with pretty much every Hyundai model these days, the Accent will spin heads at Starbucks with its mix of crisp lines and bold stance. While the sedan stands out with its swoopy roofline, my favorite is the fast-looking five-door. Talking of fast, the Accent is powered by a new, super-efficient 1.6-liter 138-horsepower four-cylinder. It comes standard with a six-speed stick, though if you can find the extra $1,000, for me the six-speed auto is worth the investment. On the road, this new mini Hyundai is a sweet ride with its Teflon-smooth engine and refined ride. You can't expect fireworks with 138 horses but it still feels zippy and nimble through downtown traffic. But what's with the numb, dead-zone steering? This electric-assist system feels like it's been given a shot of Novocain. Steering-feel aside, the 2012 Accent is a terrific little car that's big on style and high on quality. Another hit for Hyundai? You bet. Tampa-based auto writer Howard Walker can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.