2020 Accent New Car Test Drive
The 2020 Hyundai Accent sedan is as basic and affordable as a car gets, and it's well built for its price. For 2020 it gets even better, with a new powertrain. An improved inline-4 engine and new continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) increase fuel economy by 4 miles per gallon, and that's huge in a car that already got more than 30 mpg. The engine actually makes 10 less horsepower than last year, but the responsiveness of the CVT makes up for it.
The 2020 Accent also offers good standard equipment, a comfortable cabin with a surprising amount of interior and cargo space, and a great Hyundai warranty.
The 1.6-liter inline-4 hasn't been changed in size, but it's been improved for better fuel economy. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard, while the new CVT replaces a 6-speed automatic. The front-wheel-drive Accent doesn't exactly carve up canyons, but it soaks up bumps well, although the short wheelbase can make speed bumps seem bigger than they are.
Four adults can fit comfortably in the Accent, which boasts decent leg room and good head room for a small car. The seats leave room for improvement, with slim bolstering, and with small rear doors, entry and exit can be awkward. Fold-down rear seats vastly increase the Accent's already ample trunk space. We were astounded by how much we were able to pack into one.
The 2020 Accent with the CVT is EPA-rated at 33 mpg city, 41 highway, 36 combined, while the manual transmission gets 29/39/33 mpg.
The 2020 Accent hasn't been crash tested yet, but its structure is the same as the 2019, which was a Top Safety Pick of the IIHS, with 'Good'? ratings in every category except passenger-side front overlap and headlights, in which it scored 'Acceptable.'? Only the Limited model includes automatic emergency braking and other safety features.
The Accent comes in SE, SEL, or Limited trims.
For about $16,000 the SE is well equipped, although the standard transmission is a 6-speed manual, though the CVT is an option for $1000. The SE comes with cloth upholstery, power features, cruise control, air conditioning, keyless entry, a height-adjustable driver's seat, folding rear seats, Bluetooth connectivity, dual USB ports, a small 5.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with four speakers, halogen headlamps and plastic wheel covers over steel wheels. It lacks automatic emergency braking, but its 5-year, 60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty is a strong selling point.
SEL models add the CVT as standard, plus automatic headlights, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a much-improved 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and six speakers.
At less than $20,000, the Limited might be the best value, adding automatic emergency braking, LED headlights and taillights, keyless ignition, a hands-free trunk opener, heated front seats, a sunroof, and 17-inch alloy wheels.