Ace of Base: 2019 Hyundai Accent SE
For some, dirt cheap wheels are all that’s required. Nothin’ fancy; nothin’ extra. Four tires and a steering wheel are the main requirements of these shoppers. Oh, and a warranty for worry-free driving. Anything further is just gravy. This outlook accurately describes about half of the Quebec market, by the way. Especially the gravy. Poutine is delicious.
Enter the Hyundai Accent. This entry-level Korean sedan has been finding its way into the hands of new drivers and frugal shoppers for 25 years now. As it turns out, even the base model of one of the cheapest new cars in America is laden with standard equipment.
Starting at a fiver under fifteen grand, the 2019 Hyundai Accent in SE spec is powered by a 130 horsepower 1.6-liter inline-four, exactly like every other Accent built for this model year. Ladling out extra cash for a more expensive trim will not net buyers any extra oomph. The base SE is equipped with a manual transmission as standard equipment; in fact, it’s the only trim in which a stick is offered. That alone is good enough to choose the base car.
Fifteen-inch steel wheels with cheapy wheel covers will announce your frugal ways to other commuters on the interstate, but surely the true Ace of Base connoisseur cares not one whit about the fop in that Range Rover looking down his nose at us, right? Sideview mirrors are color keyed, however. They’re even power operated. All colors are offered at $0.
Inside, the driver’s seat adjusts six ways, two more than the miserable econoboxes of this author’s youth. Back then, height adjustments were permanently set by way of gradually sagging seat springs. The base Accent does do without a driver’s armrest, which is a mark against it in the Ace of Base ledger. At least the rear seat is a split folding unit to open up more cargo space.
Huge news is the discovery that air conditioning is standard equipment on Hyundai’s least-expensive car. Thank you, economies of scale. That same budget truth means the company is content to make a single steering wheel for the entire range, ensuring even the most cost-conscious of Hyundai customers enjoy cruise control and audio controls on the wheel. Bluetooth is on board, as are power windows.
The two main knocks against this car are the vanishing driver’s armrest and rear drum brakes. I am an evangelist of four-wheel disc brakes, even though I know drums generally perform fine under normal use in a 2,500 lb econocar like the Accent.
If you can live with those two things, the 2019 Accent SE – with its air conditioning and manual transmission – can find a home in our Ace of Base trophy case.
Not every base model has aced it. The ones that have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.
The model above is shown with American options and is priced in Freedom Dollars. As always, your dealer may sell for less.
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The drum brakes are to be expected, but for a base car this iant half bad. You even get a passengers side mirror and sun visor! The lack of an arm rest does stink but is to be expected on a cheap car. Does it come with map lights as well or is that an option?
I have a Mercedes S430 which cost the previous owner 10 times more than this Hyundai. It is 15 years old and has soft plastic all over the dash around the wood trim. It has all gone sticky and horrible. I WISH it were hard, durable plastic.