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 fluctuating high fuel prices have this segment heating up, Hyundai's third-generation Accent will have tough new competition for 2009 – 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 2009 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, astonishingly responsive handling and cornering capability.
For 2009, cruise control is added to the Popular Equipment Package, and the SE Premium Package now includes a power sunroof. Those with an eye on pump prices and their wallet will be happy to know that fuel economy estimates are up over those for last year's model.
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, locks and mirrors, 172-watt six-speaker audio system with CD player and XM Satellite Radio, 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, but needs an optional equipment packages to get ABS brakes, auxiliary input jack, 172-watt CD player 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, cruise control and ground effects kit. A Popular Equipment Package for the GLS includes ABS, a 172-watt six-speaker CD audio system, auxiliary input jack and tilt steering wheel, while an available Premium Package adds all that plus 15-inch alloy wheels, power windows, locks and mirrors, remote keyless entry and cruise control. 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 – and wallet-friendly – 26/35 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: 27/33 (manual), 26/35 (automatic)
By Tobie on Tuesday, April 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "enjoyable driving, good on gas mileage, price!"
Cons: "no cruise control"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've owned Ford, Chrysler, GM products over the past 45 years. I own two of these 2006 Accents,and by far, both vehicles have been the most reliable I've ever owned! I also own a 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan only because Hyundai no longer makes a van. The only drawback with the 2006 Accents is the lack of cruise control for those longer trips."
By Vasi on Wednesday, April 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Small and economical"
Cons: "No keyless entry, no power window."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"This car is economical in fuel, however it does not have power lock and power window, which is a major draw back for 2010 model.very fragile body, but not costly to repair."
By snowlover 72 on Monday, April 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great car overall"
Cons: "Highway MPG is below average"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This car has well exceeded expectations of a car in this price range. It is a good looking car, reliable, and rides well for a car its size."
By Kate on Thursday, April 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "easy to drive"
Cons: "Not fit for anyone with children, speed pickup"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"When I first bought this car back in 2010 I absolutely loved it. It was perfect for what I needed however getting a little older and having a baby I specifically have to buy a new car because my son and husband don't fit in the car together. The interior is too cramped that I wasn't able to put his infant car seat in the middle so it had to ride on the passenger side. Now that he's in a convertible car seat the passenger side of my vehicle is useless. The seat is all the way forward in order to accommodate the car seat and my husband can't ride in my vehicle. If your looking for a car for your teenager this would be it otherwise I would stay clear"
By Shfrogs911 on Thursday, March 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, great beginner car, reliable"
Cons: "hard to get to the antenna"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have owned this car for over 5 years. I have kept up with the maintenance and everything is fine so far! Only downfall- the car wasn't offered with cruise control so I had to have it put in after market. I also didn't want to pay for car mats so I bought them after."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Mac on Saturday, March 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, great value, comfortable seats"
Cons: "One less arm rest than desired."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I absolutely love this car. I chose the light blueberry color and it shines in the sun. It's an unmistakable car and it has been my most reliable car. It's fun to drive, easy to handle, extremely reliable. I've never loved a car more than this. At 80k miles, the only work I have had done to the car are normal wear and tear like brakes and new tires. I'm really surprised at how well this car stood up."