Just an update from my original review: almost five years on, and still have my Accent. Now 83k on the clock. Have changed the driver's side window regulator again, radiator (manifold heat shield came adrift and punctured a hole in it) and had a new steering rack. Bit more rust now. Windscreen washer pump's just gone (replacement: £6.50).
But... still starts first time every time, even at -16 last winter. Still on the original battery and centre section of the exhaust. Left everything else bar 4WDs stranded in the snow. Brilliantly rugged and actually a hoot to drive. Roll on the next five years!
Picked mine up for £300 with about 60k on the clock.
As a first car, it cost me £3100 to insure (still cheaper than my friend's 1.4 Ford Fiesta, and I was only 17).
The electric window on the passenger side and the exhaust box are the only things that have gone wrong. Changed the battery once and two tires. Absolutely love the car.
I definitely agree with you on the reverse gear, it's a total pain, but once you have jiggled the gear lever around a bit, it's fine.
Love the noise it makes when you hit 4000 RPM, but below that it's very quiet and very smooth to drive.
The gear lever, you do have to move pretty far to get it into the gear compared to newer cars, but the pedals are well spaced out, unlike the Peugeot 206's pedals.
Not the stiffest of suspension, so the chassis does move a bit when cornering hard.
Boot space is tremendous, better than near enough all the hatchbacks I've seen. Love the pop up aerial as well.
Hope this helps.
Two and a half years on.
Dented bonnet now replaced with a £30 second hand item in excellent condition and the correct colour.
Got a second hand set of MVi alloys with almost new tyres for £150 - much better grip in the wet.
Passenger side window regulator went a week ago (Ha! That's five replacements on both sides... definitely weak spot; the new part was £20 from Poland).
Still starts first time, every time. And still on the original battery...