By KBB.com Editors
Introduced in 1994, Korean-maker Hyundai's Accent led U.S. entry-level car sales from 2000-2005, mostly due to its value for the money and Hyundai's aggressive warrantydespite a reputation for somewhat questionable quality. Now that high fuel prices have this segment heating up, Hyundai's third-generation Accent will have tough new competition for 2007Korean partner Kia's Rio, Honda's Fit, Nissan's Versa, Toyota's Yaris and Chevrolet's (also Korean-built) upgraded Aveobut it still should be up to the task.You'll Like This Car If...
If an ultra-practical and affordable subcompact is your next vehicle purchase, you'll appreciate the Accent's value for the cost, including its safety features, long warranty and unusual availability of accessories. If your driving aspirations are bigger than your budget, you should also appreciate the SE three-door's sporty look and rare-in-class cornering capability.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you want something a bit more expressive, especially in a four-door sedan, or prefer a Japanese or domestic brand, you should take a good look at the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa and the surprisingly competitive new Chevy Aveo.What's New for 2007
Hyundai's new Accent separates itself from most of the competition in several significant ways beyond its warranty and much-improved quality, including slightly stronger standard power output, more standard safety equipment and 35 (dealer- or port-installed) accessories. The three-door models also boast the best interior volume of their class, even more than Honda's size-larger three-door Civic.Driving It Driving Impressions
Hyundai's 1.6-liter four-cylinder led its entry-level class at 110 horsepower until Nissan's 122-horsepower Versa arrived, but it's hardly a strong performer. Driving through the optional four-speed automatic in our test GLS sedan, it managed zero-to-60 mph acceleration in a bit over 13 seconds. By today's standards, that's on the slow side. The SE three-door with manual five-speed transmission can do it in about 11 seconds. Also, like most small engines in inexpensive cars, it's a bit noisy and thrashy at high rpm. Otherwise, our GLS rode and drove fairly well and scooted through turns with surprising response. Despite its eight manual adjustments, the driver's seat did not provide a really comfortable position for us, and its rearward adjustment was insufficient for our longish legs. The cloth-lined trunk is relatively roomy, and the rear-seat pass-through is handy, but rear roominess is just par for the class.Favorite Features
We were pleasantly surprised with the steering and handling of our Premium Sport Package-equipped test GLS on its available 15-inch tires and alloy wheels, and the sports-oriented SE three-door does even better on its 16-inch rolling stock.
An extra-long warranty is one thing quality-challenged automakers can offer to improve buyer confidence. It's expensive if problems continue but provides a strong incentive to improve product quality as quickly as possible. Hyundai has done both in recent years, with its five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and 10-year/ 100,000-mile powertrain warranties, along with impressive quality improvements.
The Accent's interior materials, fits and gaps are consistent with its price: Generally inexpensive but with attractive textures and two-tone trim. Among the least-appealing items is the central swing-open bin that's shaped like an ashtray but isn't. The actual ashtray is an odd removable cup that sits atop the console. There are handy bins, trays and cupholders between the seats and in the front doors (but no covered bin or locking glove box), a lighter and a second 12-volt outlet on the instrument panel's vertical stack, storage bins in each rear door and pockets on the backs of both front seats. The radio is an easy-to-use unit with large knobs for volume and tuning, while the three-dial HVAC controls are attractive and have a quality feelexcept for a too-stiff temperature dial.Exterior
While the SE three-door is sporty and expressive, we think the Accent sedan is pretty plain vanilla. Its design is clean, functional and fairly aerodynamic, but hardly exciting. The best part is probably up front, with large wide-eyed headlamps, a full-width lower air intake and distinctive grillesa body-color bar across the three-door models, a black-out pattern on the four-door. One nice touch is a body-color protective molding along each side to fend off shopping carts and help prevent door dings.Notable Standard Equipment
The Accent comes in three flavors for 2007: Base GS three-door, sporty SE three-door and the GLS four-door. The modest GS standard equipment list includes power steering, tilt steering column, eight-way manually adjustable driver's seat, 60/40-split rear seat (which reclines or folds flat), cabin air filtration, variable intermittent wipers and a rear spoiler. The SE adds air conditioning, power windows and locks and power heated outside mirrors, illuminated vanity mirrors, remote keyless entry with alarm and panic alert (but no decklid release), leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, fog lamps, sport suspension, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and P205/45VR16 tires on 16-inch alloy wheels. The GLS sedan has base GS equipment plus air conditioning and a 172-watt six-speaker audio with CD, but needs an optional Premium Package to get ABS brakes and the power items. All models boast extensive standard safety equipment, including seat-mounted side airbags and roof-mounted side-curtain airbags, in addition to advanced front airbags.Notable Optional Equipment
Optional on the SE are a power sunroof and a 220-watt premium audio system with cassette and six-disc in-dash CD player. A Premium Package for the GLS includes ABS, power windows, locks and mirrors and remote keyless entry, while an available Premium-Sport Package adds all that plus 195/55VR15 tires on 15-inch alloy wheels. A four-speed automatic transmission is available on all three models, and there's a long list of (mostly sports-oriented) port- and dealer-installed accessories.Under the Hood
Hyundai's 1.6-liter four has twin overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and CVVT (continuously Variable Valve Timing) on the intake side. It generates 110 horsepower and provides a very respectable 28/37 EPA miles per gallon when teamed with the optional automatic in the GLS sedan.
1.6-liter in-line 4
110 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
106 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 32/35 (manual), 28/37 (automatic)
The base 2007 Accent GS starts at a low Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $10,995, and the 2007 GLS sedan is $14,145 with automatic transmission, including destination. We project the 2007 sedan will sell at slightly under $14,000, versus roughly $13,000 for the comparable Toyota Yaris and $16,000 for the Honda Fit. Be sure to check Fair Purchase Prices for what buyers are actually paying in your area. The 2006 GLS sedan, first of the third-generation Accents to be introduced, has a five-year projected residual value of just 25 percent, while the 2007 GS and SE three-door hatchbacks are projected at 29 and 30 percent, respectively. By contrast, the Honda Fit should hold 43 to 44 percent of its new-car value after five years, and the Toyota Yaris 40 to 41 percent, depending on the model. However, we believe Accent residuals will improve over time as Hyundai's image and quality reputations continue to climb