Hyundai

The Accent hatch is one of Hyundai’s best cars. But for some strange reason, it’s also one of the best-kept motoring secrets

Since its release onto the South African market back in 2011, the current generation of Hyundai’s compact Accent sedan has been a quiet, slightly classier companion to the closely related i20 hatchback, scoring points for its spacious cabin, striking styling and strong value proposition.

The Hyundai Veloster hatch, with it distinctive “Kammback” styling*, was launched here two years ago and has now received a major power boost. With this new muscle pack the spiritual successor of the Tiburon also leads Hyundai’s comeback to performance motoring in a more convincing way than before.

There are far worse things to say about a car than calling it a copy of the Volkswagen Polo. The German class leader offers an honest, no-nonsense solution to most motoring requirements, with solid build quality, large-car refinement and unflinching composure on the road, even if the car itself is somewhat less than exciting to drive. These values seem to resonate with buyers of small hatchbacks, because the Polo is pretty much a permanent fixture at the top of the local sales charts.

City cars are traditionally meant to be budget-minded, rather utilitarian things. Simple and affordable, they are supposed to be used without much concern for cosmetics or lavish trim. So what is that incongruous “Grand” sticker doing on the rump of Hyundai’s newest small car, then? Is it aiming above its station in life, or is there real substance to its name?

Hyundai’s top-selling ix35 range has recently received another boost with the introduction of a smaller, more efficient and more advanced turbodiesel mill. We drove it.

Following the worldwide trend in engine downsizing Hyundai has recently strengthened its local model range with a small, yet more advanced, oil-burner under the hood.

Compared to the marque’s tried and trusted 2-litre CRDi (130kW @ 4 000rpm and 392Nm @ 1 800 – 2 500rpm) this latest Euro 5 compliant 1.7-litre power plant delivers 85kW at 4 000rpm and a solid 260Nm between 1 250 and 2 750rpm