Full disclosure Hyundai wanted me to drive their 2014 accent so bad. They let me to rent one for $35 a day when I dropped off my wife's Ford fiesta for a brake service, under the local Ford dealership maintenance plan.
The Accent is a very inoffensive looking car, some what better looking in this reviewer's eyes then it's competitors from Japan, and not quite as good looking as the American branded rivals. The accent is very similar to a nice summer dress, it doesn't stand out much in a crowd but it does have some revealing details you may enjoy once you get up close.
One of the first thing you notice when you get into the Hyundai accent is the spartan interior. For a mundane entry-level sedan I think the quality of the materials is above what you'd expect for a Korean entry-level car; but it's lacking some serious amenities that you come to expect now in days. There's no cruise control with that seems like a cruel joke on any throttle by wire vehicle and the lack of steering wheel controls (while not necessary given that the radio is in such easy reach) is unexpected for a vehicle built in 2014.
Cabin noise is lower then it's rivals (I'm looking at you ford). The engine noise is there when you want it to be, and disappears behind the road noise (of which there is only a little bit) at highways speeds. As I said earlier the quality of the materials used is surprisingly good, the dash and the top of the door panels is covered in a plastic that has nice resistance to it and doesn't feel cheap (although I'm sure it is). There are some very nice door inserts made out of the same sort of fabric you find in a kindergarten classroom's carpet but seeing as how this car will be used probably to the haul around small children that's probably a good idea. The seat inserts are made out of the same material and have a nice fabric trim.
All the tactile items such as buttons and switches and even the handles above the door feel well built, and unlikely to break any time soon even under heavy use.
I was surprised by how well the accent handles corners; while not a lotus Elise the accent is composed thru high speed corners and has decent braking. The problem with this car is there is a decent delay in throttle input, this kills the feeling of the car through the corners. That being said if a bump or pothole comes up the car handles them exceptionally well.
Living with the car.
The Accent has some weirdness to over come if your thinking about buying one. Firstly the lack of a standard cruise control is a killer for long trips, and the throttle delay (which I think is there to help out with the lack of a cruise control as it makes maintaining a constant speed on the highway a lot easier). Second the doors lock and STAY LOCKED over 15MPH, which is fine, but the car still lets you open any door even with the doors locked, which seams strange to me. The last bit of weirdness I don't like is the key has to be pressed in and turned to be removed. I hate this in cars, you may get used to it, but I never can.
Would I buy a Hyundai Accent? The short answer is no. The reason is there are better cars for the same or less money on the market. A Ford Focus is the end all be all in this market space in my mind.
Now if your the type of person fearful of American branded cars, which there still are a lot of out there, I would look toward the Accent as it comes cheaper then it's Japanese rivals, handles better and has better standard equipment and I think looks better.
Ike is co-host of the Untitled Car Show ( untitledcarshow.podomatic.com ) he has owned 2 dodge challengers, a Volvo C30 / V70XC/ V70R / 740 and a Saturn Ion. He is a new father and loves driving and autocrossing. He can jerry rig with the best of them, and he wrote his bio in third person.