The 2006 Accent is number four in Hyundai's "24/7" campaign to release seven new models over the next twenty-four months. It follows the Tucson, Sonata and Azera--which also bowed here in New York--and precedes the next Santa Fe, an as-yet-unnamed minivan, and a new Elantra. Debuting this fall, it will initially be offered in only one body style and trim level: the four-door GLS. A three-door model is scheduled to follow a year later. Standard equipment includes six air bags, a 60/40 split folding rear seat, and an eight-way adjustable driver's seat.
It will be propelled by a 110-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Sizewise, the new Accent is one inch wider, 1.8 inches longer, and three inches taller than the outgoing model. That stretching is most relieving for those banished to the backseat--rear leg room has increased by an inch and a half from 32.8 to 34.3 inches. Interior materials and fit and finish are also vastly improved. (We hope the driving dynamics follow suit.) Hyundai hopes to keep prices close to the current car while selling 40,000 examples annually.