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Jan 22, 2013
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Moving 21,996 units in 2012, Hyundai finished third in total cars sold last year, behind Mitsubishi’s 34,915, and Toyota’s market-leading 65,396. Though the gap is still significant, you get the sense that the Korean carmaker remains primed to strike, and is as hungry as ever to take another shot at the big players from Japan.

If you wonder how we can say as much, there’s the case of the Hyundai Accent CRDi VGT Hatchback, previewed back in December 2012 at a Christmas party hosted by Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (HARI), and is set to roll out within the first quarter of this year.

If you don’t want your first car to be called omnipresent, the subcompact Accent’s newest transformation is tempting. This is a car that will raise its finger and beckon you to check it out. Witness: the pronounced lines along its shoulder and skirt, a hood with chiseled sides that smoothly direct you to the dagger headlamps and a front grille framed within a hexagon.

16-inch alloy wheels and a rear spoiler with a high mount stop lamp, and rear lamps extending from the bottom of the trunk to the roof complete this hatchback’s sleek, edgy look. Hyundai also claims its interior is one of the largest in its class, and features 60:40 split folding rear seats to provide gear space.

Matching its sporty looks, the hatchback has the spec sheet that says this is a car that’s meant to be driven, and not merely to get you from point A to B. Its Motor Driven Power Steering (MPDS) system lessens its dependence on the engine for steering power, relying instead on a separate electric motor. Translation: more forward-boosting power. A tilt-adjustable leather steering wheel not only gives the car a plusher feel but also adds to extra driver grip. Audio controls can also be found on the wheel.

Powering this Accent is a new 1.6-liter CRDi diesel engine that delivers 26.5 kg-m at 1900-2750 RPM for a respectable amount of pull, and maximum power output of 128 hp at 4000 RPM. The engine can be mated to a 6-speed manual or 4-speed auto.

The engine alone makes this car stand out: it’s the only diesel-fed hatchback in its class, as well as being the most powerful. The secret, according to Hyundai, lies beneath those three letters “VGT,” which stand for Variable Geometry Turbocharger. This is said to boost power through the use of variable vanes that optimize airflow and subsequently, fuel combustion. But what do we know? We’re not rocket scientists; we’re not even car scientists; hell, we’re still in awe of fucking bikes.

Bikes, we tell you.

Kidding aside, the Accent Hatchback treats your safety as no laughing matter, equipped with class-leading structural rigidity and high-tensile steel strength, side mirrors that de-fog on their own, ventilated front disc brakes, and solid rear disc brakes with ABS. Dual airbags are also available for the 1.6L A/T trim.

With these set of features, the Hyundai Accent Hatchback is a clear competitor that the leaders in this class will take notice of. As for the buyers, if its price tag doesn't shoot past too far from the current top-of-the-line Accent (the GLS 1.6 CVVT AT at P828,000), then expect this one to always be in the conversation for subcompact hatchbacks.