2012 Hyundai Accent

Hyundai's cheapest whip now plays for keeps.

Story: Will Sabel Courtney

Model Tested: SE Five-Door Manual

Rating: 4 out of 6

Let’s get this out in the open right away: The Hyundai Accent is bare-bones transportation for the masses. As the lowest-priced member of the Hyundai lineup, it’s about as cheap as you can go without being forced onto the used-car lot. If you’re looking to spend as little as possible while still scorin’ a new car warranty, you can pick up an Accent for under 13 stacks—if you don’t mind doing without A/C, a stereo, power windows or locks, and you can live with 14-inch steel rims.

But step up to the SE and the extra few grand you fork over gives you a car jammed to the roof with features: leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, Bluetooth, a 172-watt six-speaker stereo with steering wheel controls, cruise control…and, of course, power windows, keyless entry and air-conditioning. All of that comes in a surprisingly fresh five-door hatchback body that feels open and airy inside and offers more cargo space than any other subcompact in the U.S. All right, the driving experience is nothin’ to write your mama about, but 40 miles per gallon on the highway is—and if you’re looking at buying an Accent, odds are good you’ll like saving green at the gas pump, too.

Damage: $15,795

Power: 138hp, 123 lb.-ft.

0-60: Bring a book

Gas Cash: 30 city, 40 hwy

Miles Driven: 35

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