By KBB.com Editors
Introduced in 1994, the Hyundai Accent led U.S. entry-level car sales from 2000-2005, mostly due to its value for the money and an aggressive warranty. Now that high fuel prices have this segment heating up, Hyundai's third-generation Accent will have tough new competition for 2008---Korean partner Kia's Rio, Honda's Fit, Nissan's Versa, Toyota's Yaris and Chevrolet's upgraded Aveo---but it still should continue to be up to the task.
If an ultra-practical and affordable subcompact is your next vehicle purchase, you'll appreciate the 2008 Hyundai Accent's value, which includes numerous safety features, a 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 surprisingly responsive handling and cornering capability.
All models gain a three-month free subscription to XM Satellite Radio, a tire-pressure monitor system and an auxiliary audio input jack (late availability). SE models with the manual transmission receive a sporty B&M Racing short-throw sport shifter.
Driving Impressions Hyundai's 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine generates 110 horsepower, but it's hardly a strong performer. Driving 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 the 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.
We were pleasantly surprised with the steering and handling of our Premium 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 tire-and-wheel package.
An extra-long warranty is one thing an automaker can offer to improve buyer confidence and Hyundai's is one of the best, with five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage that's matched with impressive quality improvements.
The Accent's interior materials 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. 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 feel---except 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 grilles---a 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.
The modest GS standard-equipment list includes power steering, tilt steering column, eight-way manually-adjustable driver's seat, 60/40-split rear seat, cabin air filtration, tachometer, variable intermittent wipers and a rear spoiler. The SE adds air conditioning, power windows and locks, power mirrors, 172-watt six-speaker audio with CD, remote keyless entry with alarm and panic alert, fog lights, sport suspension, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and 16-inch alloy wheels. The GLS sedan has base GS equipment plus air conditioning and the 172-watt six-speaker audio with CD, but needs an optional Popular Equipment 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.
Optional on the SE are a power sunroof and ground effects kit. A Popular Equipment Package for the GLS includes ABS, power windows, locks and mirrors and remote keyless entry, while an available Premium Package adds all that plus 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.
Hyundai's 1.6-liter four has dual 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 24/33 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: 27/32 (manual), 24/33 (automatic)
By Paul on Thursday, February 26, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 169,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "economical, easy to drive"
Cons: "lacks power needed for going up mountain roads"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This car has treated me well and I believe it will continue to do so well beyond 200k. Only issues I had were I had to replace the ignition coils at about 120k and a check engine light that comes on only after car has been parked on a steep incline overnight, after a few miles it shuts off and then the car runs fine. The dealer checked it out and it turned out to be some strange blank code. I've been very much on top of all maintenance, perform at the hyundia dealership."
By Nicole on Tuesday, January 27, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Compact, trunk space, tons of cup holders, price"
Cons: "Smallish interior, difficult to fit some carseats"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"We have had this car for a little over 5 years now. It has been very reliable and I still consider it my "new, reliable" car. Its quick and zippy to drive and has a decent amount of interior space and trunk space considering how small the car is overall. We did not hesitate to drive this car on road trips until we had children and their rear-facing car seats started taking up too much room from the front seats. A large stroller can fit in the trunk, and this car can fit in pretty much the smallest of parking spaces. My 6'1 husband drives the car regularly now, and though it isn't the absolute best fit for his size, he can still comfortably drive it every day. There is almost an excessive amount of cup holders, somewhere between 6 and 8 (for a max 5 passenger vehicle). We have had no major repairs on our vehicle in the past 5 years, with roughly 65000 miles on it. (We bought it brand new)."
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By jen on Sunday, December 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "price, mileage, decent sized trunk for small car"
Cons: "needs repair often, noisy, doesn't drive smooth"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"Nothing but problems since day 1 - litterally, as I drove it home after buying it, it started misfiring. Took it back, and turned out to need 2 coil packs replaced, which took them 2 days to figure out, as it wasn't registering on the computer that this was what was happening, so no code. About 8 months later the spark plugs and another coil went. Then the battery about 3 months later (it supposedly had a new batt when I bought it). From what I've read online, this car is known for coil pack & sparkplug/wire problems, to the point a number of people have learned how to change coils their-selves and carry parts with them. I bought this car to replace my aging Corolla, which was needing the trans worked on soon and having other little problems, and felt it was time to move on to something newer and needing less work. I had read that the Accent was rated one of the most reliable cars which is exactly what I was looking for, but my experience has been anything but. I know coil packs aren't the worst thing ever, but having to worry about this every 6-8 months is not why I bought this car. Plan to get rid of it in the next few months and hopefully get something better. Maybe I got spoiled by my Corolla, hardly needed anything done til the last 2 years I had it (was 18 yrs old when I traded it in, 250+K miles on it). If you don't mind needing to take it in for work every few months, then its an ok basic car I guess."
7 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By Bugguy on Monday, November 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Cons: "No rear window wiper, hard to see out of in rain."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"At the time this was my second Hyundai I purchased. Never owned a foreign made car before. Not real quiet, not real fast, not real roomy etc....But what it is, Very inexpensive to buy and operate. Just regular maintenance tires, oil change, belts, timing belt and actually kind of fun to drive. Very dependable. Have since purchased a Sonata and another Accent."
16 people out of 29 found this review helpful
By JL on Tuesday, November 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Inexpensive to buy and drive"
Cons: "Not a lot of room or extras"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Bought used to have have a car for my daughters, daughters are gone car still going strong. This is nothing fancy but for day to day work and back it's really efficient. Also I drove it for 1200 miles to move to SC and got over 40 MPG, no discomfort, no issues. The continues to run well with no major problems."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Fatunclejorge on Monday, November 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 89,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good price, spacious interior"
Cons: "Poorly made materials"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"For the price, you really can't complain about Hyundai's in general. Much like everything else, though, you get what you pay for. The price is low so you shouldn't go into buying one of these cars thinking you're not going to have to replace it in less than 10 years. Working on the car itself I've noticed that some of the parts are cheaply made. The good news is that they're not horribly expensive to replace. At just south of 90,000 miles I've had to replace the front right and rear left calipers. Both can be got for less than $100 through online auto warehouses, but to have to do two 6 months apart from one another was disenfranchising to say the least. The car itself is fairly simple to work on; nothing is horribly concealed or covered and getting to where you need to be is pretty straightforward and simple. Staying on top of routine maintenance is easy enough. The front and back seats are plenty spacious, however it seems that they've capitalized on back seat space by reducing trunk size. If you tend to carry a full trunk, you won't be able to fit too much in there. Your backseat passengers, however, will be comfortable and have plenty of leg room. At just south of 90,000 miles, the car is now starting to have persistent and numerous engine problems so it will likely be replaced sooner rather than later. If you want to play the trade in game for a while and get a new car every few years, I'd recommend the Accent because with low mileage it's a good price and will retain it's value if you take care of it. It gets to a point where it starts to have too many mechanical problems to keep up with, and that's when owning it no longer feels justifiable."
8 people out of 12 found this review helpful