2012 Hyundai Accent GLS hatchback
2012 Hyundai Accent GLS hatchback. Click image to enlarge

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Manufacturer’s web site
Hyundai Canada

Review and photos by Grant Yoxon

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2012 Hyundai Accent

Just to admit my biases up front, I have a long history with Hyundai’s little cars.

I drove an ’85 Excel for five years back in the early ‘90s. It was my daily beater, its sole purpose being to keep me off the bus. It really was a utilitarian piece of work, but at least it had a radio. And it was dead simple to work on. My technician nephew and I rebuilt the engine one Saturday without needing to remove it from the car. When my time with that car was over, it was sold twice more, rebuilt several times and for all I know is still out there running around.

One of the first cars I reviewed for the Ottawa Citizen was a 1999 Hyundai Accent. I remember that I was impressed with just how vastly superior it was to the Excel. I also reviewed the 2000 Hyundai Accent GSi and the 2007 Accent hatchback and noted not only the continuing improvement Hyundai demonstrated in these entry level vehicles but also the incredible value for money that they represented.

2012 Hyundai Accent GLS hatchback
2012 Hyundai Accent GLS hatchback. Click image to enlarge

Most recently I had the pleasure (yes, really) of driving a 2006 GLS sedan from Vancouver to Ottawa and found that despite my misgivings it was a fun little car to drive. With features like heated front seats, power windows and door locks and a decent stereo, I was quite comfortable and didn’t feel beaten up after four and a half days behind the wheel, despite the lack of cruise control, an item that was not even offered optionally in 2006.

Well here we are testing 2012 model year vehicles, and the Hyundai Accent just keeps getting better. Cruise control is now available as well as a shopping list of desirable comfort, convenience and safety features. And it still represents good value for money even if it is no longer the cheapest car in Canada. That honour now goes to the base Nissan Versa.

2012 Hyundai Accent GLS hatchback
2012 Hyundai Accent GLS hatchback. Click image to enlarge

Our test vehicle was a GLS hatchback model, top-of-the-line as they say, and it came equipped with air conditioning, keyless entry, cruise control, heated mirrors with integrated LED turn signals, sunglass holder, centre console armrest, power windows, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, 16-inch alloy rims, fog lamps, XM satellite radio, heated seats, Bluetooth with voice activation, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a sunroof. Total cost all in, including $1,495 destination charge – $18,694.

Even in base L trim, the 2012 Accent is anything but basic with features like power door locks, six-way adjustable driver’s seat and an audio system with USB and iPod inputs, all for $13,599 plus destination. But it is likely that most buyers will forgo the L and opt instead for the GL which adds air conditioning, 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks, cruise control, power windows with driver’s side auto down, steering wheel audio controls and a pair of additional tweeters for the audio system for $15,399.

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