Surprisingly, the 2021 Hyundai Accent Has Something More Expensive Cars Don’t

There’s been plenty of excitement about the development of self-driving cars. Not everyone agrees, though. For people who prefer the intentional interaction of driving and want more connection with the vehicle than an automatic transmission allows, manual transmissions still exist. One car that still offers a manual transmission is the affordable Hyundai Accent. Here’s a look at the 2021 Accent.

History of the manual transmission

It used to be that vehicles always came with a manual transmission. Oldsmobile developed the first automatic transmission in the United States in 1938 and began selling it in 1940 models, according to the Historic Vehicle Association. Manual transmissions were still common until the mid-1980s.

While it wasn’t always the case, today’s automatic transmissions and continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) shift faster and boast better fuel efficiency than their manual counterparts. Even so, some buyers like having a manual transmission and the excitement of controlling the car’s shifting.

This is still possible with the 2021 Accent, even though many other, more expensive vehicles no longer offer a stick shift. The Jaguar F-Type lost its manual transmission in 2020, according to Car and Driver. The modern Dodge Charger, which arrived in 2006, never offered a manual transmission, Torque News reported. Car and Driver also said the 2018 Mazda6 was the last model year when that car offered a manual transmission.

A manual transmission on the 2021 Hyundai Accent

MotorTrend points out that the 2021 Hyundai Accent offers a manual transmission, but that version doesn’t score the fuel economy that the automatic transmission Accent can get. The 2021 Accent has a six-speed manual transmission paired with its 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 120 hp. Car and Driver proclaims that the Accent has “sprightly handling” but a “course-sounding engine” and “so-so performance.” MotorTrend found the stick-shift Accent “surprisingly quick for its class, and its shifter is satisfying to use.”

With the manual, the Accent is rated for 29 mpg in the city, 39 mpg on the highway, and 33 mpg combined. But the CVT gets better fuel economy by 4 mpg in the city, 2 mpg on the highway, and 3 mpg combined.

Car and Driver notes the manual transmission is available only on the base SE trim. It was excited to have a stick-shift option, but the SE trim lacks some features that buyers will probably want. That includes aluminum wheels.

The 2021 Accent

RELATED: Hyundai Hoards 2021 Best Buy Awards for These Four Models

Car and Driver gave the 2021 Hyundai Accent an excellent score of 9 out of 10. The Accent has “grown-up looks” and a nicely finished interior. It has a smaller rear seat than the Honda Fit and less edgy style than the Kia Rio, but Car and Driver described its design as “uncomplicated and honest.”

Despite being one of the most affordable new vehicles, the 2021 Accent still offers air conditioning, power windows, and a six-way adjustable driver’s seat on the base trim. The higher two trims include heated seats and a push-button start. The base trim offers a five-inch touchscreen radio, and the other trims feature a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM Satellite Radio capability.

The 2021 Accent also boasts available forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking, two advanced safety features that aren’t common in this segment. The Accent starts at $15,395 for the SE trim. The SEL trim starts at $17,750, while the top Limited trim starts at $19,500.

Buyers looking to combine affordability with the fun of driving a stick shift should consider the base trim of the 2021 Hyundai Accent. This subcompact car has plenty to offer new-car shoppers who love a manual transmission.