HYUNDAI ACCENT HATCHBACK CRDI

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hyundai accent20130820 hyundai accent 0220130820THRIFTY THRILLS

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Hyundai Accent, with diesel power and hatchback cut, delivers performance and style sans high fuel bills

THRILL-seekers who are willing to shell out money on a vehicle that does not compromise on design need only to look at the Hyundai Accent Hatchback CRDi 1.6 M/T. My take on this car is that it merges fun and affordability well.

During a weeklong stint with the Accent hatch where I drove it in harsh weather, on long trips and over unimaginable road conditions, I came away thinking this is one of the most suitable cars for a thrifty person leading an urban lifestyle. Because if you decide to be economical, the Accent hatchback, with its 1.6-liter diesel engine that has common rail direct injection and a variable geometry turbo-charger, will do around 13 kilometers to a liter in city driving and 25 kilometers or more on the highway (provided you stay at 80kph or less).

And yet when I first took the car out for a spin, I was immediately impressed with the power it delivered; it has great pick-up and so there was no need for intentional jackrabbit starts on congested thoroughfares like C5 and Edsa. The engine gives good torque in stop-and-go traffic (put it in top gear and the car can still run without the engine dying down), and its marriage to a six-speed manual transmission results in 126 horsepower at 4,000rpm and a torque rating of 260 Newton-meter from 1,900rpm to 2,750rpm. Speed is no issue for this diesel-powered Accent.

After days of driving it in the Metro, I, my girlfriend and a college friend went to a wedding at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan, a place where you have to traverse sharp curves and makeshift chicanes along the way. The Accent hatch’s compact dimensions—along with the car’s MacPherson struts in front and torsion beam in the rear—allowed me to take on the roads at a relatively high speed without getting into trouble. En route, I also noticed the engine does not vibrate as much despite it being a diesel. Now that, for me, breaks barriers in terms of refinement and overall performance.

I picked up the pace on the trip back to Manila (we were running late at the time). The route seemed shorter as the drive took only around three hours, allowing us to get a quick rest and yet still be on time to do our respective duties as good employees.

Back in the city, I noticed the Accent hatch’s interior is appealing, too, with a silver-on-black scheme, and where everything else is as simple. Good points go to the power windows and remote locking. The sound system on this base model is all right, too, although I’m not fond of the audio controls on the steering wheel as I believe fewer control buttons there make driving safer. The car’s wheels are steel ones covered by hubcaps.

But then, alloy rims can be bought at good stores. The Accent Hatchback is still an eye-candy with enough muscle.

The price for this? A reasonable P768,000. That’s bang for the buck, considering the diesel-powered Accent hatch offers ample power and economy. This makes the car perfect for thrill-seekers who need something thrifty.

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