One of the best highway economy cruisers you can get!
Nothing has gone wrong with this car yet, although we have only owned it for a short period of time. So far we have put on 10,000 km and have had nothing wrong as of yet. I have high hopes for this car as I have had friends own the same vehicle, and they have not experienced any real problems. I hope I have the same luck.
Me and my father purchased this car as a run-around vehicle as gas prices have been rather crazy lately. I own a 2002 Ford Explorer and even though it is fairly good on gas for an SUV, I wanted something a little cheaper for everyday driving. My job has me driving great distances sometimes, and I figured it would save me quite a bit of money purchasing a small vehicle.
My father owns a 2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac, and even though he doesn't travel too far as he is retired, he too wanted something cheaper to drive around in. So we both decided to split on a vehicle we can share. So far it has worked out rather well.
The vehicle is small and very roomy. The trunk is a good size and it fits everything I need perfectly. I find it is very comfortable to drive in for extended periods of time and passengers seem equally happy. It is no luxury car by any means, but the seats are made of nice fabric and seem to support my large rump rather well. I especially like the ability to adjust the seat height as this is not usually available on a vehicle so reasonably priced. Also, the tilt steering comes in very handy when your belly sometimes gets in the way while exiting and entering.
I must say I am very impressed by the quality of the interior. It looks as though it belongs in a more expensive car and the fit and finish is great. I don't hear any rattles from loose plastic parts and odd fitting materials like I would expect from an economy car. It seems very solid.
There is a very large glove box and a real handy compartment just left of the drivers steering wheel under the air vent. It's great to keep change in for my constant need to go through a Tim Hortons drive through to get my hourly coffee fix. Speaking of coffee, there is two push button coffee holders placed in just the right place above the stick shift. There is even one for the back seat passenger. Unfortunately if there are two passengers in the back, they will have to fight over who is going to use it, but at least there is the option.
I couldn't believe how touchy the gas pedal is on this car. At first when I took it for a test drive, every time I would take off from a stop I would chirp the tires. I say chirp, because that is all this car will do when pressed with the automatic transmission, but it is very quick for what it is. I couldn't believe the power that is available from this 1.6 litre engine. I drove a Toyota Yaris and its engine was almost the same size, and it didn't have the get up and go the Accent has. From a stop it is very quick, and even when traveling at any speed, when you press the gas she goes. It isn't a race car by any means, but for a 1.6 litre engine it has balls. The only time I noticed a lack of power is when you are traveling 80 km and hour and then step on it to pass. The engine makes a lot of noise, but doesn't seem to go anywhere. I find it better the lay the gas pedal down to half and she will pick up much better. This is a very impressive engine.
The handling isn't the greatest, but fine for an economy car. She kind of feels like a go-kart at times and she likes to lean when taking a sharp turn. I had to make a quick lane change once to avoid a close call and she did it, but didn't like it. The steering on the other hand is great and I find you can't feel every bump in the wheel like you could with my old Omni. I would say the steering is better than average for a car in this price range, but the handling shows what what this car really is - an econobox. She rides well and dampens the bumps fairly well. It isn't the smoothest ride, but she is above average for a car in this price range.
Gas mileage is great. With a mix of city and highway driving I averaged about 7 litres per every 100 km. My Explorer gets around 13, so it is saving me almost half. They say these cars are not as good on gas as they should be, but I can see why as they are much more powerful than other engines that are the same size. The horsepower rating is pretty much the same as the Toyota Yaris, but it must be geared up much better as there is a big difference. Probably this gearing is what makes the gas mileage not up to par, but I am not going to complain. 7 litres per 100 km is great in my books, especially when I can get from A to B with a little more ompff.
On the highway traveling at 100 km/hour the RPM is around 2500. This is a very good cruising speed and the gas pedal is only about half way to the floor. I had the car up to 160 km/hour and I still had a ways to go. I slowed down due to traffic and safety reasons, but she held her own very well. I would have to say this is a great highway vehicle. Probably one of the best highway gas savers you can get.
My conclusion is that we are extremely happy with our purchase. Only time will tell how reliable she is, but for a commuter car I don't think we could have gotten anything better for the price. I recommend them to anyone looking for a cheap used vehicle that is great on gas.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 13th June, 2008