How much would you pay for a small four door car with a 1.6 litre turbo-diesel, six airbags, stability control, can tow 1100 kg and average 4.5 litres/100 km? We would guess many people would throw in a ball park figure of around $23,000. After all this is an offering from Korea not the Republic of China. Try $19,490 before on roads. It's the most affordable diesel in Australia. It comes from Hyundai and after a week at the wheel of the Hyundai Accent CRDi we'd be more than happy to have one grace our driveway.
The above comment is not based on price. It is a reflection of the car overall ... the solid clunk when the doors close, the silky smooth 6-speed gearbox, the fit and finish, 5-star ANCAP rating and the exterior shape of the hatch. It has a lot going for it. A mate with a petrol powered Nissan Pathfinder asked me what he small car he could downsize to save fuel. I had no hesitation in recommending the Hyundai Accent CRDi as one he should test drive.
The Accent CRDi was launched here in January 2012 and replaced the Ford Fiesta LX TDCi as the least expensive oil burner in Australia. It comes at a four door sedan or a five door hatch with the same bottom line cost with our test car being that latter.
In a word graceful. Hyundai have instigated what it calls `fluid design' to its lineup. Take that to mean designs without hard edges that flow smoothly. Accent certainly attains that goal. It's also a car that pushes the limits of `small' with an interior that is surprisingly roomy.
To put the Accent CRDi with a manual shifter into perspective the entry-level Accent Active 1.6 litre petrol will set you back $16,990, so the oil burner has a $2500 premium over the manual petrol Accent and a mere $500 more than the automatic. The Accent's 1.6 litre DOHC four cylinder common-rail, direct-injection turbo diesel delivers 94 kW of power at 4000 rpm and 265 Nm of torque between 1900 - 2750 rpm. This easily outguns the Ford Fiesta (66 kW and 200 Nm), but the Ford takes out the crown for being most economical. At 4.4 litres/100 km, the Hyundai Accent CRDi in the manual sedan and 4.5 litres/100 km in the hatch, this is economy that will help balance the budget.
5-Star ANCAP tells the story with six airbags, with stability control, traction control, ABS brakes, and electronic brakeforce distribution.
Hyundai are only slipping the CRDi into the entry level Active models, so bling is kept to a minimum as a sacrifice to pricing. This gives Hyundai bragging rights to having the most affordable oil burner in Australia. So it's a six-speed manual shifter with no cruise control and steel wheels. Bluetooth and MP3 are standard, the airconditioner is simple and effective, audio controls are on the steering wheel, that has height but no reach adjustment. The seats are comfortable and supportive. We like the typical Hyundai Y-shaped dash design. It is clean, easy on the eye and functional. In the glove compartment we found a box of 10 latex gloves for clean diesel filling. We reckon service stations should also provide these for patrons. In our week in the CRDi we had no need to go near a servo. There's an in-dash CD player and user-friendly radio and audio controls. Each pew has a vanity mirror in the sunshade.
The rear seats offer good leg room and reasonable headroom. The cloth seats are also supportive, although Johnny-in-the-middle will not be happy on long trips with the centre pew firm to the point of being hard and offers reduced head room. There's no storage in the rear doors. The rear 60/40 split seats fold flat with a one-touch action. The large boot has a security screen.
Because of the fact diesel engines produce a lot more torque than petrol engines the Accent CRDi is an easy car to drive with the manual shifter. There's a lot less chance of inexperienced drivers stalling a diesel than a petrol. The Accent CRDi is a particularly easy car to drive with the six speed manual smooth through the changes. Fifth and sixth gears are fairly highly geared so for urban driving there's no need to get above fourth gear. In sixth gear the Accent CRDi simply lopes along at 110 km/h barely hitting 2000 rpm.
Accent points well, has minimal body roll and no bad road manners that we could find. It is as well suited to city driving as open roads with the turbo diesel and high gearing returning great economy in both scenarios.
MODEL RANGE AND PRICING*
Active sedan/hatch: 1.6 petrol 5-speed man/4-auto $16,990/$18,990
Active sedan/hatch 1.6 CRDi 6-speed man/auto $19,490/$21,490
Elite sedan/hatch: 1.6 petrol 5-speed man/4-auto $18,490/$20,490
Premium sedan: 1.6 petrol 4-auto $22,990
Premium sedan/hatch 1.6 petrol 5-speed man/4-auto $20,990/$22,990
(*Dealer and government charges not included)
ABS Brakes: standard
Air Conditioning: standard
Automatic Transmission: optional
CD Player: standard
Central Locking: standard
Cruise Control: N/A
Dual Front Airbags: standard
Front Side Airbags: standard
Stability Control: standard
Traction Control: standard
SPECIFICATIONS (Hyundai Accent Active)
Capacity: 1.582 litres
Configuration: in line four
Head Design: 16 valve DOHC
Compression Ratio: 17.3:1
Bore/Stroke: 77.2 mm x 84.5 mm
Maximum Power: 94 kW @ 4000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 260 Nm @ 1900 - 2750 rpm
Driven Wheels: front
Manual Transmission: six speed
Automatic Transmission: four speed
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4115 mm
Wheelbase: 2570 mm
Width: 1700 mm
Height: 1450 mm
Turning Circle: 10.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 1115 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 43 litres
Towing Ability: 1100 kg (kg with braked trailer)
SUSPENSION AND BRAKES:
Front Suspension: MacPherson struts, coil springs,
Rear Suspension: coupled torsion beam axle
Front Brakes: Ventilated discs
Rear Brakes: Solid discs
0-100 km/h Acceleration: seconds
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/01): 4.5 L/100km
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE RATINGS:
Greenhouse Rating: 8/10
Air Pollution Rating: 5/10
5 years/ unlimited km