2007 Hyundai Accent GS Comfort
2007 Hyundai Accent GS Comfort. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Chris Chase

Discuss this story in the forum at CarTalkCanada

Find this vehicle in Autos’s Classified Ads

Since Hyundai began selling its third-generation Accent subcompact last year as a 2006 model, we’ve been impressed by what the company has done with this little car. It looks good inside and out, offers decent interior space and is as fuel-efficient as most buyers in this category demand their cars to be.

The one question we have for Hyundai is: what happened to the four-door hatchback version? Canada got its first four-door Accent hatch in 2005, though the bodystyle had been available in other markets since the late 1990s. While the 2007 Accent hatch brings with it all the nice things the new sedan had in 2006, it does not come with back doors.

So it’s your pick: two door hatch or four-door sedan. If you want a four-door hatch, you have a couple of other options. If you harbour some loyalty to South Korea, go for the Kia Rio, a re-badged Accent bearing the name of Hyundai’s subsidiary. In fact, in hatch form, the Rio only comes as a four door.

2007 Hyundai Accent GS Comfort
2007 Hyundai Accent GS Comfort. Click image to enlarge

There’s the Honda Fit, with its nifty card-trick of a back seat. Toyota’s Yaris is cute, but isn’t as strong a value and doesn’t have as much cargo space. Nissan’s pitched its new Versa at the heart of the subcompact market price-wise, but it’s much bigger than the rest of the class and is an impressively smooth operator. The Chevrolet Aveo/Pontiac Wave/Suzuki Swift+ triplets are also South Korean, but are largely also-rans in what’s become a very competitive segment. Confusing matters further are Volkswagen’s City Golf hatchback and City Jetta sedan models, essentially last generation models brought back at lower prices to give VW a contender in the subcompact price range.

But we’re here to hang out with this most recent version of the Accent, so let’s get to it. Our tester was a GS model fitted with an automatic transmission and the “Comfort” package, which throws in keyless entry and an alarm system, air conditioning and power locks, windows and (heated) mirrors. We figure this will be the option configuration that most buyers will choose, as it looks to us like a good value on paper. We also think it’s a nice-looking little car, with styling that doesn’t push any boundaries, but by that token shouldn’t offend too many, either.

2007 Hyundai Accent GS Comfort
2007 Hyundai Accent GS Sport
The Accent GS Comfort gets 14-inch steel wheels and wheel covers (top), while the GS Sport has nicer 16-inch alloy wheels; Accent GS Sport photo by Greg Wilson. Click image to enlarge

But what’s like in the flesh? We’ve had a good look at three other models in the Accent line-up: the top-end GLS sedan, which comes fitted with all kinds of standard safety equipment, including side airbags, anti-lock brakes with four-wheel discs, heated front seats and 15-inch alloy wheels for a 2007 model-year MSRP of $16,995 ($17,945 with automatic); a GL sedan with the comfort package and a five-speed manual transmission and priced at $15,595 (for 2007), and the Accent GS Sport hatchback, which has the same features as our current tester and adds two more speakers to the stereo system (for a total of six), a power sunroof and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The Sport model also gets 16-inch wheels and a nicely firmed-up suspension, for $16,195 ($17,145 with automatic).

Fitted with an auto tranny (as all but one of our Accent testers have been), the GS we’re talking about this week is the second-least expensive of the three, with an MSRP of $16,145 (manual-transmission versions of the Accent hatchback start at $15,195).

2007 Hyundai Accent GS Comfort
2007 Hyundai Accent GS Comfort. Click image to enlarge

As we mentioned in our review of the GLS sedan, the Accent’s basic suspension tends toward the soft end of the spectrum. Way soft, with lots of up-and-down rebound motions over wavy roads. We were hopeful that our non-sport tester might have the same starchier spring and damper settings found in the Sport model, but we were out of luck. Where the Sport model actually rides and handles with some verve, the basic GS hatch shares its suspenders with the sedan. Oh well. We suppose that buyers who value a firmer ride will be willing to pay the extra $1,000 the Sport model commands. Or, they might buy, you know, a sportier car.

But Sport model or not, the Accent isn’t about thrilling performance. What it is about is pleasant, economical transportation. Softly sprung as it may be, the basic Accent three-door is a comfortable way to get around town. Push it around corners and you’ll quickly find the limits of the car’s suspension and non-Sport trim notwithstanding, the five-speed manual transmission would be the more willing dance partner for more eager drivers. The four-speed auto works just fine, but it does sap power, especially off the line. Highway passing manoeuvres require plenty of planning too, but that’s nothing that doesn’t apply to most subcompacts.

2007 Hyundai Accent GS Comfort
2007 Hyundai Accent GS Comfort
2007 Hyundai Accent GS Comfort. Click image to enlarge

Inside, space is good, though, as editor Greg Wilson mentioned in his review of the Sport model, the Honda Fit feels roomier thanks to a taller roofline. Like other examples of this newest Accent that we’ve driven, fit-and-finish is excellent. We prefer the two-tone interior treatment that the sedan gets, though; some lighter trim pieces would give nice relief to the all-black accommodations inside the hatchback.

What Hyundai’s proven to us with the third-generation Accent is that it’s capable of producing a really good, basic small car. It may not have the Honda Fit’s tremendous cargo-carrying flexibility or be able to rival the Nissan Versa’s interior space and super-smooth manners, but this car is a significant improvement over the previous generation Accent and represents a great value for drivers seeking nothing more than simple transportation.



  • Click here for complete specifications

Related stories on Autos: Competitors

  • Buyer’s Guide: 2007 Chevrolet Aveo

  • Buyer’s Guide: 2007 Honda Fit
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2007 Toyota Yaris
  • First Drive: 2007 Nissan Versa
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2007 Pontiac Wave

Crash test results

Manufacturer’s web site

Connect with Autos.ca