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


Review and photos by Greg Wilson

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After introducing a redesigned Accent four-door sedan in the fall of 2005 (as a 2006 model), Hyundai recently introduced a redesigned Accent two-door hatchback model for 2007. Unlike the Kia Rio5 (which uses the same platform and mechanicals), the 2007 Accent hatchback is not offered as a four-door hatchback. In fact, the 2007 Accent is the only new subcompact hatchback not available with four doors. Its major competitors, the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Chevy Aveo, Pontiac Wave, Nissan Versa, Suzuki Swift and Kia Rio5, are all available with four doors (the Yaris is also offered as a two-door hatchback). Given the popularity and practicality of four-door hatchbacks, this would seem to be a bit of an oversight by Hyundai.

Nevertheless, the new two-door Accent hatchback has the roomiest interior in its class (with the exception of the upcoming Nissan Versa) with 2,610 litres (compared to the Fit’s 2,550 litres and the Yaris’ 2,396 litres), and the second biggest trunk (450 litres) compared to the Fit’s 603 litres and the Yaris’ 228 litres. The Rio5’s passenger volume and cargo space is about the same as the Accent.

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

But with two doors (even though they’re longer than competitor’s front doors) getting in and out of the rear seat of the Accent hatchback is more difficult. The passenger seat will slide forwards automatically when the seatback is lowered, but it won’t slide back automatically when the seatback is raised. And though the Accent hatchback is longer and wider than a Honda Fit, it’s about 54 mm (2.1 inches) lower in height, which actually makes the Fit feel roomier inside.

On the plus side, the two-door Accent looks sportier than competitor’s four-door models, and its clean styling is very attractive, in my opinion. This week’s test car, a GS Sport model, features standard 16-inch tires and alloy wheels which add to its sporty appearance.

Trim levels and pricing

Base 2007 Hyundai Accent GS models start at $13,495, an increase of about $500 over the 2006 Accent GS two-door hatchback which it replaces. For comparison, the 2006 Toyota Yaris CE 2-door is $13,725, the Honda Fit 4-door is $14,980, and the Chevy Aveo 4-door is $12,195) The Honda Fit is priced considerably higher than the Accent because it includes standard side and curtain airbags which are only available on the uplevel Accent Premium model ($16,695).

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

Standard equipment on base Accent GS hatchbacks ($13,495) includes a 110-hp 1.6-litre four cylinder engine (up from 104-hp), five-speed manual transmission, dual front airbags, power steering (engine rpm sensing), P185/65R-14 inch tires, AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with four speakers, split 60/40 folding rear seatbacks, rear centre armrest with cupholders, tachometer, tilt steering wheel, driver’s folding armrest, and height adjustable driver’s seat.

2007 Hyundai Accent GS Comfort models ($15,195) include all of the above standard features plus air conditioning, power windows with driver’s auto down feature, power door locks, power heated mirrors, remote keyless unlocking, and alarm.

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

Accent GS Sport models ($16,195), this week’s test car, adds P205/45R-16-inch radials and 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power sunroof, two more speakers, and stiffer shocks to improve handling.

Top-of-the-line GS Premium models ($16,695) have all the standard features of the GS Comfort model plus four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake force distribution, side and curtain airbags, fog lamps, 14-inch alloy wheels, and heated front seats.

All models are available with an optional four-speed automatic transmission for an extra $950.

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

This fall, a new SR model with 17-inch performance tires, body kit, fender flares, free-flow air intake and chrome-tipped exhaust will arrive at a price expected to be under $20,000.

Another thing to remember: all Hyundais have a standard five-year/100,000 km warranty, two years more than its competitors, except Kia.

2007 Hyundai Accent GS Sport

2007 Hyundai Accent GS Sport

2007 Hyundai Accent GS Sport

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


Interior impressions

My black test car had a rather sombre black interior which was relieved by a few bright metal touches around the gauges and heater controls. The front sport seats are covered in a durable, attractive fabric with textured seat inserts, and on the GS Sport, the shift knob and steering wheel are leather-wrapped. The quality of the plastics and trim is very good, and certainly a step up from the previous Accent hatch.

The driver’s seat has two rotary seat cushion height adjusters, prominent side bolsters, and a folding inboard armrest which I found very useful when cruising on the freeway. I liked the one-touch-down feature of the driver’s power window. As well, even after the ignition is turned off, the driver’s window will still lower, a feature not seen on many economy cars.

I also liked the little storage compartments below the radio and below the heater, handy for things like CDs, phones and garage door openers. However, there’s no armrest/storage bin between the front seats. Phones can be charged on a 12 volt powerpoint at the bottom of the centre console.

I didn’t like the smallish letters on the radio which are hard to read, and it took me a while to figure out that the Radio Scan function is marked BSM.

As I mentioned, getting into the rear seat requires some agility, but once back there, legroom and headroom are adequate.

2007 Hyundai Accent GS Sport

2007 Hyundai Accent GS Sport

2007 Hyundai Accent GS Sport

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

The wheelbase has been stretched 60 mm over the previous Accent hatchback, so there’s definitely more rear legroom. A centre rear folding centre armrest includes two cupholders.

Folding the 60/40 rear seatbacks is a two-step process. First, you pull a strap on the seat cushion to lift up the seat cushion, and pull it up against the front seatbacks. Then you pull up on a latch on the top of the seatbacks, and fold them down. The rear head restraints have to be removed first, though. When folded down, the seatbacks are not flush with the trunk floor, but they do have carpeted seatbacks which prevents scratching. Putting the seats up again is a bit fiddly, in part because there is no rear door to access the rear seat area. The rear head restraints have to be replaced and I found the seatbelt buckles get lost behind the seat cushions when they are moved back into position.

The cargo area is quite roomy for a subcompact (15.9 cu. ft.), but it’s down from 16.9 cu. ft. in the 2006 Accent hatchback. The rear liftgate lifts up easily over your head, and it locks and unlocks with the remote fob.

Though the Accent has five seatbelts and five adjustable head restraints, the rear seat is really only wide enough for two passengers. For safety, it would be nice to see side and curtain airbags available, even as an option, on base GS, GS Comfort and GS Sport models.


Driving impressions

Though it has the most horsepower in its class and its 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine includes continuously variable valve timing, I found its performance a bit underwhelming. 0 to 100 km/h take about 9.5 seconds, on par with other cars in its class, but not significantly better. Acceleration from a standing start is peppy, but weak in the 50 to 80 km/h range and when passing on the highway.

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

Still, performance is not the main reason people buy subcompacts: the Accent hatch is fuel-efficient, delivering 8.3 L/100 km (34 mpg Imp) in the city and 5.9 L/100 km (48 mpg Imp) on the highway with the automatic transmission: that’s not class leading, but it’s still quite thrifty.

The four-speed automatic transmission shifts very smoothly and it has a push-button on/off overdrive switch for quick downshifting from 4th to 3rd.

Handling is nimble, and the GS Sport’s Kumho 205/45R-16 inch tires have more grip than the standard 14-inch tires on the GS Comfort and GS Premium models. The ride is comfortable even with the GS Sport’s stiffer sport suspension and lower profile tires. Steering is precise and well-weighted, with less effort at lower speeds due to its engine-speed sensitive power assist, and the turning circle of 10.1 metres (33.1 ft.) is reasonably tight for city driving and parking. However, it is unfortunate that four-wheel disc brakes with ABS are available only on the Accent Premium model – all other models have front disc/rear drum brakes without ABS. It would be nice to see ABS available, even as an option, on the Sport model.

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

Outward visibility for the driver is good, helped by a seating position that is 50 mm higher than last year, and big windows. As well, the centre rear head restraint is positioned lower so as not to obstruct the driver’s rear view, and a standard rear wiper and washer significantly improve rear visibility in inclement weather.

Being small, the Accent hatch is fun to drive around town because it’s so easy to slip in and out of traffic and find parking spaces. At the same time, it’s quite comfortable on the freeway, and makes an excellent commuter vehicle.


Verdict

The 2007 Hyundai Accent GS Sport two-door hatchback has sporty looks and a nice interior, but horsepower is a bit underwhelming. Still, its hatchback configuration is very practical, and it comes with a standard five-year/100,000 km warranty.


Pricing

Specifications

Type 2-door, 5-passenger subcompact hatchback
Layout transverse front engine/front-wheel drive
Engine 1.6-litre 4-cylinder, DOHC, 16 valves, CVVT
Horsepower 110 @ 6000 rpm
Torque 106 @ 4500 rpm
Transmission 5-speed manual (4-speed automatic)
Curb weight 1058 kg – 1188 kg (2332 lb – 2619 lb)
Wheelbase 2500 mm (98.4 in.)
Length 4045 mm (159.2 in)
Width 1695 mm (66.7 in.)
Height 1470 mm (57.9 in.)
cargo capacity 450 litres (15.9 cu. ft.)
Fuel consumption: manual City: 7.4 L/100 km (38 mpg Imp)
  Hwy: 6.2 L/100 km (46 mpg Imp)
Fuel consumption: automatic 8.3 L/100 km (34 mpg Imp)
  5.9 L/100 km (48 mpg Imp)
Warranty 5 yrs/100,000 km
Powertrain warranty 5 yrs/100,000 km
Front airbags standard
Side airbags optional
Curtain airbags optional
Traction control N/A
Stability control N/A
Assembly location Ulsan, South Korea
*Specifications subject to change


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Competitors

  • Buyer’s Guide: 2007 Honda Fit
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2006 Toyota Yaris
  • Buyers Guide: 2006 Chev Aveo
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2006 Pontiac Wave
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2006 Suzuki Swift+
  • First Drive: 2007 Nissan Versa


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