The Russian version of the Hyundai Accent subcompact sedan, called the Solaris, has been unveiled in production form.
In January, the Solaris will become the first Hyundai model to be produced at the automaker's Russian manufacturing base. You may recall the Solaris' conceptual precursor, the Concept RB, which recently debuted in Moscow. Upon first glance, it appears very little has changed from the concept to the production version.
Still, changes are present. The most significant are in the rear, where the Concept RB's sporty rear fascia and specially shaped dual exhaust have given way to a less aggressive design with two red reflectors. The subtle ring of light following the outer edge of the taillights is also gone in favor of a slightly simpler style.
The edges of the lower grille have been softened and those neat foglights remain on the Russian production car, though there's no guarantee we'll see them in our market. Options we may see in the U.S. include side mirrors with integrated turn signals and rear parking sensors.
In Russia, the Solaris/Accent will be powered by 1.4- and 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. It's far from a sure bet that we'll get either of these engines in the U.S. market, but we can tell you that the 2011 Hyundai Accent in the U.S. is powered by a 110-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed automatic and five-speed manual transmission.
As for safety, in Russia, high-end models will come with six airbags. Unique to Russia, the headlights will have a longer lifespan -- 1500 hours -- and front and rear mud guards will be standard. The Solaris name was chosen from more than 27,000 entries offered from people across Russia.
In the U.S., the current-generation Accent received five-star frontal crash test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's tests while side ratings were four stars for the driver and three stars for the rear passengers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety deemed the Accent acceptable in frontal tests but poor in side impact tests.