Typically when we show you spy shots, you're seeing photographs taken by people not directly employed by Autoblog. Today, however, is different. Yours Truly and Drew Phillips were driving back from San Diego after the Aptera state-of-the-state address. We were getting off the phone with Senior Editor Damon Lavrinc when I said, "And Drew's going to pull out his camera and look to his right." Thar she blows, a fully dressed up prototype, about to exit the freeway in heavy, mid-day Irvine traffic.
We pull up next to the car at the bottom of the off ramp. "Don't look at them!" Drew advised, wanting to wait until we had at least one clear shot until we alerted them of our true nature. Still, we were scrambling to figure out what was idling next to us. At first glance, I thought the compact, obvious B-segment car might be a Ford Fiesta sedan. But every Fiesta we've ever seen sports rear drums, not big discs like this camo'd car. Also, the side mirrors looked different. However, we could see the top of the center stack and it featured lots of sharp looking chrome bits, quite like the diminutive Ford. "It's definitely a Fiesta" I said confidently to Drew. "Look at the interior."

"Isn't that a Hyundai "H" on the steering wheel?" Drew pointed out. And so it was. Then the light turned green. We got in their rear three-quarter blind spot, and Drew's Nikon suddenly exploded in a volley of "Click-Click-Click-Click." We tailed them until the next light and then Drew leaned across me and let 'er rip. At this point, the Accent's passenger (we had already determined that this must be the new Accent) had made us. Drew jumped in the back seat and slid his lens out the window and began firing. The jig was up – but the game was on. Click through to the jump to read the rest of what happened.

Photos by Drew Phillips / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

Green means go and the little Hyundai took off like a shot, trying to lose us. We gave chase and were assisted by the fact that Irvine features a stoplight every half mile. The Hyundai pilot's plan was to brake late and at the last possible, second dart into the left turn lane, hoping to trip us up. As we hope the pictures show, that simply didn't happen. Though in fairness to Hyundai's test driver, Drew did get a bit banged around when I suddenly had to made a sharp, vicious left. Amusingly enough, Drew had just mentioned wanting to try his hand at spy shooting.

As far as the prototype goes, we're largely positive this is the same sort of Hyundai we saw performing winter testing back in February. It actually looks a lot like some of the Elantra test vehicles that have been spotted recently, what with it sharing Hyundai's very particular type of hood camouflage. However, all of the prototypes we've seen of that car feature five-bolt wheels, where our quarry clearly only had four-bolters. We actually know very little about this next-gen Accent, other than the fact that it might have a 1.6-liter four-banger good for 140 horsepower.

After chasing this particular car around Orange County for fifteen minutes, we'd say at least 140 ponies.

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