Monday, January 2, 2017

2015 Hyundai Accent GS

This is not my dream car but I needed to make an adjustment because of Volkswagen's diesel emissions mess.

I looked at a lot of used, errr, pre-owned cars before the Hyundai Accent GS showed up.  It was about US$2500 more than the cheapest car that was available, except that the car was apparently sold just before I had the money.  A Nissan Versa was the most likely car, but in my county, Honda, Acura, Toyota, and Nissan cars are most often stolen.  I'm not sure a Versa would be worth it to steal, but who knows why someone would steal a Honda Civic, either.  (Honda has sent me two advertisements for their cars and I didn't really consider their cars but the Fit is somewhat interesting.)

This Hyundai Accent GS has 137 hp @ 6300 rpm and 123 lb-ft @ 4850 rpm, which is quite a bit for a 1.6 liter engine.  Coming from the Volkswagen Golf 2.0 liter TDI with 236 lb-ft of torque, the Accent isn't quite as forceful but it's not bad, especially for a smaller engine.  It seems to scream like a motorcycle engine when pushed.  I've had it up to around 85 mph so far.  The skinny tires keep me wondering how much stress they'll take.  Finding performance tires in 14 or 15 inch sizes is impossible.  I've been averaging about 31 mpg.  That's better than the 1999 Golf GLS 2.0 liter at 27 mpg and less than the 2012 Golf TDI with 37 mpg.  However, at a little over 11 gallons of capacity, the fuel tank seems restrictive.  Thankfully, more filling stations have gasoline than diesel fuel.

I'm slowly adjusting to a car that isn't a Volkswagen.  The company seems to make the least of their cars ready for a race, even the diesel.  This Accent hatchback isn't completely different, in spirit.

It has a trip computer that assesses miles per gallon, remaining range, miles traveled, etc.  The button is not lit, so finding it in the dark is a matter of muscle memory.  Something that surprises me is that it works with miles but the temperature that is displayed is using Celsius.  I tried to erase the information, but not everything collected for the trip computer was erased.

There is a pseudo-manual mode for the automatic transmission, labeled Shiftronic, where you can shift up and down through the gears, similar to the TDI, but it lacks the paddles behind the steering wheels.

The Accent is slightly shorter than the Golf but isn't nearly as heavy.  It seems to me that even my 1985 VW GTI was heavier than the 2015 Hyundai Accent GS.  This one seems to handle bumpy roads much better than that one or the 1986 GTI did.

The materials used aren't as great but the seats are good.  The dashboard looks as though it was made for an SUV or a minivan.  It's not cheap but it doesn't give an air of high quality.  Years ago, VW looked at ways to make a cheap car seem expensive, and they achieved that.  If Hyundai would use matte plastic instead of the shiny stuff, it might go a long way toward the perception of high quality.  At around 40,000 miles, the driver's seat fabric is not as tight as it should be.  However, the foam is quite good and the seats are comfortable.

I had the factory stereo replaced today and the speakers are surprisingly good.  Apparently, the car was made for a typical Double DIN head unit and the Pioneer unit I bought went into it much easier than the old one came out, according to the installer.  With a Metra branded installation kit, it looks as though it belongs.

The good sound makes me forget about the narrow wheels and tires, mostly.  It's surprising that it is using the same speakers.

Naturally, a few things stick out:

The door locks have physical buttons, something my latest Volkswagen did not have.  There are also key holes on the frontmost doors.  Volkswagen has one but it's hidden.  Giving thieves an easy way into the car is not acceptable.  I'm betting that I can lock my keys in the car, which is extremely difficult to do with any Volkswagen.

There is an automatic opening (auto down, as they say) control for the driver's side window.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work for the other windows and it doesn't work for closing the window, either.  It was very convenient in the TDI to put all of the windows up while parking.

The lighting is on a stalk, except for the dimmer.  The other evening, I left the lights activated and the next morning, it let me know but it had deactivated the lights instead of letting my mistake drain the battery.  Now, I check the stalk every time I get ready to exit the car.

A little Volvo, a lot of Dodge, not much view out

The car has huge blind spots, as it comes with a high waistline and a big slot for a rear window, as though it was designed by Dodge.  I'm getting used to it, but I need to be more careful.   I was thinking about cameras all around the car--they can feed my stereo, if I can find a switch to show each.  I managed to jump a curb while turning into a parking lot where I've been hundreds of times.  Thank goodness for steel wheels but the poor (apparently metal) wheel cover looks like Pablo Picasso had some extra time on his hands.

Update 2017.03.13: I've had the car for almost 3 full months.  I've put around 4000 miles on it already.  It's been good enough.

I'm more familiar with the car but I don't feel as though it is really mine.  Even the Pioneer stereo head unit doesn't seem happy.

I've gotten better with the lights but I've learned that the (supposedly) mandatory daytime driving lights have to be activated.  This explains a lot when I have seen so many newer vehicles without the daytime driving lights working.

I still forget the fuel filler door every 4th time but I don't forget to fill the tank with gasoline, thankfully.

The Active ECO system is still a pain but predicting where it is advantageous is difficult.  The car seems to average around 32-33 mpg, but I've seen up to 39.8 cumulative mpg, which still worked out as much less.  A couple of times I recorded less when filling the tank, but that was more a problem with the fancy recovery hoses that cover the opening, and my lack of experience.  It's rare to see more than 35 mpg, even though this car is rated at 37 mpg highway.  I'm not sure what they're expecting on the pedal, but I know when I'm overdoing it.  That's usually when the numbers go up.

You'd think that a light car with an efficient engine would do better.  It has a lovely motorcycle-like scream when the engine is pushed to higher speeds.

I kind of wonder if the company actually considers the whole car.  I laughed when I first saw the Veloster.  It looked as though one team worked on the front, another worked on the back of the car, and an unpaid intern put the two ends together.  The newest Elantra GT makes me think this also.  The Accent GS is better but for various reasons, I doubt that they actually test the cars with real people.  Maybe, it's just that Volkswagen goes out of its way to make a comfortable car at a low price but not an ultra low price.

Still, I got a car with the remainder of the factory warranty and that was a big plus.  Hopefully, the maintenance won't break the bank, although the dealership does its best.

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