By BOB GRITZINGER, Contributor | @bobgritzinger For the 2013 model…
Looking for the right car for your teenage driver? Look no further than the affordable Hyundai Accent – a fun and functional hatchback with high fuel economy, an unbeatable warranty, and leading safety ratings.
We were pleasantly surprised with the ease of enjoying the 2014 Hyundai Accent SE, a quaint hatchback that’s low on options but not lacking in personality. Now, mind you, this car came to our driveway immediately after the beautiful 2015 Hyundai Genesis – talk about a tough trade to make!
The 2014 Accent is powered by a four-cylinder engine that packs a mild, but effective, 138 horsepower. This gets paired with a six-speed automatic SHIFTRONIC transmission plus the option to save even more fuel costs with an ECO drive mode.
The 1.6L GDI (gasoline direct-injection engine) was sufficient, helping propel us spiritedly around town as needed. We had no trouble merging into traffic on major thoroughfares and highways, which was a departure from a larger crossover we had recently experienced with a similarly sized engine.
The hatchback lift-gate also made this sub-compact 4-door functional. We love to pack as much as we can into small cars and still get to where we’re going efficiently!
The interior was basic, but not dreadfully so. Hyundai put thought into jazzing up the basic plastics with graphic patterns to provide some visual interest. Seats were comfortable and constructed with a durable cloth material. Soft touch materials were not common in this mildly priced car, but it’s the price that’s ultimately going to draw buyers, not luxury finishes.
Features not normally expected on a sub-$20,000 vehicle
Hyundai’s not the only manufacturer that is bringing premium features to the entry-level car, but it’s choosing wisely what features are being prioritized for the buyer of its Accent. On the Accent SE we had, these features included:
- Satellite radio provided by SiriusXM
- iPod and USB Auxiliary jacks
- Bluetooth handsfree integration
- Heated mirrors and door locks
- Tilt and telescopic steering wheel
- 60/40 split folding rear seats
- LED headlight accents and fog lamps
Why this is the best car for your teen, for the money
If you’re going to buy your teen a new car, then definitely put the Hyundai Accent on the list. This punchy subcompact is just as fun as it is practical, and it will get your novice driver to work, school and just about anywhere safely and reliably. Hyundai also makes the Accent an attractive buy because of the following:
- Unbeatable warranties – 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty; 5-year/50,000 mile new vehicle warranty; 5 years of unlimited Roadside Assistance
- NHTSA 4 Star combined safety rating with 5 stars for both frontal crash and side crash for the driver
- EPA estimated 31 mpg combined city/highway
- Earned MotorWeek’s 2013 Drivers’ Choice Award for Best Subcompact Car
We’d be lying if we said we didn’t miss the fancy display with backup camera like many entry-level models we’ve driven, but the Accent is plenty nimble enough to easily parallel park on the city streets without it. Plus, we are already probably too dependent upon these backup cameras as it is.
Now that NHTSA has called for “rear visibility technology” in all vehicles under 10,000 pounds starting in 2018, all consumers will start seeing these implemented because manufacturers like to stay ahead of the regulatory curve when possible.
Overall, the 2014 Hyundai Accent was a great little vehicle to tote around town in. We didn’t travel long distances with it, but the petite engine had no trouble keeping us up with traffic on busy roads. While a teenage driver may be the ideal driver of this compact hatch, it’s perfectly suitable for a college grad or an adult who doesn’t require much space, wants an affordable and reliable car, and isn’t concerned with the high-end finishes of pricier vehicles.
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