Category Archives: Accent

Hatchback Lacks Muscle, but Not Charm

CORNWALL, N.Y. — Rosa Parks Brown, our chocolate Labrador, prefers subcompact cars. We think it’s because subcompacts force humans to sit next to her. Parks, as we call her, loves humans, craves them. She hates being left alone in the rear compartments of large trucks, crossover utility vehicles or sedans.

In that regard, the subcompact Hyundai Accent SE hatchback, seemingly the least likely of vehicles to transport three adults, a large dog and all of their stuff, turned out to be ideal for our 320-mile journey here from our home in Northern Virginia.

Parks did the whole trip resting her head in the lap of her true master, our daughter Binta, or sticking her face as close as possible to the open front passenger window ostensibly to catch a breeze, but really to lick the back of the neck of the woman in the front passenger’s seat, my wife, Mary Anne.

Other than my wife’s occasional protests against being neck-slurped, it was a pleasant, easy trip — surprisingly pleasant and easy.

The little Accent is the most affordable car made by Hyundai, a South Korean manufacturer that prides itself on the design and production of affordable automobiles. At Hyundai in the 1980s, that meant motorized trash, such as the now-defunct, seldom mourned Hyundai Excel subcompact.

Today’s Hyundai no longer makes trash. In fact, the company has been reaching upscale and doing so successfully with models such as its new Genesis sedan. Next year, Hyundai will roll out its Equus sedan, a super luxurious automobile designed to compete with Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class and BMW’s 7-Series.

The only people laughing at the prospect of Hyundai taking on Mercedes-Benz and BMW are those who haven’t been paying close attention to Hyundai.

I have written here and other places that Hyundai has mastered the art of Wal-Mart marketing. Some of you have taken that as an insult. It isn’t.

To people who shop regularly at Wal-Mart, as we Browns do on our East Coast road trips, it is high praise. We get products and service we want with the quality we want at prices we consider unbeatable.

Hyundai understands that. It is committed to the proposition of high value for dollar, even in its least expensive car, the front-wheel-drive Accent hatchback.

The Accent is a subcompact with wiggle room, arguably with as much usable interior space as that offered by the more expensive Toyota Corolla. Fit and finish are as good as anything offered by Hyundai’s Japanese rivals. In terms of air-bag count, standard safety equipment is better. You get standard side and head air bags in the Accent. You don’t in the Corolla.

The Corolla has a more powerful four-cylinder engine — 1.8 liters and 132 horsepower vs. 1.6 liters and 110 hp for the Accent. That makes the Accent more of a right-lane car than its Japanese rival. But both cars can exceed the top 65 mph speed limit on the New Jersey Turnpike with the same unhappy result: an expensive conversation with a New Jersey state trooper.

Still, I would’ve preferred a larger engine in the Accent. And here’s hoping that Hyundai creates a special iteration of the Accent with, maybe, a turbocharged 1.8 liter, four-cylinder diesel. That would make getting up Mine Hill Road here a lot easier than struggling along in second gear, which is what we had to do in the gasoline-fueled four-cylinder Accent SE used on this trip.

But Parks didn’t mind the second-gear stuttering. With a fuel efficiency of 27 miles per gallon in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, using regular unleaded gasoline, we saved enough money to buy her some gourmet dog food.

Perhaps that’s really why she prefers subcompact cars.

By Warren Brown
Washington Post

Hyundai Accent reliable, easy on the wallet

MUNCIE — A Muncie resident who works in Indianapolis, Mike Stults puts in more than his share of “windshield time,” and his 125-mile round-trip commute tests a car’s reliability.

Last month, Stults bought a 2009 Hyundai Accent to drive back and forth to his job at Enzon Pharmaceuticals, where he is a maintenance supervisor and security administrator.

The new Accent is the fifth Hyundai that Mike and his wife, Genessee, have bought at Gaddis Hyundai of Muncie over the past nine years.

“These cars have been a godsend to me,” Stults said. “I have looked at hybrids, but I paid $11,800 for the Accent, which gets 34 to 35 miles per gallon on the highway, so it’s hard for me to justify the higher price of a hybrid.”

The Accent’s price is comparable to that of a used car, he said.

“A used car that’s reliable enough to drive as many miles as I do would cost at least $9,000 to $10,000 — not much less than I paid for the Accent, which was new,” he explained. “I need a car that’s dependable, and in nine years, we’ve never had any Hyundai that we’ve owned in the shop for anything other than normal maintenance.”

While Stults chose the Accent mainly for its low cost of ownership, he has also found the car safe, comfortable and pleasant to drive.

“With my previous car, which was also an Accent, I hit a concrete barrier at 50 to 55 miles per hour; the car was a total loss, but I walked away without a scratch,” he said. “The Accent is also very quiet on the highway, and it’s comfortable and easy to relax in after working all day.”

Jim Raines, sales representative at Gaddis Hyundai, said the Accent offers more than many people expect.

“For under $12,000, you get side-impact and side-curtain airbags, air conditioning and a great warranty,” he said. “As is typical with Hyundai, value is the big story here — the Accent is an inexpensive car that’s also a wonderful car to own.”

The Accent three-door hatchback is available in two models: The base Accent GS starts at $9,970; the Accent SE has a base price of $15,070.

The Accent four-door sedan, available only in GLS trim, starts at $12,920.

All come with a 110-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic is optional.

Other standard features include six airbags, a six-way adjustable driver’s seat, tire pressure-monitoring system, 60/40 fold-down rear seat, four-speaker audio system and rear defroster.

Additional features of the Accent SE three-door include air conditioning, fog lights, tilt steering, rear washer/wiper, XM satellite radio, a six-speaker audio system and a B&M Racing sport shifter.

The four-door Accent GLS has many of the same features as the three-door SE, except the sedan has standard 14-inch steel wheels and optional 15-inch alloy wheels instead of the SE’s standard 16-inch alloy wheels. Also, four-wheel antilock brakes and power mirrors, both standard on the SE, are optional on the GLS.


Three Hyundai Models Named Best Car Buys for 2009

Genesis, Accent and Tucson Earn High Marks for Affordability, Safety and Fuel Efficiency in the Annual List of “Best Car Buys”

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 02/13/2009 Three Hyundai models were named “Best Car Buys” for 2009 by in four respective categories — Hyundai Genesis, Top Luxury Cars (under $35,000); Hyundai Accent, Top Sub-Compacts (under $15,000); and Hyundai Tucson, Top Crossovers (under $21,000). The “Best Buys” list is one of the most highly respected awards provided to automakers.

“With the struggling economy, car buyers are facing tougher decisions when considering their next vehicle purchase. The annual ‘Best Buys’ list provides consumers with unbiased and research-driven information,” said Michael Caudill, spokesperson, “Hyundai is making the car buying process easier than ever by offering the biggest bang for the buck in a variety of segments, whether it be the fuel efficient Accent, Genesis luxury sedan or functional Tucson crossover.” is the leading provider of pricing information and market research for cars, classics, RVs, motorcycles and boats. The “Best Car Buys” list is based on criteria identified by Market Data Analysts (MDAs) as most important to consumers — affordability, fuel efficiency, warranty coverage, safety and depreciation.

“We are honored to be recognized as the auto industry’s most affordably priced, fuel efficient and highest safety rated vehicles in the business,” said Dave Zuchowski, vice president, National Sales, Hyundai Motor America. “This award is a true testament of Hyundai’s commitment to provide consumers with high-quality vehicles that suit their needs and budget, especially in today’s turbulent economy.”


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 780 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by The Hyundai Advantage, America’s Best Warranty. In addition, the Hyundai Assurance Program is now offered on all new vehicles leased or purchased from a certified Hyundai dealer. The program is available to any consumer, regardless of age, health, employment record or financed amount of the vehicle. The program is complimentary for the first 12 months.


NADA Appraisal Guides is the world’s largest publisher of vehicle pricing and specification information for new and used cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs, as well as van conversions, limousines, classic and collectible cars, boats, RVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles, personal watercraft and manufactured housing. The company’s consumer website, (, offers a variety of new and used vehicle services in addition to valuation information. Throughout its 75-year history, NADA Appraisal Guides has earned the reputation as the recognized authority for vehicle valuations. Its website,, is the most comprehensive vehicle information resource on the Internet today.

Four Hyundai Models Honored with Best Bet Awards from the Car Book 2009

Hyundai’s Genesis, Accent, Entourage and Tucson Recognized for Exceeding the Safety and Performance Needs of the American Buyer

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 02/04/2009 Hyundai continues to collect awards for its model lineup adding “BEST BETS” distinction for four of its vehicles in The Car Book 2009. Genesis, Accent, Entourage and Tucson all earned the distinction of “BEST BETS” from author Jack Gillis and the Center for Auto Safety, the nation’s leading auto safety advocacy group. For 29 years, The Car Book has selected vehicles for this honor based on how well they respond to the safety and performance needs of today’s consumer.

Hyundai has made a significant contribution to improving the market choices for the American car buyer, demonstrated by the four cars chosen as ‘BEST BETS’ for 2009,” said Jack Gillis, author, The Car Book. “During these most challenging times for the auto industry, the fact that Hyundai vehicles have the quality and features most important to today’s car buyer is a testament to their desire to meet customer needs.”

The Car Book analyzes new vehicles each year to identify those making a significant contribution to improving the market. “BEST BETS” ratings designate The Car Book’s highest-rated cars in each of the size categories. Ratings are based on nine important categories: crash tests, safety features, rollover, preventative maintenance, repair costs, warranty, fuel economy, complaints and insurance costs, with the heaviest emphasis on safety.

“Having four cars named as ‘BEST BETS’ by The Car Book is a testament to the hard work and dedication that goes into all the vehicles in the Hyundai lineup,” said Scott Margason, national manager of Product Planning, Hyundai Motor America. “We are extremely proud to receive these awards and look forward to continuing to develop vehicles that exceed the expectations of all our customers in safety, quality and performance.”

The winning Hyundai models received “BEST BETS” selection in each of the following categories:
Subcompact: Accent
Intermediate: Genesis
Small Sports Utility: Tucson
Minivan: Entourage

All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by The Hyundai Advantage, America’s Best Warranty. In addition, the Hyundai Assurance Program is now offered on all new vehicles leased or purchased from a certified Hyundai dealer. The program is available to any consumer, regardless of age, health, employment record or financed amount of the vehicle. The program is complimentary for the first 12 months.


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 780 dealerships nationwide.

Top Cars for Tough Times

Though falling gasoline prices have eased driving costs in recent weeks, economic uncertainty and the feeling that $4.00-a-gallon fuel may come around yet again is causing those in the market for a new car to consider ones that are not only more fuel efficient, but are inexpensive to purchase. Fortunately there are several small cars out there these days that fit the bill, and while they’re far from being the most luxurious vehicles in existence, they don’t necessarily make their owners feel unduly penalized for their frugality, either.

Here’s a quick look at several subcompact sedans and hatchbacks for 2009 that are not only the lowest-priced models on the market, but generally carry fuel economy ratings that are surpassed only by costlier hybrid-powered models. They’re not the top performers on the road, certainly aren’t the roomiest and for the most part only offer a modicum of features, but they get the job done and do so with inherent thrift as their main virtue.

* Hyundai Accent. As of this writing the lowest-priced car sold in the U.S. at $9,970 (for the hatchback; the sedan starts at $12,920), the subcompact Accent affords essential four-passenger transportation and good fuel economy without feeling overly cheap. It’s 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine produces a barely-adequate 110 horsepower, though the reward comes with an estimated 27-city/35-mpg fuel economy. Six air bags, a 100,000-mile warranty and a five-speed manual transmission come standard, with a four-speed automatic gearbox available.

* Kia Rio. Corporate cousin to the Hyundai Accent, the Kia Rio comes in specific, curvier styling, though it’s likewise offered in sedan and hatchback models and packs a 110-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and a choice of a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Its sticker price starts at $11,495, though the hatchbacks are priced higher. Six air bags and a 100,000-mile warranty are included. As with the Accent, the Rio remains a worthy alternative to a used Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic for about the same price.

Pougkeepsie Journal

Hyundai Accent Retains Crown as America’s Least Expensive Car

November 25, 2008 — FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. — The country’s most dependable sub-compact car is also its most affordable.

The high-mileage 2009 Hyundai Accent has a starting price of $9,970, making it the least expensive new car on the market. But it’s also the “Most Dependable Sub-Compact Car” available (as determined by the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study(SM)) and one of the most fuel efficient vehicles on the road today – a trifecta that no other car can match.

“Accent is the perfect vehicle for a customer looking for the ideal mix of price, dependability and fuel economy,” said Mark Dipko, Small Car product manager. “And as a brand known the world over for its value, we feel it is important to retain our crown as the most affordable new car available.”

At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Hyundai announced even more good news for the Accent, revealing that next year a special high-mileage “Blue” edition will be available that offers even higher levels of fuel economy without adding to the price. Accent “Blue” will feature fuel-efficient modifications to reduce engine friction and rolling resistance, enhance aerodynamics, optimize gearing and revise engine calibrations for maximum efficiency, all adding up to higher fuel mileage and lower emissions than today’s model.

The 2009 Accent GS retains the same content as last year’s model and has not been reduced to achieve America’s best price point. Accent GS offers a 1.6-litre, 110-horsepower engine, power steering, advanced front airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags, roof-mounted curtain airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, front variable intermittent wipers, 60/40 split fold-down seatback, six-way adjustable driver seat, adjustable head restraints for all seating positions and rear spoiler.

Pricing for all other Accent models remains unchanged, delivering outstanding value throughout the lineup. In addition to the $9,970 Accent GS 3-door with manual transmission, the Accent three-door with automatic transmission starts at $12,070; Accent GLS 4-door with manual transmission starts at $12,920; and the sport-tuned and comprehensively equipped Accent SE 3-door with manual transmission starts at $15,070. Freight charges for Accent are $695.

All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by The Hyundai Advantage, America’s Best Warranty. Hyundai buyers are protected by a 10-year/100,000-mile power train warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 7-year/unlimited-mile anti-perforation warranty and 5-year/unlimited-mile roadside assistance protection.

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif. is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced by more than 790 Hyundai dealerships nationwide.

Hyundai Accent received the lowest number of problems per 100 vehicles among sub-compact cars in the proprietary J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Vehicle Dependability Study(SM). Study based on responses from over 52,000 original owners of 2005 model-year vehicles, measuring more than 250 models. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of owners surveyed in January to April 2008. Your experiences may vary. Visit

In The Autoblog Garage: 2008 Hyundai Accent SE

Dismal little car. That’s what you’d hear 20 years ago when the conversation turned to Hyundai. The Excel wasn’t as terrible as a Yugo, or even as horrifically unreliable as sneering Peugeots, but it wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms. Back then, even Japanese brands were still targets of xenophobia; who was this Korean company trying to fool?

Hyundai persevered, and now the South Korean industrial giant is making vehicles that garner good recommendations and carry one of the best warranties in the business. Hyundai’s Accent could be considered a spiritual successor to the unloved Excel, and it carries on that car’s basic formula of delivering a comparable car for less money than the competition. What do you give up to get a car that’s not stripped, yet still cheaper?

Recent history has seen Hyundais roll off dealer lots as well-equipped, attractively anonymous cars that lack engaging driving dynamics. That’s not so much the case anymore, as our time with the Accent has proven. The first check mark in the Accent’s plus column is styling that’s normal. It’s even dull, and that’s fine when faced with the ugly visages of any Scion, the ungainly proportions of a Versa, or the outright confusion of a Focus.

Deliciously conventional, the Accent has clean flanks broken by a strong stroke carved across its middle and a mildly sporting hatch profile. The 3-door we sampled carried the top SE trim level, coming with body color mirrors and door handles, a rear spoiler, foglamps, and handsome 16-inch alloy wheels as highlights among the nearly all-inclusive package of goodies. It’s base price was $15,280 with the only option being sporty floormats.

The Accent SE runs with a pack of cars that includes the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, and Suzuki SX4 wagon. All are less conventionally styled than the Accent, and on virtually every measure, the Hyundai is competitive. Measuring tape doesn’t tell the whole story, though.

Like the exterior, Hyundai’s not stretching to break new ground with the interior. Spend some time in the hell-box interior of an xB and you’ll cry tears of joy the first time you plant your tukas in the Accent. Rather than be different for the sake of it, Hyundai delivers a clean, simply operated human-car interface rendered in decent materials. The radio sits up high, easily reached, and just below it are three knobs for the HVAC – no fiddly rocker controls here. Because we’re lazy auto journos, we missed audio controls on the leather wrapped steering wheel, but the stereo is right there.

The seats are econo-car fare, though bolstered halfway decently and supportive in the right spots. Cloth upholstery in two tasteful patterns should endure at least until the warranty runs out in a decade. There are touches of bargain bin inside, however. The seat brackets, especially for the rears, are right out in the open, not dressed in like on some other cars, which adds a touch of cheap. The door panels are made of a plastic that will quickly become marred with scratches, too. Our sampler was already showing signs of wear in this area. Overall, materials are midpack for the class, with low-luster coverings on the dash and upper door panels, non-flimsy controls, and faultless ergonomics. It’s a richer feeling cockpit than you’d expect, and the simple gauge package is thankfully where it belongs, right in front of the driver.

Hyundai’s 1.6-liter four-cylinder kicks it with a DOHC 16-valve layout and a slightly gravel voice that’ll happily bellow all day. 110 horsepower and 106 lb-ft of torque have 2,500 lbs to bear, and when channeled through the five-speed transaxle, the Accent can even be mildly entertaining. The shifter isn’t a model of precision, but the startlingly chunky setup OEM’d by B&M feels good in the hand and the ridiculously oversized machined aluminum lockout ring is a conversation piece. Our favorite powertrain feature by far was the honest-to-goodness throttle cable. No drive by wire actuation here; press the pedal and you get a response without latency.

A sporty suspension tune is also part of the SE up-rating. MacStruts up front and a torsion beam out back are time honored ingredients for the sporty hatch recipe. Hyundai stuffed plenty of rubber under the Accent SE, wrapping the 16-inch alloys with 205s for plenty of stiction. SE-specific springs and shocks keep body motions in check while you’re flinging the Accent SE around by the scruff of its neck, exercising the model’s specific steering rack and stabilizer bar. Even with a disc/drum combo platter, the brake pedal is firm and confident. And while the Accent ultimately understeers, it’s got the moves and the traction to keep you grinning. The ride winds up being firm without being harsh, though the Accent can’t manage the supple chassis dynamics of a Volkswagen Rabbit.

Sharp responses aren’t everything, and the Accent works just dandy as a daily driver, too. Adults will fit in the rear seats, though the Accent will likely not be the staff car of an NBA franchise. Hatchbacks have winning flexibility, and the Accent happily hauled plenty of bulky items, construction materials or whatever for us. One disappointment during the Accent’s stay was fuel economy. While the EPA rates the Accent SE at 27 mpg city and 33 mpg highway when equipped with the 5-speed, we only acheived 27.5 mpg with a highway-heavy commute.

Maybe we were having more fun than we thought with the Accent, and that’s why we didn’t see the type of fuel economy we were expecting. Rare is the small car that can mix it up on a back road at the hands of a competent driver and give fits to the poseurs in sportier cars. We’re not sure we’d be as enthusiastic about the softer GS or GLS Accents, but the SE tickles our automotive enjoyment centers without creating an achy wallet.

©2008 Dan Roth / Weblogs, Inc.

Hyundai Accent is light on the budget

Frugal buyers intent on saving money at the gasoline pump and the car dealership shouldn’t overlook the Hyundai Accent hatchback.

The three-door 2008 Accent has been the top-ranked, gasoline-powered, compact hatchback in government fuel economy ratings, with a city rating of 27 miles per gallon and a highway rating of 32 mpg when fitted with manual transmission.

Better yet, the soon-to-be-arriving 2009 Accent hatchback, with a mildly tweaked four-cylinder engine, has an even higher rating: 27/33 mpg for a combined city/highway rating of 33 mpg.

Hyundai’s entry model, the Accent 3-Door hatchback has a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, of just $11,645 with manual transmission and $12,645 with automatic transmission for 2008 models. For 2009 Accent hatchbacks, base prices are $100 higher.

It’s worth noting that the low starting prices include items not normally found on base models of small, entry-level cars: a generous amount of standard safety equipment, including six air bags as well as a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty on powertrain components and five years of company-provided roadside assistance.

In comparison, the 2008 Toyota Yaris 3-door model starts at $12,210 with manual transmission. But curtain and side air bags are optional on the base Yaris. The Yaris also only comes with three-year/36,000-mile standard warranty coverage for its powertrain components.

By comparison, the popular Honda Fit hatchback with five doors includes the standard air bags that the Accent has but pricing starts at $15,220 for a 2009 model with manual transmission, and the standard powertrain warranty coverage is good for just three years/36,000 miles.

Unfortunately, there are no federal government crash test ratings for the Accent hatchback to show how much passenger protection is provided by the safety equipment. And while Consumer Reports magazine lists the Accent’s predicted reliability as average, another annual survey released in August put the Accent hatchback at the top of the small-car hatchback segment in durability.

Specifically, the Accent topped the Scion xA and Chevrolet Aveo in J.D. Power and Associates’ Vehicle Dependability Study that measures problems experienced by original car owners of 3-year-old vehicles. So, Power’s study relates to the 2005 Accent hatchback.

Accent buyers must get accustomed to riding in a lightweight car.

The test Accent, a 2008 SE 3-Door with manual transmission, weighed just under 2,500 pounds.

Doors closed with a less-than-solid sound, there was buffeting and some noise that came into the interior from nearby semitrailers, and the Accent SE felt light traveling on its uplevel, 16-inch tires.

But in normal driving, the Accent didn’t overtax its 110-horsepower, 1.6-liter, four cylinder engine with continuously variable valve timing.

Using the five gears in the manual transmission carefully, I worked to get decent get up and go in city traffic as I tapped the engine’s 106 foot-pounds of torque that came on at 4,500 rpm. On the highway, the Accent’s four cylinder became buzzy as I sought to pass other cars on uphill sections of road.

But, looking at the gasoline gauge after days of driving, I didn’t mind the performance-vs.-gas-usage trade off.

This car can travel nearly 400 mixed city/highway miles on a single tank of regular fuel. Even at $3.70 a gallon, a fill-up of the 11.9-gallon tank costs less than $45.

The Yaris hatchback has a 106-horsepower, four-cylinder engine producing 103 foot-pounds of torque at 4,200 rpm.

The front-wheel drive Accent comes with a MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam axle in back. In the SE, the front stabilizer bar is thicker than in other models, and the suspension is “sport-tuned.”

But the handling still seemed more mainstream than sporty. The same is true of the power-assisted, rack-and-pinion steering.

Headroom in the Accent’s back seat is a commendable 37.8 inches compared with 33.8 inches in the back of a Yaris hatchback. But as in many small hatchbacks, three adults sit closely in the back seat of the Accent.

I wish the car looked a bit richer or sporty. Instead, it is plain and rather uninspired, inside and out. And the tester was the Accent SE with the larger wheels and tires. Base Accents ride on small, 14-inch tires.

Still, there were features inside the test car that surprised me.

For example, the Accent SE 3-Door had a fold-down, driver-seat armrest on the right side, and there were many bottle holders and cupholders in both front and back seats.

But the round dials for the climate control system felt flimsy, and the seats — especially the back-seat cushion — had a cheap foam feel.

I enjoyed the flexibility that the hatchback offered. With rear seats folded down, I had room to stow several suitcases and boxes. Maximum cargo room measures 15.8 cubic feet vs. 14.2 cubic feet in a Honda Fit.

U.S. sales of the Accent were up 56 percent through the first seven months of this year and are on track to be the highest since calendar 2008 when more than 71,000 were sold.

2008 Hyundai Accent SE 3-Door

Expected quality freshened with added standard features

For more than 10 years, Hyundai’s Accent has been building popularity on the U.S. automotive scene by offering good quality with often unexpected features and performance at affordable entry-level prices.

The 2008 model year is no different. The Accent lineup provides an impressive list of new standard features and equipment along with significant interior and exterior improvements, which tend to raise the bar in the compact market segment.

Enhancements include XM Satellite Radio with three months of free service, auxiliary input jack that allows iPods and other portable MP3 players to be connected directly into the audio system, tire pressure monitoring system, B&M Racing sport shifter (Standard SE only), new Mellow Yellow exterior color option available on GS and SE and rear center armrest with cup holders added to SE (standard on GLS).

The Hyundai Accent comes three ways – as a four-door sedan in GLS trim or a three-door configuration in either GS trim or the sportier SE trim level. All Accent models are powered by a 1.6-liter DOHC in-line four-cylinder engine featuring four valves per cylinder. The engine to provide a very broad powerband, coupled with high fuel efficiency and low emissions.

Performance peaks at 110 horsepower at 6000 rpm and torque is 106 pound-feet at 4500 rpm. There are two transmissions to choose from – the five-speed manual gearbox is standard and a four-speed transmission with overdrive is also available. With the manual transmission, the Accent’s EPA mileage is 27 mpg city and 32 mpg highway while the optional four-speed automatic transmission delivers an EPA rating of 24 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.

The Accent GLS 4-door sedan has a distinctive look with upscale styling cues like the chrome-accented grille. The door handles, mirrors, side moldings and rear garnish trim combine with bold tail lights and character lines to deliver a strong presence. The roof-mounted micro-antenna provides improved radio reception, and the new 15-inch wheel design further enhances the design.

The three-door Accent GS and SE reflect Hyundai’s sleek, confident design direction. Up front, the GS and SE feature an aggressive body-color grille with fog lights standard on the SE. Accent SE’s high-performance P205/45R16 tires and lightweight five-spoke aluminum wheels provide a more planted feel. The long wheelbase and elevated seating positions increase the feeling of interior spacious. A rear spoiler and wiper are standard on the Accent SE, adding to its sporty flavor.

Accent delivers more total interior volume than either the Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic – both cars that are a segment above Accent. The Accent four-door sedan has a total interior volume of 104.6 cubic-feet, besting the larger Civic sedan by 1.7 cubic-feet. The Accent also provides more passenger volume than Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris and Chevrolet Aveo. The three-door Accent has a total interior volume of 108.1 cubic-feet, making it roomer than the Civic Coupe by 12.9 cubic feet. The Accent three-door also delivers class-leading interior volume in the three-door segment with 15.9 cubic-feet of cargo space – 6.6 cubic-feet larger than the three-door Yaris.

Accent’s interior consists of a two-tone interior color scheme with either a gray or beige theme or a sporty, black monotone available on three-door vehicles. Analog instrumentation is improved on the GLS and SE, while power steering, a tilt steering wheel and an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat with fold-down armrest makes for comfortable extended travel. Convenient storage areas exist throughout, including bins in the front and rear center console. All Accents have a 60/40 split fold-down rear seatback for maximum flexibility. The Accent three-door’s rear seats recline for additional comfort.

Standard features include two-speed variable intermittent wipers, adjustable head restraints, cabin air filtration, rear window defroster, tachometer, new rear coat hook, digital clock, two 12-volt outlets and remote hood and fuel filler door releases. Audiophiles will appreciate the available 172-watt AM/FM/XM Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system with easy-to-use controls and a total of six speakers.

My test Hyundai Accent was a three-door in the sportier SE trim, with the standard five-speed tranny. The exterior sported an Apple Green metallic finish while the interior was executed in beige cloth and charcoal tones. The base price was established at $14,575. The optional aluminum door sills, sporty floor mats and freight and handling charge boosted the final sticker to reasonable $15,370.


The 2008 Hyundai Accent SE three-door is an affordable, spacious and sporty-looking compact vehicle. It comes with a surprising level of standard amenities and offers a substantial inventory of options, allowing the consumer to make it their own according their individual needs and tastes.

The ride quality is comfortable and the driving dynamics deliver nimble, responsive behavior. Sporty it is, a sports car it is not. The GS and SE three-door is best suited to singles or couples, while families with small children may want to opt for the four-door GLS sedan for the added convenience of installing a child car seat or booster. The moveable passenger seat in the three-door models presents a bit of a challenge for installation.

Don’t expect to smoke the tires off-the-line or to experience excessive G-force – however acceleration is substantial enough to accomplish most intended tasks however. The engine is on the buzzy side when pushed hard, but it isn’t intrusive. The focus of the Accent is to provide comfortable, efficient transportation that can be enjoyable to drive. Factor in the advantage of what Hyundai claims to be America’s best warranty, including five years and 60,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage and a 10-year/100,000-mile power train warranty, and choosing Accent can becomes an even more sound decision.

2008 Hyundai Accent SE 3-Door

Base price: $14,575

Price as tested: $15,370

Engine/transmission: 1.6- liter, 110-horsepower, four-cylinder; five-speed manual

Wheelbase: 98.4 inches

Length: 168.5 inches

Width: 66.7 inches

Height: 57.9 inches

Curb weight: 2,496 pounds

Fuel capacity: 11.9 gallons

Fuel consumption: 27 mpg city/32 mpg highway

Arv Voss

REVIEWS: 2008 Hyundai Accent SE


The Hyundai Accent led the modern subcompact rush. Sure, the late ’70s and ’80s were stocked with tiny fuel-sippers, but as those guys grew up, Hyundai started a whole new subcompact fad when it put the Accent on the road in 1995.

Except that it’s not actually a subcompact. Under Environmental Protection Agency standards, the Accent’s 108.1 cubic feet of interior space classify it as a compact car, in the same category as a Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus. But Accent prices start as low as $11,425, and as this story was written, a $1,500 rebate could get you into an Accent for less than $10,000. So it’s certainly a subcompact in price.

It has the same traits as a subcompact: a buzzy four-cylinder engine, highway fuel economy over 30 mpg, a goofy name, and low curb weight.

And then there is perception. The three-door hatchback’s diminutive dimensions beg you to compare the car with the Toyota Yaris and, in turn, the Honda Fit, Chevrolet Aveo and other subcompacts.

So the EPA is wrong and we’re saying the Accent is a subcompact. Are years of experience and a bigger body enough for this pseudo-subcompact senior to beat some of the athletic new freshmen?


If the Hyundai Accent were to give you a call, it would probably show up on your caller ID as “Anonymous.” It’s not that the Korean car is moonlighting as a salesman hawking WiFi-enabled toilets, but that its styling is entirely forgettable. The Accent has none of the gaping grilles and chunky C-pillars that seem to be the youthful calling cards of modern subcompacts.

The windows strictly follow the roofline and a simple beltline. The car may look simple, but from the driver’s seat the window profile translates into exceptional visibility in every direction, aided by the rear-seat headrests that tuck in low to the seatbacks.

With our test car’s base price of $15,195 we were surprised to find fog lights and 16-inch alloy wheels as standard equipment. Those touches, along with the impressive list of interior equipment, keep the high-end SE model away from econobox status.


The simplicity of the exterior design carries over to the interior, where you’ll find that the controls are predictably placed and intuitive to use. Three large knobs manage the climate control, while the radio interface’s equally safe design appears a bit dated. It may all be easy to use, but the Accent falls far short of the Honda Fit’s stylish interior.

With touches of silver, our car’s gray and black interior was attractive enough. But the plastics are hard and cheap feeling, especially in the door-mounted armrests, which bruise elbows. The steering wheel’s thin rim and plastic feel contradict the fact that it’s actually wrapped in leather. We did, however, like the look and feel of the leather-wrapped shifter. Our first impression of the firm seats was that they were more baseball bleacher than La-Z-Boy, but over time they proved to be quite comfortable even on long trips.

Accessing the rear seats can be a bit tricky, but once in back, passengers still have enough leg room for in-town travel without complaining. The 60/40 split folding rear seat also works well with the hatch to create a large cargo area. We easily stacked the car with a large tent and several bags of gear and still had plenty of room to stand up a bike (with front wheel and seat removed).

The Accent’s list of standard equipment is what we’ve come to expect of subcompacts: power windows, locks and mirrors; keyless entry; air conditioning and a CD player. There’s also the full salvo of safety equipment including six air bags, anti-lock brakes and a tire pressure monitoring system.

As an early 2008 model, our Accent lacked an auxiliary audio input and satellite radio, two features that are quickly becoming mandatory fare in this segment. Hyundai has since added the equipment as standard on SE hatchbacks and all sedans (and raised the starting price by about $200).


Making 110 hp from its 1.6-liter engine, the Accent slots right between its competitors in power, beating the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, and Chevrolet Aveo but yielding to the Nissan Versa and Suzuki SX4. True to the subcompact creed, it is not fast off the line but is willing to play when driven aggressively. Keep the revs above 3000 rpm and you’ll have no problem swiftly merging onto highways, or passing slower vehicles.

In SE trim, the Accent comes standard with a B&M Racing sport shifter attached to the five-speed manual gearbox. Shifts are quick and easy to find, yet still a bit clunky. Paired together, the engine and transmission provide adequate acceleration and an engaging drive. Fuel economy is competitive, with manual Accents rated at 27 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, and automatics delivering 24 mpg and 33 mpg, respectively.


At just about 2500 pounds, the Accent hatchback is of average weight in the subcompact class. But this universal low-weight characteristic is often what makes the other subcompact universal characteristic – low power – tolerable. Get the car up to speed and it’s a blast to snake through turns.

Low weight alone does not make a car handle well. Body roll and understeer in the Accent are minimal, controlled by Hyundai’s sport-tuned suspension with stiffer springs and dampers. The set-up uses coil springs working with struts in the front and a torsion bar suspension in the rear. The low-profile Kumho tires are a good match for the Accent, working hard to grip rather than squeal through turns. Steering is well weighted, but could be improved by offering more feedback.


The Hyundai’s most endearing quality may also be the least expected – how well it drives. The Accent is most comfortable in the fringes between city and country, where roads twist but speeds are kept in check. Drive it hard between 20 and 50 mph, keeping revs in the middle of the tachometer and the steering wheel constantly spinning to discover the true character of this car.

Once you get away from a stoplight, even city driving in the Accent is enjoyable. Turning down a new street invites a downshift to turn on the power and pull out of a quick corner. Cloverleaf highway on-ramps are also a great place to demonstrate the Accent’s handling prowess, keeping power on tap in second gear for full-throttle acceleration once the ramp straightens out.

But once on the highway, the Accent begins to show some more serious flaws. Cruising at 80 mph had us wondering why earplugs didn’t come as standard equipment with this car. At nearly 4000 rpm, the four-cylinder engine roars while you’re casually keeping up with traffic. A sixth gear that put revs much closer to 3000 rpm would be a welcome change, even if that meant a downshift to fifth would be needed for highway passing. In fact, the noise was so invasive, this car may be one of the few we actually wish would actually pack on some weight. Fifty pounds of strategically placed insulation could probably go a long way toward making the Accent a better highway commuter.

Rough road surfaces occasionally take control of the Accent’s short wheelbase and sport-tuned suspension. Cracks rattled the car and our heads nodded like Bobble Head dolls as the car bounced over grooved roads. For the most part, the highway ride was an acceptable compromise for what was gained in low-speed handling. Further damaging highway credibility, the Accent fails to offer cruise control, even as an option.


The Accent certainly isn’t the car for anyone looking to make a style statement. We’d also be wary of owning an Accent if our daily commute involved lengthy highway driving. But if you can look past the design and like to strike fear into the hearts of jaywalkers by bombing around blind turns, the Accent might just fit your unfashionable, driving-enthusiast lifestyle.

We like the Hyundai Accent’s mechanicals, equipment list, and price, and in these categories, the car is very competitive against its peers. In driving dynamics, the car is a leader, offering great body control through turns and power that can be played with. We just wish it was a bit more suave on the highway and had even a touch of style. The Accent may retain its starting position on the field, but it definitely won’t be homecoming king.

By Eric Tingwall