Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Review: 2014 Hyundai Accent CRDi Sedan

Photos by Ulysses Ang
The horsepower race is so last decade; nowadays, car manufacturers strive to extract more mileage out of every drop of fuel. Unworldly technology such as gasoline-electric hybrids, energy storing capacitors, and the like has now become mainstream. Of course, the most proven engine technology that gives more mileage for every drop of fuel is diesel. It’s been around for as long as the automobile has existed and yet, manufacturers are finding ways to make it more powerful, more refined, and at the end of the day, more fuel efficient. One such example is the new Hyundai Accent CRDi sedan.

Combining a sub-compact sedan body and a diesel engine is nothing new for Hyundai; after all, they pioneered it when they launched the Accent to the Philippine market in 2005. Then, you could only get it with a diesel engine and a 5-speed manual. The only option at the time was whether you wanted power or manually-operated windows. Of course, it meant a very limited appeal and yet the practical-minded lapped them up hence the prevalence of Accent CRDi as taxi or fleet cars. When Hyundai revealed a Fluidic Sculpture bodied Accent though, they made the CRDi engine only available on a 5-door hatchback. Call it a lifestyle decision, but again, it limited its appeal this time for private buyers as opposed to fleet-minded customers who wanted a more conservative 4-door body style. That is, until now. Now, Hyundai is finally making a fleet-friendly Accent CRDi sedan available.

At P 728,000, the Accent CRDi sedan ticks the box next to ‘fleet-friendly’ price, especially compared to the 5-door A/T which breaches the P 800,000-mark. And yet, it doesn’t look half bad. Yes, there are various unpainted trim pieces and yes it runs on 14-inch steel rims with covers; but at the end of the day, it still looks good. It seems familiarity and ubiquity hasn’t rubbed off the Accent’s design appeal. It still looks good and more importantly, modern than some other sub-compact sedans out there (cough, Almera, cough). Though the doors don’t close as solidly as some of the Accent’s Japanese rivals, the level of fit and finish are generally fine; the paint and panel gap is fairly consistent. In short, the Accent CRDi sedan ticks the boxes next to ‘good looks’ and ‘world-class fit and finish’ as well.

Opening the door reveal a cabin that has pretty much stood the test of time. Like the Accent’s exterior, its interior remains modernly designed with a nicely laid-out cabin that’s easy to understand and use. The instrument panel is straight-forward with a large tachometer and speedometer sandwiching a multi-function display in the middle. There’s no illumination control or steering column adjustment, but in the end, these are fairly minor things since the overall ergonomics and seating comfort are perfectly tuned for driving in traffic or long distances. The seats offer a supportive experience for everyone concerned, well maybe except for the middle rear passenger who’ll have to live without a headrest (higher-end Accents have three adjustable headrests at the back). Space is great for those seating in front with no complaints whether you like sitting upright or slouching; the rear is middle-ground with ample but not really class-leading space. Nonetheless, a great majority of buyers (both families and fleet accounts alike) will find it completely fine. The trunk is also surprisingly cavernous, allowing the Accent to fit two full-sized luggage and perhaps a hand carry or two. So, check ‘spacious’ and ‘comfortable’ on the Accent CRDi sedan as well.

Equipped with the U-II (not the rock band) variable-geometry turbo CRDi engine, the Accent CRDi has a maximum output of 128 horsepower and more importantly, 260 Nm of torque. It’s quite the refined unit with minimal clatter. Moreover, it gives you an exhilarating rush (and the corresponding tire chirping) whenever the throttle’s mashed. But more than that, it also gifts the Accent CRDi with almost unworldly fuel mileage figures: 15.87 km/L in the city and 32.25 km/L on the highway (19.61 km/L, mixed). Equipped with a six-speed manual, the Accent CRDi is quite forgiving to drive whether in bumper-to-bumper traffic or cruising on the highway. The clutch is light and easy to master with a fairly high engagement point. Unfortunately, the shifter action itself is vague and combining that with the small space between notches result in one of two repeated things: either you select the wrong gear (the culprit usually being 2 and 4) or you crunch your way into a gear. A check mark for ‘excellent fuel mileage’ and ‘low running cost’, yes indeed.

Despite its sporty styling, the Accent has always veered itself more towards comfort rather than spirited driving, so its entire mechanical package has been tuned in that regard. Don’t expect it to carve through corners at breakneck speeds or that it will set your loins on fire, rather it’s a Point A to Point B transport. The steering is light, quick, and responsive—perfect for parking and low-speed driving but a bane on the highway. It’s devoid of feedback and is very susceptible to crosswinds making it quite unnerving at highs speeds. The taller, narrower 175/70R14 tires produce a comfortable and compliant ride that absorbs all sorts of potholes. However, it’s very clear that this car could benefit from better body rigidity since even the smallest bumps set shudders into the cabin. Clearly, driving dynamics is a miss here.

Priced some P 40,000 less than the Accent CRDi hatchback, the sedan is definitely geared towards the fleet and taxi market. As such, Hyundai had to make some compromises to the equipment level; however they apparently removed way more than what could be considered as justifiable. Aside from removing the steering wheel controls and the steering wheel tilt adjustment, the driver’s airbag and anti-lock brakes have bitten the dust along with iPod integration (it can only play tunes out of a USB). Removing the safety devices and even the more basic entertainment features should have slashed the price down to, say P 618,000—it will make it even more palatable to fleet customers, don’t you think? And that’s the dilemma right there. If the Hyundai Accent CRDi sedan were priced somewhere along the P 600k range, it would have been a great buy. However at P 728,000, it’s just way too expensive for what’s essentially a no-frills base sub-compact with a powerful diesel motor. Though the Accent CRDi sedan get the nod for its looks, spaciousness, drivetrain, fuel efficiency, and running cost; the hatchback models are certainly the more attractive options, perhaps even for fleet-minded customers.

2014 Hyundai Accent CRDi Sedan
Ownership 2014 Hyundai Accent CRDi Sedan
Year Introduced 2010
Vehicle Classification Sub-compact
The Basics
Body Type 4-door sedan
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.6
Aspiration Common Rail Direct Injection, Turbocharged
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 128 @ 4,000
Nm @ rpm 260 @ 1,900-2,750
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel
Transmission 6MT
Cruise Control No
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,370
Width (mm) 1,700
Height (mm) 1,457
Wheelbase (mm) 2,570
Curb Weight (kg) 1,165
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam Axle
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Drum
Tires 175/70R14
Wheels Steel with Cover
Safety Features
Airbags No
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) No
Traction / Stability Control No
Parking Sensors No
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps No
Auto Lights No
Auto Wipers No
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjustment No
Steering Wheel Material Urethane
Seating Adjustment Manual
Seating Surface Fabric
Folding Rear Seat No
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes
Climate Control No
Audio System Stereo
No. of Speakers 4
Steering Wheel Controls No


  1. I guess nobody wants this piece of crap from Korea.

  2. I seriously considered this unit as a replacement for my aging Sentra LEC. I did not push through the purchase due to what Sir Uly pointed out:

    "However, it’s very clear that this car could benefit from better body rigidity since even the smallest bumps set shudders into the cabin. Clearly, driving dynamics is a miss here."

    I can bear it but the missus will hate me. :D Also the lack of creature comforts is a big negative for me. The price premium for the diesel engine is also quite steep.

  3. Mr. Ang, do you have a review on 2015 accent hatch?
    i'm choosing between Ecosport and accent hatch.
    aside from the height of ecosport, can you give us some comparison of the two?
    I both like their appearances but im not sure which one is the best buy.
    i just heard there was a lot of problems in the transmission of ecosport, but i dont know the details.
    can you give us some pros and cons of the two cars.
    My budget is less than 1M and I will buy one of this two cars.
    but if you have still some suggestion of a better car aside from ecosport and accent hatch, pls discuss also the pros and cons.
    your suggestion will help a lot.
    thank a lot!

    1. If you're budget is less than a million pesos, buy the Mazda 3 V sedan/hatchback. It's the BEST car in the sub-million range. Read Mazda 3's reviews from international sources and you would be amazed. It's MADE IN JAPAN and it has 3 years free PMS parts/labor, also awarded as one of the top 3 best cars of the WORLD.

  4. Can you help me choose bet. 2015 accent 1.6E dsl and 2016 vios 1.3e gas both MT. In general what model is the best for a first time car owner?

    1. Me too! i have to choose between these two cars you've mentioned :) But i think i would love to have the Accent 1.6E dsl MT.