Last week, Hyundai announced the 2016 Accent. To make a long story short, it’s essentially the same car as last year with a few tweaks. So why should anyone care about a new, cheap subcompact that’s pretty much the same as it always was?
The “why” is because it’s still available with a manual transmission in all trim levels and all body styles, making it one of the few cars in its class with such a distinction.
The Honda Fit is CVT-only in top trim. The Nissan Versa can only be had with a manual in its lowest, basest trim – we’re talking roll up windows and no tachometer, which doesn’t make much logical sense in a car with a stick. Toyota’s Yaris can only be had with a stick in a few choice trim levels. Even the Accent’s sister car, the Kia Rio, had the manual option for the hatchback removed for 2016.
There was a time not so long ago that inexpensive subcompact cars and manual transmissions went together like peanut butter and jelly. It was expected that a cheap car would have a stick, and that an automatic was an option reserved for the higher trim levels. Even then, an automatic would be an option above the standard manual transmission (there’s a reason why “manual transmission” and “standard transmission” are synonymous).
American automotive tastes have changed over the years, and manual transmission sales are a shrinking fraction of overall sales. The thrill of driving has been replaced with the thrill of being able to tweet a Facebook post while driving down I-25, or ask Siri to Yelp a good restaurant. This doesn’t bode well for those who still enjoy the driving part of driving and who may not be able to afford – or justify – even the cheapest of sporty cars.
The Accent is not the most exciting car on the market, but kudos to Hyundai for allowing their customers to choose a manual transmission and the top-level trim. Hopefully they sell enough Sport hatchbacks with six-speed manuals to justify keeping it around when the next Accent is released.
2016 Hyundai Accent Pricing:
|Accent SE Sedan||1.6L GDI||6-Speed Manual Transmission||$14,745|
|Accent SE Sedan||1.6L GDI||6-Speed Automatic Transmission w/ SHIFTRONIC®||$15,745|
|Accent SE Hatchback||1.6L GDI||6-Speed Manual Transmission||$14,995|
|Accent SE Hatchback||1.6L GDI||6-Speed Automatic Transmission w/ SHIFTRONIC®||$16,195|
|Accent Sport Hatchback||1.6L GDI||6-Speed Manual Transmission||$16,495|
|Accent Sport Hatchback||1.6L GDI||6-Speed Automatic Transmission w/ SHIFTRONIC®||$17,495|
* MSRP does not include freight charge of $825.
Check out this TFLcar video of the 2014 Hyundai Accent: