I had to replace a clutch cylinder (under warranty).
Spark plug cables failed at 12,000 miles.
Tire jack bent (replaced under warranty).
The fuel gauge is a bit off despite bringing it to the dealer twice.
The backup switch on the transaxle failed.
Main problem is very bad paint durability (coming off the spoiler and mirrors, peeling at some other places), and very thin (easy to dent) sheet metal.
The main problem was the dealer (Jay Marks Hyundai of Houston). First of all, the dealer did not want to present any documentation showing that the dealership had done the factory-specified inspection upon the vehicle's delivery; as a result I had to bring the car back the next day due to non working fog lights and a couple of other glitches.
The car was specified to have H-rated tires, but came with T-rated tires; I tried to ask the dealer to change them, the dealer refused and dealt with me in a particularly rude manner. I contacted the Hyundai of America, and they refunded me a purchase of H-rated tires.
I also resented having to pay for a sunroof and $300 for the 40W radio that, while officially being optional, came with every other Accent GT.
Very nice car and much more reliable than my previous Mazda 323 (contrary to the convention).
It is reasonably fast and has a good pull at low rpms.
What sold me though, was its flat cornering and braking, as well as precise steering; there was no other vehicle at that price range in 1997 that could match the Accent GT (however, this would be different for other Accents since their suspension/steering is different).
The "cheap-looking plastic" is, I feel, a good feature as it's much more durable than alternatives. The seats are very comfortable and I like the fabric design.
I love the hatchback, a feature that is hard to come by in the US. The sunroof however is virtually useless as it is too far back.
The radio is OK if you don't demand it to play your music loud, but it's still not worth its cost.
The gearshift throws are extremely long and slow down acceleration quite a bit.
A/C is noisy but quite good.
The car is almost rattle-free even after 80,000 miles (except for a little bit from the hatch area). The highway ride is noisy and choppy due to the car's light weight and short wheelbase, but tolerable around town.
The car has a surprisingly low fuel economy for its size.