Golden rays of California sun twinkle through the palms, and play atop smooth black pavement along the ocean side as the day comes to an end. Two surfer gals still in their bikinis and waist wraps nap in the backseat while their beaus exchange a fulfilled nod to each other as they crank up the music.
Sound good? No? Then the all-new 2006 Hyundai Accent GLS is for you.
Roll call! Ding-a-ling warning chime? Here. Excitement? Style? Comfort? Still absent. But in the compact sedan segment, chances are you weren't expecting them in the first place.
What the four-door Accent GLS has in spades is the bare minimum in accommodations and a relatively low price. And if you're trading in the Hummer, you'll end up paying for this new little guy in no time with its 28 miles per gallon in the city and 38 on the highway.
But with all that cash you saved spilling out of your trousers, the question remains: Can you stand the anonymity? Given the amount of capable competitors in this segment and price range, the answer is more likely no — surfer or not.
An engine, four tires and four doors
Before this turns into a total love fest, let's pull back a step and take a peek at what the Accent does offer, because this car is by no means a lightweight. It's a very capable vehicle that nails the fundamentals. In other words, it doesn't do much — but what it does, it does well.
Take a quick trip around the Accent and, frankly, it's somewhat amazing what you can get for $13,300 to start.
Under the hood, Hyundai claims class-leading power from the standard 110-horsepower, 1.6-liter, DOHC inline four-cylinder engine, tuned with variable valve timing. In practice, you can safely smash the pedal to the floor just to amuse yourself. Although it won't blow doors off the line, taking a leisurely 11.8 seconds to get up to 60 mph, the front-wheel-drive Accent motors around with little ruckus from under the hood and no complaints from the standard four-speed automatic.
Still, the competition tends to be substantially faster, with the Toyota Yaris S, Scion xA and Chevy Aveo all getting to 60 mph a second quicker. And it gets worse over 60 mph. Because of an ambitious gear ratio in 4th combined with the low-torque engine, the Accent takes nearly 8 seconds to get from there to 75 mph. And that's painful with a tractor-trailer in the rearview. The perk, of course, is high mileage, with 28/38 mpg on the window sticker and an average 23.8 mpg in our grueling mostly city testing regimen.
In the handling department, the Accent GLS does fairly well in everyday circumstances, despite riding on a MacPherson strut front and a torsion beam rear suspension. At the track, it ran through the slalom with solid grip and average roll in an impressive 64.8 mph (faster than the Aveo, slower than the Fit or Yaris) with minimal noise from the optional 15-inch Kumho Solus HP4 Plus tires.
Hyundai says it also improved body stiffness by 39 percent over the previous model. The efforts have paid off with a smooth and remarkably quiet ride, although at highway speeds the car doesn't feel confident in evasive maneuvers or on rough surfaces thanks to a steering rack that transmits large amounts of turbulence from the wheels.
Safety and security
Among the other major selling points for the Accent are the standard safety features, including four-wheel antilock disc brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution. The brake system shined at the track, stopping this little fella from 60 mph in 122 feet with minimal ABS vibration. Front, side-door and side curtain airbags for driver and passenger are also standard.
Then comes the warranty — perhaps the most referenced feature of a Hyundai product. The Accent comes with a five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, seven-year/unlimited mileage anti-perforation warranty and five years of roadside assistance.
All this and more is available on the Accent's lone trim level for just over $13,000. It's impressive how much you can get in an entry-level these days, eh? For $1,500 more, our tester added the sport package, which featured A/C; power windows, mirrors and locks; remote keyless entry; and 15-inch alloy wheels. Throw in carpeted floor mats for another $65 and our final MSRP was $14,870.
Inside, the design is simple and functional and the materials aren't cheap-looking, but our tester had a few minor panel fits that weren't quite flush.
Controls are simple and easy to discern. Hyundai even delivers a soft, two-tone khaki and mud interior décor, giving the cabin a comfortable ambience with plenty of space for the driver to feel safe and at home. Views from the front seats are very nice, with the short hood allowing a full view of what's immediately ahead.
In a heady disclosure, Hyundai's data shows that the Accent's total interior space is about a Verne Troyer bigger than the 2006 Honda Civic. And while there is ample space in the driver seat, it only feels that way when you're alone. With a passenger in front, the cabin feels cramped, with sincere apologies to those who have to fit in back.
Hyundai's engineers have obviously studied what makes Toyota and Honda interiors work and tried to mimic the major points. (Listen to that tuned slam of the front doors.) And in this attempt, they've succeeded in large measure with a wraparound design that makes the car seem quite sophisticated. In a few instances, they've even thrown in surprising touches, like lighted mirrors on both visors.
From the exterior it appears you won't have any trunk space, but when you crack that puppy open, it extends surprisingly far, allowing 12.4 cubic feet of space (eating up some precious backseat comfort as well). The backseats also fold down for bigger cargo.
Too much competition to break out
Hyundai had a tremendous challenge with the 2006 Accent, given the amount of competition coming out in the compact segment. The big dogs like Honda, Toyota and Nissan all had new offerings starting in the $13,000-$14,000 range, while Chevy kept the pressure up from below with its Aveo starting at $12,850.
With this in mind, it makes sense to avoid any risky design moves that might drive customers away. And it also makes sense to focus on the core components to keep price — the ultimate feature in this segment — in line with or beneath the competition.
Those who choose the Accent will more than likely have an enjoyable experience. But given the number of competitors here — that is to say, nearly every major manufacturer — the Hyundai could very easily get lost in the mix.
• Car Reviews & News
• Car News Test Drives
Porsche Cayenne SpeedART Titan EVO-XL 600 | lotus exige mirrors | mercedes benz g 63 amg body kits | leon | hothatch | subaru forester sti | tips of mazydar khane | subaru impreza 2006 | photo grand cherokee srt8 2010 | Rolls-Royce Ghost Diva by Fenice Milano | SONATA | dodge viper srt 10 | super cool kit cars | 2006 lotus exige | hydrogen fuel cell | mazda rx7 for sale | volvo air motion concept | Lola Aston Martin | 2013 nissan z | jeep wrangler tuning | wrx 2006 | impreza wrx 2006 | test drive saturn aura | speedart Titan Limited | vw tiguan dub | S 600 brabus | white gmc denali with rims | dodge caliber concept | imagenes de carro maserati | 1945 alfa romeo
Car News Car Videos and News
Red Bull raced ahead in the Formula 1 Championship with Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel making it a 1-2 for the team.
Formula One giant Ferrari will be taking part in its 800th race when the red cars take to the track at the Turkish Grand Prix this weekend.
The much talked about and controversial rule banning team orders has been lifted in the latest changes in the rules of Formula One Motorsport...
→ Official Automotive News
Car Reviews Automotive & Motoring News
Lewis Hamilton won the Turkish Grand Prix to stall the winning spree of the Red Bulls and put McLaren on top in the current Formula One season.
→ Car Reviews