First Drive: Hyundai Accent 2012 in the UAE

First Drive: Hyundai Accent 2012 in the UAE

The 2012 Hyundai Accent isn’t a car anyone was anxiously waiting for. That isn’t to say no one anticipates sub-compact cars with sweaty palms. The launch of the next-generation Toyota Yaris is going to be a big event in the lives of many in the UAE. Nothing else comes close to the Yaris in popularity. The Accent has always been sidelined. However, we just drove the all-new 2012 Hyundai Accent from Dubai to Fujairah and back, and it’s a car that can give Toyota some sleepless nights.

For one, the 2012 Hyundai Accent looks pretty good for a car that competes in the “bargain” segment. During the presentation at the media event in Ibn Battuta Gate hotel, they mentioned things like “eagle eye” headlights and “character lines” that wrap right around the car. They seemingly put a lot of thought into making it look good, although there is only so much they could do with a small sedan.

The 2012 Accent can be had in GCC-spec with a 106 hp 1.4-litre or a 122 hp 1.6-litre engine, both mated to either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic. Unfortunately, Hyundai does not plan to import their Korean-market models which have the new direct-injection 138 hp 1.6-litre engine with the 6-speed automatic to keep prices low.

After the presentation, we headed out in convoy from the hotel in Dubai to Fujairah, with the promise of a free lunch at the Hilton there, with Hyundai execs hoping journalists actually test the car on the way. I was assigned to a blue one, which seemed to be the 1.6-litre base model, judging by its 14-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, lack of steering-wheel buttons, no centre-console storage cubby and no leather on the steering wheel. I only figured that out after seeing those items on a higher-spec model riding on 16-inch alloys. Otherwise, the well-built cars were identical, with cloth interiors, power windows, electric mirrors, keyless entry, trip computer, hard-plastic surfaces and a very pretty CD stereo deck. They spoke of Bluetooth, rear camera, six airbags and what not, but it depends on local dealers if they want to offer those as options.

While the textured hard plastics are on par for this category, it’s the space that was impressive. Given its newly-stretched wheelbase, it really felt like a larger car, with good legroom front and back. Even the headroom is good, although taller peeps may complain in the back. Boot volume was also impressive.

Since our basic 1.6-litre car didn’t have the centre-console storage-cum-armrest, there was a pull-down right-armrest for the driver’s seat only. And there are four cup-holders and two door bottle-holders, all thoughtful touches. However, even though the doors have nice padded-cloth inserts, the armrest part was still hard plastic, and this caused me to get a left-elbow ache on the long drive.

The car drives well in any road situation. The ride was surprisingly smoother than we expected, as the suspension seems a bit softer than most European sub-compacts, while wind and road noise at highway speeds was above-average, but within class standards. It can lose its composure a bit in crosswinds on the open road though, and constant steering corrections were required, as it is with most small cars. Forward visibility was good, the engine was adequate, the tiptronic gearbox chose gears perfectly by itself, the four-wheel-disc brakes worked fine, and the controls offered pretty solid feedback without being heavy, so it was rather enjoyable to throw around. Handling isn’t class-leading in the pursuit of comfort, but it is good enough to be somewhat entertaining, and on that long drive, we appreciated the balance. Our car had 175-width tyres on 14-inch wheels, so we expect the higher-spec model to behave a little more firmly with its 195-width tyres on 16-inchers.

We racked up maybe more than 350 km to and from Fujairah using some back roads, and managed a fuel consumption of around 7.5 litres/100 km, but I was being very aggressive with the throttle and always had the seemingly-good a/c on in February afternoon weather, so it could likely do better.

In this class of cars, it is hard to find fault with the Accent. This is about as stylish as it gets if you really want a sedan in this size. It is no worse than anything else in its category, better than many in a lot of aspects, and is expected to be priced between Dhs 40,000 to Dhs 55,000 when it comes here in March. You can’t argue with that.

What do you think?



  1. Front looks good, rear looks like a modified Honda City but still its not bad.Blue light with black dash looks good. Rear legroom looks suprisingly large.

  2. time to say goodbye to Yaris?

  3. Hi , We are using that car for more than two months here in KSA
    Very nice one …. yaeis is nothing to it ๐Ÿ™‚

    • so its already launched in KSA? Mash?

    • Author

      I wouldn’t know. Looks like it. Hyundai doesn’t sell much cars in the UAE, but in the GCC as a whole, apparently they sell twice as much as Honda! So popular markets may already have it.

    • Makes you think, what is it that people see in toyota in the UAE. Is it all about resale? or has it become a mindset?

  4. Yeah launched in KSA long back checked the car in showroom , prices start 45000Riyals to something around 55000Riyals 3 variants if I am not wrong they still did not have any brochures for it than and I remember there is only single airbag on all models :O though the other features are really good but Yaris is still 41500 riyals and these type of cars are mostly bought by companies who see low price low maintenance.

  5. Looks more genuine than cars of its class..

  6. Liked everything about the car expect the floor mat at rear seat, this type of mats are horrible moving here and there and also 9 out of 10 times the center mat, pic 6 get stuck up between shoes and changes position, all the mud is in floor I have similar one in Focus, on the contrary, the full mat from point a to b in Pathfinder with grip at bottom is superb, it doesn’t move a inch. I would have preferred a single mat rather than a 3 piece setup. And donโ€™t be so sure of Hyundai prices, every time they will say, starting price 37,000 but when you check about options nothing is there, as and when each feature is introduced the price rises and it will clearly fall in the same price range of competitors. As one owner has mentioned above. The only correct pricing from Hyundai that I got was Tucson/Ajera, all other car prices are just hopping around, and yes the issue of broachers mentioned by user above is 100% correct, most of the time the sales rep wonโ€™t be able to give you the brochure of model you are requesting and that turns around to be big turn off. Hyundai should look into this matter.

  7. Yet again, Hyundai loses out on an opportunity to take the lead. I just don’t understand the logic of not bringing the direct-injection. I understand the point of the high sulfer content in some GCC countries but can’t they at least offer it as a top of the line (on-rquest!).To top that, they are keen to stick to a 4-speed automatic. I am 101% sure that local dealers won’t even consider such request. what a shame! …if this is the case for the Accent, I wouldn’t be surprised if Elantra came out with similar set-up ( just some carry-forward features within a new body!)

  8. The 5-speed would be a good option, no doubt. I am not against, cars being made value-for-money. My only concern is that dealers themselves should understand, that in any given segment, there would be people willing to go the maximum that segment can offer. In my case, since the Accent is a good car ( as the general reviews state that, it would be a really viable option to have the top of the line, with the 1.6 GDI.

    Yet, again I can emphasize the fact that local dealers push selected cars down our throats, rather than give options. Look at Mazda, its very recently they started offering variety within their range -> bringing both the Mazda 6’s, 3, 2, etc.

    Hyundai & KIA (GCC) has variety in car models, but not so much in the kind of engine choices, options, etc. They are missing out on golden opportunity to expand their market share. Get some of those direct-engine models -> Sonata, Accent, the soon-to-arrive Elantra and see the response…

    • probably they consider the fact that the crowd out here still go gaga over any Japanese crap; and to win over the crowds’ mentality who are also very much price concious, they introduce cars that are way too cheaper and tempting than what the Japanese have to offer by cutting down on stuff like Airbags and by sticking to lower spec engines and base transmissions! In the Indian market where Hyundai is a major player, we have Elantras and Vernas (Accent in India is known by the name Verna) which comes with alloys, 4 airbags, leather interiors and what not?

      However as one of the guys told above, they should consider bringing in their top spec models down here even if its in limited numbers rather than just offering the base of the base models! Hyundai is gaining reputation fast and I don’t think it would take long before even their top-spec well-optioned cars get sold out soon; that is if they bother to ship it down here…

    • Hyundai accent in other countries comes with even a Navigation system but if you looks here people going for budget cars doesn’t either care about these features or it is going to be a company car. So, I don’t think dealers are ready to stock up cars with features that people wouldn’t buy. But though some will.

  9. this MUST be THE top candidate for the ugliest car of 2011!!

    i rather drive a 30 year trabant 601.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. New Accent looks good, should give some competition to the boring looking Tiida.BTW,got any hint on when the new Elantra will be launched.

  11. why not corolla????

    • Corolla is a good car. But it is unexpected reliability and unexpected problem maker.
      For some owners it is a good car but for some it is not.

  12. @ Rahul Jones : Are u the rahul that works in APECO ? Indian National ?? I think i know you but sorry if i have mistaken lol..

  13. mash how come u still not getting their test cars? if they inviting for these trips then they should give test cars too. right?

  14. Hello!!

    The design of the car is really cool. It looks like a miniature Sonata.

    The car is priced competitively for this segment and those who wants higher spec.. I guess they can approch the dealer and order for addition spec as their preference.

    Hope to see one on the road apace!!

  15. @muhannad : it was not a typo, yaris is indeed starting from 42000 as per the toyota website
    Prateek was right

  16. “a very pretty CD stereo deck”, with a blindingly bright blue screen on it! ๐Ÿ˜›

  17. Hi Mashfique,
    Can we expect a detailed review of Hyundai Accent from your side? Also how about ride & handling capablilties?

  18. I like its gauge showing its average fuel consumption. It live to the its class as a fuel efficient sub compact car.

  19. hyundai accent or elantra. i dont know to select one

  20. Hi… I am planning to buy 1.4L Accent… Can anyone suggest me the performance and interiors of this car….My worry is the pull being very small engine… Is there any drawbacks? plz guide me…

  21. I like it , it is too hard to choose a car from Hyundai, all are beautiful, luxury design, pretty, smooth, stability, … regards

  22. Guys, can u tell me how many airbags this thing has ?? I mean the one mash tested here because the Saudi dealer dosen’t have the full-option version in stock !!!!!!!!!!

  23. Hi,i guy accent 2012,two week before,good one nice to drive,even in high speed no vibration in steering.but some time during gear shifting some sound is coming,i check with service centre,they replace the shifing gear,shaft it’s ok be aware about this problem.

  24. pleasee can any body tell me hyundai accent’s price in SaudiArabia….regarDs ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. plz any body? ๐Ÿ™

  26. The steering wheel is same as I’ve seen in Ford Explorer.The front design is like ford Fiesta.

  27. I just booked an Accent 2013, price 46,500 SAR, It is Auto, power steering & Power windows.

    As said above a brochure was not available.

    I have to wait nearly 10 days to take delivery – as the dealer does not have stock ??!! So i am waiting after making the full payment.

  28. Hi Mash,
    Need some advice on a car buying decision. I am planning to either buy a full trim Hyundai Accent or a standard trim Hyundai i30. Budget around SAR 50-55k. Movement within Riyadh city.
    Kindly recommend!

  29. Hello, please advise me betweet accent with 1.4and 1.6, if difference is big?i will drive this cat in dubai, thank you

  30. So nice and heaving driving so good cars

  31. Could you do a review on the 2018 Hyundai Accent.
    It’s an all new car, much more reliable, feature packed and of course, fuel efficient.
    Also, it comes with all the bells and whistles and gismos like never before.

    Therefore, it at least deserves to be taken for a short drive and a comparison with the Honda City, Nissan Sunny and the Toyota Yaris.

    This would be highly appreciated.

    • Author

      There was a media drive event just this week, but we were not invited. Maybe we are too honest.

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