1997 Hyundai Accent LSi 1.3 from UK and Ireland
Could have been a good car, but fatally flawed
Radiator sprung a leak, Hyundai wanted £250+VAT for a replacement due to built in oil cooler for gearbox.
Tappets rattled badly when cold.
Automatic gearbox could sometimes be reluctant to engage its lowest ratio.
Horrendous fuel consumption.
Bouncy ride and unpredictable handling.
Rocker cover leaked slightly and fumes entered the car.
Electric fan cut in early, and had a very bad vibration.
Washer pumps blocked with sediment.
I bought my Accent to use as a back up to my trusty Renault Extra, mostly for using at weekends when it would be a bit inelegant to turn up in a van, I like automatics and I rather optimistically thought there would be only a small penalty to pay in fuel consumption, oh how wrong I was!
The car itself isn't too bad, in the context of being a mass produced Mitsubishi clone, from the front, it's positively handsome, from the rear, less so, but all in all it looks the part, the paint shone up well after 10 years of use, and there was just the first signs of bubbling on the rear arches.
Inside the car the budget nature is more apparent, acres of grey plastic everywhere, but it was comfortable, and the heater was by far the best I have ever seen, although it was very on or off n it's operation, either roasting hot or freezing cold. The seats were comfortable enough, no complaints there and everything worked as it should.
Driving the car was less impressive, when you started the engine you got the tappets rattling until they filled up with oil, rather like an old CVH Ford, there was always one though that never entirely quietened down, maybe an engine flush would have helped, but I never felt the urge to do it.
The auto box worked just fine, at first, it always seemed a bit reluctant to find second when it was stone cold, it was hard to check the fluid level due to the route of the dipstick smearing it with oil, I had it checked and it was fine, although towards the end, it would try to use second from standstill, only to drop to first at 2-3 mph then work normally. There was a mode switch marked ECON or NORM, this did very little, if anything and a thumb switch for disengaging the overdrive fourth ratio.
The rocker cover leaked a wee bit of oil onto the manifold, cured easily enough, maybe someone had been investigating the tappets.
The PAS was far too light, great at slow speeds, but rather unnerving at speed, in fact the handling was very wallowy, just enough to take the confidence out of the car. and it was hard on tyres too, for such an underpowered car.
The cooling fan cut in at around 1/3 of the temperature gauge's movement and it was like a hammer drill shaking the car, I thought that the rad was partially blocked, but after fitting a new one, it did the same, so maybe it was a faulty sensor, or maybe they all do it!
The radiator itself decided to fall to pieces, unfortunately for me, it has an oil cooler for the transmission, Hyundai were looking £300 for a new one, our local radiator specialist sourced one, in Denmark of all places, for less than a third of that. The washer pumps clogged up with silt, no inherent fault with the car, and easily cleaned, but annoying at the time.
Acceleration was pretty mediocre, even taking into account the small engine and auto box, work the engine hard and it was very harsh, maximum speed was some 88mph according to the GPS, it would cruise at 70, but would drop in and out of fourth if you hit an incline, 60 was so much more civillized.
Lastly is the main reason I sold the car, the fuel consumption, it was DIABOLICAL! I actually had the car checked on an emissions tester and it was running fine, but God almighty, it was nearly as bad as my employer's 3 litre Avantime, considering that it was slower than an 750cc Panda I could see no reason to hand onto the car, I've since found out that all auto Hyundais are hard on fuel, whether driving in town or at a steady 50 on the motorway, the consumption never bettered 30mpg, usually it hovered around the mid 20's, far too heavy for a car of this size.
Hope this is of help.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 6th November, 2007