2004 Hyundai Accent LS 1.6
You get what you pay for, but you could do worse than an Accent
Not long after I took delivery of the car it developed an annoying clunk from what sounded like the gearbox whenever the clutch was released. I had many arguments with the dealer but apparently they couldn't find anything. It was still there when I sold it.
Then the windscreen washers and horn stopped working intermittently. It took two trips back to the dealer before they admitted there was a problem and fixed it, but not before a new horn assembly arrived from Korea.
One of the tail lights and number plate lights started to work intermittently as well, which from experience I know is a common Hyundai problem; apparently the wiring is stretched taught so they don't need as much. The dealers solution was to replace the globe however, which seemed to work.
The paint quality (mine was black) was also pretty poor; within only a few months it had swirl marks and light scratches all over it just from general washing. Be very careful when washing your Hyundai, I've never bought so much polish in my life...
The old saying you get what you pay for rings true with the Accent, but it had some suprises as well. The ride quality for a small cheap car is excellent, and it feels suprisingly solid. I took mine on quite a few rough and unsealed roads and there were no rattles or squeaks. Even puts a few larger cars to shame.
Performance for a little 1.6 isn't all that bad. The engine is pretty tractable from about 2000 rpm and pulls all the way to around 4500 rpm before getting rough and noisy, at this point you can feel the vibration through the accelerator pedal. I expected it to rev to 6500 (redline) but it refused to go past 6000. But in all honesty most Accent buyers probably couldn't care less about that.
The factory audio was pretty loud for a factory unit but also pretty muffled - I replaced it with some Sony gear, much better. The acoustics in these little cars are apparently very good for aftermarket audio.
Clutch and gearbox action are very light, but the gearbox doesn't like being shifted too quickly.
A/C performance was just adequate in the hot summer sun, granted the car was black but it did have dark window tint. I test drove a white one without window tint and its AC was not noticebly better.
The power steering would momentarily stop working if you turned the wheel too quickly at parking speeds, (I almost side-swiped the car next to me when it first happened!) I'm thinking this is a design flaw to do with the size of the power steering pump rather than a fault with my car. At road speeds though it is nicely weighted and contributes to the little cars "mini not tinny" feel.
Brakes are adequate but the pedal too soft for my liking, also with no ABS emergency stops on wet tarmac were interesting; less grip than I expected on a light car.
Handling is also just adequate, with more body roll than a Toyota Avalon which weighs over 400kgs more. But on loose surfaces you can easily achieve and control power off over-steer which can be quite entertaining.
All in all, the Accent is a solid little budget car that does nothing particularly well, but nothing particularly badly either. Considering the warranty and standard features it's still pretty good value, for the price you could probably do worse.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 9th April, 2008