Despite our automotive industry’s sales slump this year, Hyundai Philippines has been quite busy introducing new products to the local market. To fire things up for the coming year, the company unveiled its 2019 lineup earlier this month, showcasing four models: the Ioniq Hybrid, the Tucson, the Grand Starex Urban and the “all-new” Accent.
Though the outgoing fourth-generation Accent had been doing very well for years (giving even the Toyota Vios a run for its money at one point or another), the much-anticipated fifth-generation version arrives to freshen things up. Since the previous model had somewhat overstretched its life cycle—not to mention that the new model had been available in other markets as early as the first quarter of 2017—it’s only appropriate that Hyundai Philippines has finally brought in its subcompact sedan’s latest iteration.
Having been an Accent owner in the not-so-distant past, I was very keen on finding out what the new version had to offer. It seems to be a common practice in the local car industry to carry over certain features of a vehicle (engine, transmission, platform) and label the incoming model as “all-new.” So I decided to get more details to see what the Accent is now packed with to keep all of you, dear readers, thoroughly informed.
Exterior-wise, it’s pretty evident that Hyundai continued its evolved fluidic design language while retaining a certain familiarity with the last model. From the side profile, the car looks quite the same except for a more streamlined roof sloping down almost all the way to the trunk’s top edge, giving the sedan a somewhat fastback-like character. The side body lines that begin at the front fenders and end at the rear are now parallel with the lower window lines (instead of being slanted).
Consistent with the brand’s current styling direction, the front grille sports a more prominent cascading design while being flanked by slightly reshaped halogen headlamps. The rear end exhibits a very noticeable change, where long, slimmer wraparound taillights are complemented by nicely executed curves leading to a new bumper accented by squinting reflectors.
Honestly, I was expecting to see top-of-the-line trimmings on the 2019 Accent since it was the launch event’s main attraction. Instead, the new top variant on display only stood on 15-inch steel wheels with full hubcaps, no LED headlamps and no fog lamps (except for large, satin chrome-outlined plastic fog lamp slot covers), and a dashboard layout similar to that of the old Elantra, which looked a bit plain with a small 3.8-inch LCD center display equipped with the basic USB and auxiliary ports, and just trip meter buttons found on the three-spoke steering. Admittedly, however, it was a pleasant surprise to discover air-conditioning vents in the second row. In addition, a closer look outside confirmed that there were no parking sensors nor a backing-up camera.
Popping the hood revealed the best part of the package: the Euro 4 1.6-liter U-II CRDI diesel engine. This makes the Accent one of the most fuel-efficient and most powerful subcompact cars in its class (at least in our territory), producing 126hp and 260Nm. Though power figures may have dipped—especially when compared to the previous seven-speed DCT variant (134hp, 300Nm)—the new Accent still delivers a hefty amount of pep.
According to a knowledgeable individual from Hyundai’s dealership network, the U-II powerplant is still the same engine from the outgoing Accent. Yes, it’s a carryover (albeit with a refreshed plastic engine cover and possibly small internal tweaks), but so what? Why bother changing what works? Do note that gasoline variants will also carry the previous Euro 4 1.4-liter MPI dual CVVT Kappa engine (99hp, 133Nm).
Aside from the standard six-speed manual transmission, a new six-speed automatic gearbox—which junks the previous CVT (gas) and the more expensive seven-speed DCT (diesel)—is now available. The 2019 Accent’s body sits on a newer Hyundai-Kia GB platform, with a frame reinforced by adding 50% advanced high-strength steel to its structure. This might explain the vehicle’s slightly larger dimensions: an additional 70mm in length, 29mm in width and 18mm in height. Said frame rides on a MacPherson strut-type suspension with coil springs in the front and coupled torsion-beam axles in the rear, also inherited from the old model. It is pliant but has a reputation for being too soft at the back.
The 2019 Accent may not be completely all-new, technically speaking, but it retains its attractiveness with some relevant new features while keeping attributes that have made it a winner among its target buyers. TNVS, taxi and fleet operators have something new to look forward to—and so do the budget-conscious car shoppers. According to a couple of representatives from a Hyundai dealership in Luzon, customers can expect showrooms to stock up on accessories that should allow them to have more financial flexibility in upgrading a seemingly spartan vehicle according to their needs and desire for personalization.
Although no official prices have been released, the price range for the six variants should be more or less from P725,000 to P1,000,000. Those variants are the 1.4L GL MT (no airbag), 1.4L GL AT (no airbag), 1.4L GL MT (with airbag), 1.4L GL AT (with airbag), 1.6L GL CRDI MT and 1.6L GL CRDI AT. The new Accent also comes in five exterior colors: Fiery Red, Phantom Black, Star Dust, Polaris White and Sleek Silver.