When Hyundai entered the market about 2 decades ago, I don’t think anyone anticipated how quickly the brand would grow over the next couple of decades. I remember the first accent; it was nothing exciting, it was small and, well, to put it into perspective, it was bland and boring.
Let’s be honest, the Accent has never been on the must-buy list for the prospective car buyer out there. They would far rather look at a Polo or a Corsa. After all, they has more ‘street rep’ or ‘street cred’ – why else would there be a gazillion of them on the road otherwise?
What Hyundai has here is something so completely different though. To me it’s a real masterpiece and I really can’t stop raving about the car. For starters the top of the range GLS manual model is only R169 000. What’s so special about that you ask? Well, there is nothing in the current market that gives you the same value for money package. Seriously, there is nothing else out there that competes with it and how they aren’t selling at least 20 per day, I don’t know.
The. 1.6 16v Dohc, makes 91 kW and is a screamer – the engine is not something you expect to find in the body. It reminds me of the Honda Civic Vtecs from the late 90’s. The engine also features a variable valve timing and lift control – yes that VVTL thingy, almost like the Vtec previously mentioned. The car accelerates so effortlessly, you would think its a 2.0l under the hood. The car weights just over 1000kg, so it really has a high power-to-weight ratio. Top speed is limited to about 190kph, where it seems there is a speed governor interfering. There is also rear park distance control fitted completely standard on this model.
Stopping you from all the speed, are ventilated disks in the front with normal disks in the rear, featuring a four channel ABS system. Brakes work and feel very good for a car in this class. Wheels are a little skinny at 175/70/14 and it really needs 15 or 16 inch wheels, which will not only make the car look a little more sporty, but will also improve the handling. Suspension is comfortable with a little bit of body roll, but it’s not a sports car and for an entry level family vehicle its pretty good.
Let’s get to the part where most drivers will spend their time; yes, behind the wheel. The multifunction steering wheel controls the entertainment system and the Bluetooth hands free phone. Yes, you read that right – Bluetooth in a 170k car! I didn’t believe it either. The gorgeous dials are backlit in a lovely white colour and its clearly visible during day or night. The info center shows the trip and Odo with an estimated fuel consumption and range; very useful seeing how far a tank could potentially take you. On average we saw about 6.8l per 100km over about 600km driven in mixed conditions and at mixed speeds. Not bad at all I think.
The entertainment system, featuring a Bluetooth connection for your phone, USB for your music and a front loading CD player recessed in a shiny black plastic-like console all look pretty good! The system also features 6 speakers, 2 tweeters and 4 full-range door speakers. Sound is loud and clear and, for the most part, audiophiles should be happy. Overall, I really like the way this car drives; its quiet and smooth and you would not expect much to happen when you throw back a gear and floor it, but then all hell breaks loose and the world explodes as you find yourself approaching the redline pretty quickly.
If you have a budget of about 200k, and you are looking to buy new, this car should be a must on your shopping-list. For the money, there isn’t much that beats it in terms of value.