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Putin previews the 2012 Hyundai Accent

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh  September 21, 2010 11:00 AM

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2012-Hyundai-Accent-Russia-Putin.jpg

(AP Photo/Alexander Demianchuk)

As Hyundai opened its first factory in St. Petersburg today, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin test drove the Korean automaker's new Solaris sedan, a Russian-market version of the upcoming 2012 Accent expected to debut in the US next year.

Putin flashed a thumbs up for the cameras as he previewed the new car, which continues the curved exterior and interior design theme of the larger 2011 Sonata. Hyundai plans to build up to 150,000 Solaris models per year after investing more than $650 million in the plant, according to the Associated Press.

Hyundai has not confirmed pricing or other details about the 2012 Accent, but from spy photographs and the Verna — a Chinese-market version of the Solaris introduced at the Beijing Motor Show in April — it's clear much of the powertrain and style will carry over to the US.

The 1.6-liter four-cylinder has been tuned to produce 121 horsepower, an increase of 11 over the current Accent. A smaller 1.4-liter motor, unlikely to be sold in the US, will be offered in Russia with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic. Hyundai estimates a manual 1.6-liter model to return 39 miles per gallon (and about 36 mpg with the automatic).

Russian-specific features include an uprated battery and larger windshield washer fluid tank, in addition to Hyundai's optional wiper de-icer and heated exterior mirrors.

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