At first it was intriguing, this big box stuck in the corner of the Hyundai booth at the 2005 SEMA Auto Show, resting among the whirring machines, lights, paint, metal and rubber. A Box. The Box. Standing as an oasis of calm, even with its backdrop of bright yellow Tiburons. The Box. Otherwise known as a shipping container, The Box was a mystery -- and a calming visual break from the automotive onslaught known as SEMA. As the press conference started, though, something seemed wrong -- the expected smoke and sparks failed to materialize, there were no engine revs, and booming electronica didn't thump from loudspeakers. Nope. None of that. Just a timid little Hyundai Accent three-door hatchback, sitting alone among the packing peanuts. Poor thing. Built to complement the all-new 2006 Accent GLS four-door, which will go on sale this November, the Accent three-door hatch arrives next spring. Count on the same type of powertrain as the four-door -- namely, a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine estimated to create 110 horsepower and mated to either a five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic transmission. Safety features include six airbags and standard antilock brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD). According to Hyundai, the Accent GS and SE hatchbacks will have one of the largest interiors in the segment. As if that weren't enough -- imagine, 110 horses powering 16-inch wheels -- Hyundai also plans to offer more than 35 custom accessories when the Accent is launched, including a ground effects kit, cold air intake system, Kenwood MP3 satellite-ready radio, aluminum pedals and doorsills, iPOD holder, and chrome exhaust tip. Factory-installed personalization options include a 220-watt, AM/FM/6-disc CD changer connected to a six-speaker premium audio system. You can also order a power sunroof -- a first for the Accent.
Photo courtesy of Hyundai