Hyundai unveils new Accent, 5.0 V8 Genesis at Charleston
by Paul Borden

A little bit of rain (well, actually a bit more) failed to dampen enthusiasm at Hyundai's regional launch of the 2012 Accent and Genesis at Charleston, South Carolina.

Charleston Place Hotel in the historic part of the southern city served as headquarters for the two waves that included several SAMA members as well as others from the Southeast and South Central regions.

Highlights featured a welcome dinner at Magnolias Restaurant (for the first wave), an afternoon break with southern specialties like gumbo and fried green tomatoes at Gullah Cuisine, and, of course, the two vehicles.

Hyundai continues to grow its share of the overall automotive market with up to over 600,000 in vehicle sales projected for 2011, up from 91,217 in 1998 sales.

The South Korean automaker now has a retail market share of 6.2 percent through figures for June, said Scott Margason, Director of Product Planning for Hyundai North America.

Frankly, itís easy to see why.

Products like the new Accent and Genesis are winners.

The Accent is all-new for 2012 and competes in the subcompact market, which is among the fastest growing segments in the industry.

Hyundai has added a new five-door hatchback to the Accent line to go with the four-door sedan version, and both models have gotten upgrades in materials throughout the comparatively spacious interior. In fact, Brandon Ramirez, Senior Manager for Product Planning, noted that the Accent has more interior space than the Audi A4.

ďIt doesnít feel like a subcompact vehicle,Ē Ramirez said of the Accent during his presentation.

The Accent is powered by a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that sends 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels via either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Yet fuel economy is an impressive 40 mpg high and 30 city.

The Accentís pricing is competitive, very competitive, in its class, running from $12,455 to the four-door with a manual transmission to $16,795 for the five-door with the automatic. Plus $760 freight charge, of course. (For the life of me I donít understand why they donít include that in the price to begin with. Save us all from doing the math.)

As impressive as the Accent was in the morning, Iíd have to say the star of the day was the new Genesis, which according to the information distributed to us media slugs had undergone only a ďrefreshĒ for 2012.

But, in addition to some styling touches, that refresh included the introduction of a new 5.0 V8 engine for 5.0 R-Spec models. That baby is billed as Hyundaiís most powerful engine to date, pumping out 429 hp and 376 pound-feet of torque on premium fuel (no figures are available for regular) to the rear wheels.

It is mated with an eight-speed manual transmission, and the company estimates the zero-to-60 mph time as 5.1 seconds. Yet fuel economy is rated at 16/25, not too bad considering the performance numbers.

My driving partner, fellow SAMA member Kurt Ernst, and I made sure we jumped in that 5.0 R-Spec right after lunch so we didnít miss out on the opportunity. And we respectfully made the mandatory vehicle exchange at the rest stop so our fellow travelers would have the same opportunity. (We didnít want to miss out on the gumbo, either.)

We finished the afternoon in the 3.8-liter V6 Genesis and actually came away fairly impressed with its power as well, which isnít always the case when you come out of a more powerful vehicle into a more understated version of the same car.

Hyundai has tweaked the new 3.8L power plant to get 43 more hp (up to 333) than the previous generation, and fuel economy is rated at 19/29, also an improvement of 2011 figures of 17/27. Thereís also a 4.6L V8 version which we didnít drive.

Pricing for the Genesis starts at $34,200 for the 3.8 with the 5.0 R-Spec starting at $46,500.

Plus a freight charge of $850. Iíll let you do the math.

For more reviews and commentary by Paul Borden, visit his blog at He will be grateful for the attention.

Miles Johnson (Hyundai), Marcelo Serrato, and Marlen Bedoya

Yvonne Lorie (Hyundai), Marcelo Serrato, and Marlen Bedoya

Chris Hosford and Yvonne Lorie

Paul Borden with Guillermo de la Corte

Chris Hosford (Hyundai)