Mostly out of necessity, those in line to buy a new subcompact car will be most interested in the price tag, gas mileage and size of a potential future purchase. The fact that the Hyundai Accent has typically been a lackluster seller is not representative of its value and reliability, but of the car’s styling and lack of performance. But realistically, how much do those elements matter in this segment?
Even after design updates in 2006 and 2007, the Accent is has been largely unsuccessful in altering its previous image as an ugly and unreliable vehicle. Truth is, the Accent is neither of those things any longer, though it is admittedly not a particularly attractive vehicle. Reliability concerns should evaporate once buyers consider both the price tag and the lengthy warranty that accompanies it. Hyundai provides one of the longest warranties for the class, new vehicle coverage for five years or 60,000 miles, a 10 year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, a seven-year rust warranty, five years of 24-hour roadside assistance and a one year replacement parts and accessories warranty.
Inside, the interior is downright cheap but reasonably roomy, especially in front, and controls are laid out logically in front of the driver. For 2008, the Accent comes in three trims, the GS and SE, which are three-door hatchbacks, and the GLS, a four-door sedan. The Accent has become a more solid and better handling car over the years, but it is clearly underwhelming as a highway driver with only 110 horsepower. In city driving, however, it might be described as peppy. The Hyundai’s slow acceleration and bargain basement styling are downsides, but most budget car buyers wouldn’t and shouldn’t expect much more for the price. In the end, the fact that you can get into any new car for less than 10-grand is remarkable, and with fuel efficiency at nearly 35 mpg on the highway, savings in driving the Accent will pile up even further at the pump. In comparison to the Honda Fit or perhaps the Toyota Yaris, the Accent may not quite stack up as well. But each of those vehicles cost thousands more, and for those in the market for a new subcompact, both the Honda and Toyota do not necessarily pull away from the Accent in terms of value.