The days when subcompact equalled econobox are long over. Automakers, taking cues from premium compacts like the Mini and even the Mazda3, realize today’s car shoppers expect small car interiors to match their larger, more well-equipped siblings.
One of the first things we noticed while reviewing the all-new 2012 Hyundai Accent is how easy it was to get in and out of the sedan and hatchback. This fact was very important since many of us are at least six feet tall and not all door frames are accommodating.
The cloth seats were the first item that caught our attention as we slid inside the Accent, the textured patterns a nice upscale touch. The seats are comfortable but expansive and lack any side bolstering. You also kindof sat in an Accent’s seat instead of on it, and one driver found the cushion to be too long.
Hyundai’s attention to the interior continued with the glossy piano finish accents surrounding the gear shifter and multimedia system; brush aluminum-look inserts on the shifter knob, infotainment screen, and steering wheel spokes; and the chrome-look interior door handles. We even found the hard plastic dash to look – and feel – premium as well.
The compact center stack divided neatly into the entertainment unit and climate controls and we found the controls easy to reach and use. The Accent’s iPod/USB/auxiliary input jacks are located in easily accessible cubby at the bottom of the center stack. We encountered a slight hiccup in syncing up our smartphones when the Accent’s audio system couldn’t sense it. Once resolved, we found the A/C unit to be strong, an important feature in our scorching drive from Las Vegas to Hoover dam. Also, there was little interior noise most of it from the road. The base GLS gets a base audio system with four speakers while the higher GS and SE trims get the more advanced features like MP3 compatibility, Bluetooth, and steering wheel audio controls mostly as standard features.
We didn’t spend much time in the second row, though we did find it competitive with the rest of the segment. Unusually, our taller members found plenty of head room back there which is not true for many vehicles in this segment. We felt we had even more headroom in the second row than the larger Hyundai Elantra sedan. Truck space for both the sedan and, especially, the hatchback were very competitive.
The subcompact segment is one of the fastest growing in the U.S., and automakers are scrambling to make sure their vehicles, both inside and out, catch your eye. Would you consider a car with an interior like the 2012 Hyundai Accent?