Review: Hyundai Accent Hatchback CRDi 1.6 MT

By Niky Tamayo

Hyundai Accent Hatchback CRDi

Let's face it. Twenty years from now, people will not be writing paeans about the previous Accent's exceptional styling, or the lack of it. Nor will they be waxing ecstatic over the rather tame handling. They won't be raving about the braying gurgle of that diesel motor as it peeled away from the traffic lights, either. No, while the diesel Accent sedan was a quick car, it was the kind that spoke softly and carried a moderately big stick. This new Accent speaks just as softly, but carries an even bigger stick. Caning has never been so much fun.

Hyundai Accent Hatchback CRDi


The new Accent hatchback is undeniably better-looking than the previous car or the current sedan. While not quite as cohesive as the Hyundai Elantra, or as flashy as its Kia Riocousin, the Accent still has its strong points. The fluidic styling conveys a palpable sense of motion, the curves keeping your eyes moving around the car.

Still, it's very low-key. Steel wheels and hubcaps suggest there's nothing special going on, and only a pair of discreet CRDi badges gives any clue about the performance hiding behind that genial facade. The Accent is a hot hatch hiding in plain sight.

Hyundai Accent Hatchback CRDi

Hyundai Accent Hatchback CRDi


This stealthy theme continues inside, with a simple silver-on-black theme. Muted gray-accented fabrics and golf-ball dimpled black plastic speak a simple design language without screaming cheap. It's classy and tasteful, though the urethane shift knob sticks out like a sore thumb in the middle of the cabin.

While it isn't quite as big as the tallboy Honda Jazz, cabin and cargo space are excellent. As in the Ford Fiesta, which has a similar shape, the chopped-off rear hatch makes for poor rear visibility. Then again, with this much "Powah," who needs to see where you've been?

Hyundai Accent Hatchback CRDi

Hyundai Accent Hatchback CRDi


"Powah" is an apt description of the new 1.6-liter CRDi. It's tame below 1,500rpm, but once the boost kicks in, it has the measure of most 2.0-liter gasoline engines. It would be more rapid still if the tightly gated gearshift were more precise and the soft engine mounts didn't wobble between shifts. The vague, heavy clutch is also a bit of a chore in traffic.

The payoff, however, is 12-14km/L in the city and 25-30km/L on the highway at 80kph. But you'll still get 20km/L plus change at 100kph. Diesel rules.

Hyundai Accent Hatchback CRDi


While technical editor Ferman Lao was suitably impressed with the Accent's abilities in our Budget Issue, this variant rides on 175/70 R14 Kumho Solus tires. Unlike the 195/50 R16s on the automatic, they are squidgy in corners and they wander a bit on the highway.

Yet, thanks to a suspension stiffened to cope with that heavy diesel engine, the hatchback drives nicely. There's some pogoing over broken surfaces due to mismatched front and rear spring rates, but the ride is generally good. Handling is competent, though not class-leading. Not that you'll mind much when you're hurtling down the road on boundless waves of torque.

Hyundai Accent Hatchback CRDi


Does torque count as an extra feature? No? Well, the Hyundai Accent hatch CRDi has strong ABS-equipped brakes, power windows, remote locking, a generic 1DIN head unit and some steering-wheel audio controls. Sadly, other features you'd expect as standard--like a DVD/navigation screen, backing-up sensors, a leather steering wheel and alloy rims--are not on the menu. All sacrificed so Hyundai could meet the target price.

While aftermarket DVD/nav/touchscreen units are cheap, you'll still need to upgrade the so-so speakers to match. Personally, I'd rather spend that money on bigger wheels and tires. And perhaps a diesel performance chip. You can never have enough power.


At just P768,000, the Accent CRDi is a grand bargain for lovers of speed. Unfortunately, the six-speed manual isn't a big advantage over the four-speed auto. The automatic has a better wheel-and-tire package, drives smoother and gets the same cruising economy. And with the torque of the diesel, you won't miss those two extra intermediate gears all that much.

Whichever variant you choose, the Accent is the perfect way to fly under the radar, and with that diesel economy, long-haul "flights" are a breeze. That diesel motor lifts the Accent from middle-of-the-pack to top-dog status. Woof.


Engine: 1.6-liter U-II CRDi-VGT diesel

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Power: 126hp @ 4,000rpm

Torque: 260Nm @ 1,900-2,750rpm

Drive layout: FWD

Seating: 5

Price: P768,000

Score: 17/20

Photos by Niky Tamayo


User account login

Not registered? Click here to be a member.

Forgot your Password?.

Click this link to view our posting guidelines.

Filter comments by:
  • Allain May 02 2013 @ 06:02am
    126hp?260Nm of torque for a hatch back? anybody knows the top speed of this car? Called-out comment
    • Niky Tamayo
      Niky Tamayo May 02 2013 @ 02:14pm
      Should be 190-200 km/h if unrestricted. I'm not sure if the 4AT variant has a speed limiter.

      Not that you'll ever want to go that fast, anyway.
      • JoHunter May 03 2013 @ 01:52am
        I'd probably have repeated all your points verbatim, just not that score. Differing priorities, I guess.
        • JoHunter May 03 2013 @ 01:53am
          Oops, I posted in the wrong thread, haha :p
  • JoHunter May 02 2013 @ 07:02am
    I'd score this at most a 13/20 given this review. Speed is useless if you can't carry it well around corners. Called-out comment
    • Niky Tamayo
      Niky Tamayo May 02 2013 @ 02:11pm
      The gasoline Accent doesn't handle very well. Too soft. This CRDi drives like a Kia Rio with slower steering. Again, not class-leading, but not bad at all. A massive improvement over any previous Accent I've driven.
    • jaygarcia777 May 02 2013 @ 05:09pm
      The only corners that you should worry about are intersections.
      • JoHunter May 03 2013 @ 01:54am
        Not the way I drive
    • json73002 May 03 2013 @ 04:15pm
      You want better handling? Then get the Ford Fiesta. But it has its own negative points too.
  • benedict_251 May 02 2013 @ 08:52am
    It will take time b4 motoring enthusiasts will remove their bias for the brand Hyundai! On the part of Hyundai they must continue improving & set or even surpass the benchmark set by famous brands.I for one is very much interested to this Hyundai Accent Hatchback crdi.Presently we are using Honda Civic & Mitsubishi Strada.
    • aargh May 02 2013 @ 03:48pm
      Its not really the Hyundai stigma. I'm more concerned about the diesel engine which costs more to maintain and noisier. Yes the Hyundai's diesel engine may be durable but I see a lot of relatively new diesel engined SUVs that are smoke belchers. I guess our diesel fuels are really dirty as this is not the case in other countries.
      • Josh Miranda Sep 04 2013 @ 02:57am
        You're right. Thats why di na kami nagpapa-gas sa any other gasoline station except for Shell. Im not biased or what, and Im not advertising them but seriously, Petron's diesel is very dirty. Naengine check/wash kami because of them for twice! Ang dumi dumi daw ng ginagamit namin na diesel. Even ung taga casa ng mitsubishi (we own Monty) nagsabi na sa Shell lang ang malinis na Diesel, so after that, di na kami nagkaron ng problem.
  • aargh May 02 2013 @ 09:21am
    The more expensive SRP and maintenance will offset the savings on diesel fuel.
    • Niky Tamayo
      Niky Tamayo May 02 2013 @ 11:33am
      SRP, consider that you can't get anything faster for the price. The closest comparison in terms of performance would be the Nissan Sentra 200 or the Corolla 2.0, both over 1m.

      Maintenance... well... depends. Over 10,000 kms, you stand to spend 10-20k pesos less in terms of fuel (given 12 km/l versus 10 km/l in traffic... that's being generous to the gasoline cars or 20 km/l versus 15 km/l on the highway). Which is way more than you'll spend extra in terms of PMS. That opens up the possibility of saving at least 100,000 every 100,000 kms, which makes the price premium over the 1.3 and 1.4 liter competition justifiable.

      To spend less on purchase and less in terms of running, you'd have to buy something like an Eon or Mirage and drive it like an old lady, just to keep fuel costs close (close, but not the same... even with the same economy, gasoline is still 10 pesos more).
      • aargh May 02 2013 @ 12:01pm
        Re: SRP, I meant the price vs. other subcompact cars. The accent is a subcompact and speed is not the only consideration when buying a car. I'm definitely intrigued. This is priced in the same range as a Lancer EX 1.6. Would you get this over the Lancer?
        • Niky Tamayo
          Niky Tamayo May 02 2013 @ 01:58pm
          Depends. I like the Lancer's looks, and the front seat is a bit better, but for practicality's sake, the Accent matches it, and has somewhat better economy. Also, for the price of the EX, you can already get the Accent CRDI with an automatic, which is a big plus.
  • neutral May 02 2013 @ 09:57am
    I like this car going up to Baguio, Santa Fe, Tagaytay & Antipolo. Overtaking uphill & winding road is easy & could match some pick-ups & SUVs or even better because it has lower center of gravity. Most compact or sub-compact cars are slow when going uphill & are only good at downhill & flat roads.
  • Darkmatter May 02 2013 @ 11:54am
    Can somebody tell me what kind of kumho solus tires is it equipped with. Are those eco solus? Kr21? Just want to know what is the speed rating of the tire and if its an eco tire. Thanks!
    Called-out comment
  • wazdog May 02 2013 @ 02:17pm
    I wonder why NVH is rarely mentioned in car reviews anymore. Also, all this talk about torque escapes me. 0-60mph time of 1.6CRDI is close to 10 seconds. Is that considered rapid these days?
    • Niky Tamayo
      Niky Tamayo May 02 2013 @ 03:04pm
      I usually make a quick note on NVH. That it wasn't mentioned here means the Accent is acceptable in this regard. Not really noisy, but not as quiet as, say, a Fiesta or Rio.

      0-60 mph official times don't mean much. We tested the four-speed automatic to 100 km/h at 10.5 seconds, with two on board. That translates to around 10 flat with one on board, and suggests around 9 seconds for the six speed transmission, give or take. Possibly less, as the 4AT's wide ratio spread is really a limiting factor given the boost range of the CRDI.

      It's not as quick as the Focus Diesel, but it's quicker than most current 2.0s on the market, as none of them have a manual tranny. The only exception is the outgoing Sentra 200, which still gets a stick. AT to AT, the CRDi 4AT loses out to cars like the Focus and the Corolla (great transmissions for launching), but both cost well over 1.1m.

      For under 1m, you get only 1.6s, which are slower. All of the current 1.6s take two or three seconds more to hit 100 km/h, nowadays. The Fiesta takes 12 seconds, the Jazz takes 11 and a half, everything else is slower. The Cruze 1.8 would be faster if it had shorter gearing.

      Yes, an old Lynx RS or a Civic SiR is quicker. But both require clutch-shredding drop-clutch launches to beat it off the line... and if sold new, they would still both cost over 1m (inflation adjusted). Perhaps the closest in terms of price positioning would be the old Civic 1.8 FD MT, which could hit 100 km/h (with one on board) in under 9 seconds (but talk about clutch-shredding launches...), and cost only 100k more. But the new FB is slower and heavier than the old car.
      • kroniick 11 months ago
        sir please help!!! im torn between hyundai hb 2013 and 2014 hyundai hb. its my first time to buy a new car but there are pros and cons between these two! they said 2014 has newer version of diesel engine. 2014hb upgraded its headlamps to projector type with led lining like tucson, also has an integrated audio without audio steering wheel controls,repeaters and no mags hub caps only so basically its all about the add ons wht im particular about vs. the specs of 2013 with steering wheel controls,alloy mags,repeaters and foglamps and leather steering wheels 2014 is 10k cheaper than 2013. help pls!!!
        • Niky Tamayo
          Niky Tamayo 11 months ago
          If it's just 10k for foglamps, mags and a better steering wheel, I'd go for that. Ask whether the OR/CR will reflect 2014 or 2013, though, as that may have an affect on resale value down the line.
        • bloowolf 11 months ago
          I'd say, go for the 2013 model AT. I bought my 2013 MT last December 2013 & the CR reflected a 2014 midel
  • aargh May 02 2013 @ 03:44pm
    Does this also require the usual warmup and cool down period like in old diesels?
    • Feeter Silverster May 02 2013 @ 07:22pm
      cool down kelangan kasi may turbo sya
  • RS500 May 02 2013 @ 04:08pm
    Test drive niyo to guise. Lakas humatak nito lalo na sa mga sanay sa gasoline-powered sedan. Medyo nakakadismaya lang ung HU, sana maganda man lang ung nilagay although ok ung speakers nito. Ung noise level tama lang naman, slight vibration pero tolerable naman. Saka ung noise di niyo na yan mapapansin pag naka-ON na yung radio kahit mahinang mahina pa volume mo.
    • json73002 May 03 2013 @ 04:28pm
      ma-test drive na nga rin. Sanay naman ako sa diesel engine kaya yung ingay siguro ng makina baliwala na sakin. Pag nag drive nga ako ng hindi diesel ang taas ng rpm bago mag change gear.
      Wala nga lang TOTL na Manual, pang upgrade ko na lang siguro yung 100k na masasave kung sakali.
      • json73002 May 03 2013 @ 04:29pm
        bat ganun? dito napunta yung reply ko?
  • willcess May 02 2013 @ 05:59pm
    The best sya sa City driving. :) Handling wise, hindi naman sya pang race track at sa normal everyday driving, unnoticed naman yung handling masyado. High speed stability, NVH, fuel economy, space, and comfort lang kadalasan tinitignan. Sa NVH, hindi sya at par sa iba like Vios or City (or sa nasubukan lang namin? haha) Maugong kasi at medyo maingay.
    • ronallandottk 11 months ago
      At idle, the diesel clatter is noticeable. At speed or with the engine revved up, it's as quiet as any other gasoline engine.
  • bloowolf Dec 11 2013 @ 10:08pm
    Being a new owner of this car, I must say I am totally impressed. I considered the other cars in it's class (fiesta, sonic, Rio, ...) but I was totally sold to the idea of a diesel hatchback. Considering the build quality & the engine, I Must say it is a good buy. A combined city/highway drive currently nets me 6.5 lits/100 km ( on eco mode) & that is with the occasional c5 traffic on a Saturday. I am currently on frugal terms with the car, but I can feel the power of those horses waiting to be freed of their restraints. I love the spacious interior & generous boot space. My only issue with the car is the tricky gear shifter & the low ground Clearance, which makes negotiating humps a little tricky. The Hyundai alabang staff also made it easy for me, getting me the color I want (veloster red) & generally making the transaction smooth as silk.
  • jlhzmc 11 months ago
    Sir, in terms of reliability, cost of maintenance and availability of parts, can we say na may laban sila sa honda and toyota?
    • bloowolf 11 months ago
      I guess the cost of maintaining a diesel is more than that of a gas engine, which toyota & honda doesn't have. Reliable? Just look at all the old accent diesel taxis roaming the streets, you don't see much smoke on them, compared to the isuzus & revos.
      • despotcustodio 10 months ago
        oo nga. di masyado mausok. taxi nila. euro standard na rin daw.
Filter comments by:
1 to 12 of 12