Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hyundai Accent test drive


Cars like the Hyundai Accent are very important.
They are, for many people, their first new car. The big hope that, finally, their car trouble days are over.
For many, it will be the first time they make a car payment over a few years.
In other words, a first big financial commitment.

A few weeks ago I had a chance to drive some of the Accent competition: the Chevy Aveo sedan.
And I was surprised how nice it was to drive.

The Accent is everything I liked about the Aveo, and more...




First, I think the exterior is very well designed. It looks modern enough. Clean and very well put together.
If you prefer hatchback, Kia will sell you almost the same car under the Rio name. As a sedan or a hatch.



Once you get inside, the door feels really solid and sturdy when you close it. It might not be much, but it gives you a good feeling about the car's quality, right away.
Inside it also looks very clean, elegant and again, well put together.
Although, upon further examination, you find there is no soft touch plastic in sight. But again, we are in a car that starts at around $12 000.
At least it all looks good and sturdy.



The cloth covering the seats is the "depressing type" . A bit rough to the touch. It would be nice to have something smoother and softer. And a little bit "happier" to look at....

Once you start, like all small engines, it isn't that quiet or smooth. But that changes very quickly.
And as soon as the car is warmed up, the motor sounds and feels great. Very smooth and almsot always quiet. Unless you really push it. Which is a waste if time anyway.
The car is better driven quietly. But the small 1.6 Liter and its 110 horses are up to most everything you need.
And the 4 speed auto is extra smooth.
I have been driving a few cars with "only" 4 gears lately, and I am always surprised how I never really miss the 5th or even 6th gear in daily driving...




The steering has just a little bit of that weird "nintendo game" feeling to it. But it is very smooth and accurate. Much better than the more expensive Jetta. And, unlike the VW, it doesn't require constant attention on the freeway.
Talking about freeway, the Accent is very smooth and quiet at speed above 80mph.
Just a little bit of wind noise creeps in at above 75. But again, much less than in the Jetta.

Just like the Aveo, I was surprised how smooth and solid the ride is. The car feels like a tank over bad bumps, and the ride is similar to much larger cars.

What I would change:
-The cloth interior with something smoother and nicer looking.
-The headrest are a bit too far back.
-The seats are just a bit too firm, but they do have great low back support.

But I really like everything else.
It is not that cheap. My car (without any power accessories) was around $14 300. But you can find them for about $2000 less.
If I were buying one, I would definitley spend the extra $700 or so for the Package #3 which includes power windows and locks as well as alloy wheels.

Is this better than a good used car?
A hard question. The main advantage is the warranty. 5 years on the whole thing and 10 years on the power train.
A new car does buy you piece of mind (at least it should).

And, I did get about 36mpg in mixed driving over a few days.
Not that far behind what people atually get from a hybrid...

If you are in the market for a small car, you must give the Accent (and its Rio cousin) serious consideration.
And it has a much better safety record than the Aveo, which did extremely bad in european crash tests.

It is a well made, comfortable, quiet, thrifly and nice looking small car. It will give you that good feeling you get when you just spent your money on something that is worth what they're asking for.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

thats a weird license plate number..uufb300

Anonymous said...

The new Accent would be a good starter car. I personally prefer the looks of the Rio... it looks very smart and avoids the whole cheap-stigma. It's also a HUGE leap over its predecessor in every respect, which makes it that little bit more desirable.

The Accent's a little less sporty but it does have a nicer, Hyundai-style interior.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for an objective review.

Hyundai put alot of care and thought into this car because they knew how competative the sub-compact segment would become. Hyundai has been making entry level compacts for a long time, so expect them to know what works for the price conscious consumer.

Anonymous said...

thats a weird license plate number..uufb300

Why is that weird? Not bitching. Just wondering.

Vince, thanks for your review of this Hyundai. I can't speak for everyone who views your site, but I'd dare to guess that we'd enjoy reading more of the same.

Peace.

Anonymous said...

All non vanity plate license plates in California are 1 number, 3 letters, 3 numers in that order. The first "U" is very odd indeed.

Anonymous said...

I think the Toyota Yaris sedan is gonna kill the Accent! Both cars have pretty much the same price and size, I wonder who in their right mind will prefer a Hyundai over a Toyota???

Anonymous said...

i agree, the Yaris is tight! this car sucks, and yuck, crank windows, really???

sdcarnut said...

All non vanity plate license plates in California are 1 number, 3 letters, 3 numbers
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
wrong ! all pickup trucks are 1 number 1 letter then the remainder are numbers !!!

Anonymous said...

The Yaris comes with crank windows also! And its alot more expensive!

Anonymous said...

Hey!!!
In Canada we have the 3 doors hatchback and WHAT A RIDE!!!
I love this car...even in red!

Anonymous said...

Yaris? Accent? The Honda Fit/Jazz will kill 'em both.

adidas crosscountry said...

I still have yet to see a three year old Hyundai that doesn't look and sound like it's been in battle. Some of the new Hyundais appear to be better styled and assembled than a few years ago. But if you want a piece of mind, there are much more proven brands for similar money. Let's get real, Hyundai isn't even in the same ballpark as a Toyota, Honda, or even some domestic vehicles yet... Despite the hype Hyundai has managed to create.

Anonymous said...

Back up your opinion with some data when you assert that Hyundai isn't in the same ballpark as domestic manufacturers. I'd sooner suggest the contrary: Hyundai is quite better than GM for a start.

adidas crosscountry said...

My opinion is formed from my own repeated experiences with Hyundai and I’m not going to make the same mistake again. I've been shocked at the amount of love that many publications have shown towards the brand when Hyundai has proven to be a risky purchase for consumers. With all the news about Hyundai execs exchanging bribes, it makes you wonder how widespread the corruption is. Not that I'm saying that's the case.

But if you want some indication of how wonderful Hyundai is, please don't just take my word for it. Take a look at their JD Power 2005 dependability rankings. They are way below average. Below every GM brand except SAAB. Actually, Hyundai is below every other domestic nameplate except for Dodge and Jeep. Kia, of the same family tree, happens to rank dead last.

Anonymous said...

Adidas

That may apply to older generations of Hyundai. But you cannot apply that to Hyundai's new generation. The only reason you do so is because your biased. It is this generation that is generating the hype with quality, value, and reliability. I guarentee if you check JD powers survey in few years down the road Hyundai's scores will dramaticaly improve.

Btw, I own a 2002 Hyundai with 80 000 kms and I have had not one single problem. And the car purrs like a kitten. Furthermore, if your going to cite your own "experience" than please give some examples. It just sounds like your talking from bias rather than speaking from experience.

Anonymous said...

Dosen't the killer warranty Hyundai has give you peace of mind?

adidas crosscountry said...

"That may apply to older generations of Hyundai. But you cannot apply that to Hyundai's new generation. The only reason you do so is because your biased. It is this generation that is generating the hype with quality, value, and reliability. I guarentee if you check JD powers survey in few years down the road Hyundai's scores will dramaticaly improve.

Btw, I own a 2002 Hyundai with 80 000 kms and I have had not one single problem. And the car purrs like a kitten. Furthermore, if your going to cite your own "experience" than please give some examples. It just sounds like your talking from bias rather than speaking from experience."

What??? Okay Anonymous, if you are able to cite your anecdotal experiences, I can also. Your claiming I’m biased is completely baseless. I didn't elaborate on my experience with Hyundai because their quantifiable reputation provides reinforcement better than any single experience can. Once their vehicles have proven to last significantly longer than they do now, their reputation will change. Till then, enjoy your Hyundai. Sounds like you’ve lucked-out so far.

Anonymous said...

"I still have yet to see a three year old Hyundai that doesn't look and sound like it's been in battle."

Are you saying this is not an obvious exhaggeration? I've SEEN TONS OF 3 year Hyundais that run well. I'm sure there is over a million of them in the US alone. Take a drive around the block, I guarentee you'll run by several Accents, Elantras, Sonatas, and Santa Fes. Hyundai is the 4 biggest importer in the US. Why do you think Hyundai has one of the Highest loyalty rates in the auto industry? I'm sure these owners have had their cars for 3+ years when they traded them up for ANOTHER Hyundai. I find it hard to believe your claim that you haven't seen one. lol

If you're gonna claim you're not biased, then please don't make comments that OOZE bias through exhaggerations.

Anonymous said...

Moreover. Hyundai/Kia has almost 75 percent of Korea's auto market share. They make over 3.2 million cars a year. (More than Honda and Nissan/Renault). They have millions of owners Worldwide. Do you really believe that they would be able to achieve this with unreliable cars? Give me a break. If Hyundai's cars were as bad as you claim they are, then Korea's economy would be in shambles due to transportation problems. (Hyundai also produces ALOT of commercial vehicles such as Trucks, Cranes, Hydraulic arms and Ships) I'm sure the 75% of vehicles in South Korea are reliable seeing how important reliable transportation is to a country's economy.

adidas crosscountry said...

Whatever. Just what do you mean by "bias?" I don't think my cute (and true) little comment indicates bias other than my frustration with Hyundais. Your verbose comments still don't refute what most data indicates... and that there are many better options if you want to own a vehicle long-term. Sorry, but the truth hurts.

Anonymous said...

bi·ased, or bi·assed bi·as·ing, or bi·as·sing bi·as·es or bi·as·ses

"To influence in a particular, typically unfair direction; prejudice."

That comment is not true, and "unfair".

You don't have the grounds to make those types of statements. But you do anyways because you're BIASED.

Anonymous said...

I don't need to prove the data wrong because your premise is wrong to begin with.

The "data", which is your only point, dosen't even APPLY to this NEW re-designed Accent, which was my original point.

Just because long-term reliability of OLDER cars had below-average quality dosen't mean the NEW generation will. Why do you think most Hyundai reviews start with "This car is leaps and bounds over the previous Generations", including this review done by Vince on the Accent.

Lets wait a few years before making inaccurate claims like you're doing now, ok?

Jac said...

Brand Bashing
It's easy to pick Hyundai apart. After all they introduced us to the ratty, crappy Excel. Then later on more forgettable models.

I did take a chance on the Excel when Hyundai first entered the U.S. market. I owned it for 4 years and it was a good though not remarkable car.

Fast forward to the present and I have watched the brand evolve to become more refined, quality focused and mainstream. I don't currently own a Hyundai but I believe there are reasons why I may want to include the brand on my new car shopping list.

Firstly, warranty aside they have made great strides in improved quality, reliability and functionality.

The fit and finish is very consistent across all lines with the Japanese imports. Additionally, The value and safety equation is a major plus. I have compared and test driven the latest Accord, Camry and Sonata. The ride and quality of the Sonata is equal to the former two. You could not say this about any Hyundai product two or three years ago. It means that this brand has come a long way.

Hyundai plans on becoming a significant brand which is the reason they have injected major investments in the U.S. market by building a billion dollar modern mega facility in Montgomery, Alabama. They are now at the point of completing the re-design of all their current models and are in the process of introducing new ones as well.

Hyundai is a brand that is becoming a serious contender and is not a 'hyped' brand and quite frankly I have never known the media to be friendly or apologetic towards them. But what I do know is that brand bashing is very popular and convenient particularly when bashing a particular brand is popular and acceptable.

Anonymous said...

thats bullshit, when i test drove a accent, it was noisy as hell.

Anonymous said...

"thats bullshit, when i test drove a accent, it was noisy as hell."

Thanks. That really added value to this thread. Sure.

Dave

Anonymous said...

click this

Vince Burlapp said...

Depends how you drive it, I guess if you floor it all the time, most 4 cylinder cars are going to be "noisy".
But driven normally, my Accent was very quiet.
And I have no reason to lie. They don't pay me anything
(I whish they did...)

Anonymous said...

what do you call driving "normally"

not using the accelerator at all?

the hyundai accent is noisy as hell, as are all other 1.6 liter cars (yaris, aveo)

Anonymous said...

what do you call driving "normally"

not using the accelerator at all?


Your comment shows ignorance and smell s like a troll.

Dave

adidas crosscountry said...

Well this has deteriorated. I guess that those of us who choose not to believe that Hyundai has made a complete 180 degree turnaround in two years, then we’re biased, ignorant, trolls or prejudiced. Come on now... If you don't want to listen to the vast number of people who have had negative experiences with Hyundais, then fine. But if you also choose to completely disregard the dependability surveys that suggest that they aren't well made, then there is no convincing you. Irrational Hyundai shills can treat Hyundai like their firstborn, but the reality is that Hyundai has a lot of work to do to even become average. Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

it's embarrassing affair to read your website, vince. it's like the jerry springer of car blogs, cheap, uninspirational, and weighed down by these losers who know nuts about cars and still want to use this as an avenue to thrash it out. for goodness sake, just disable the bloody comments. they are hardly useful to you, i'm sure, so just stick to the writing and ignore these douchebag jones or daves or adidas crap.

Anonymous said...

"it's embarrassing affair to read your website..."

It's very fair to say that if you took the time to post something about Vince's Accent test drive comments rather than make personal attacks that the very issue you raised about the so-called "quality" of the website would be a non-starter but you can't seem to get past your own "issues" so you're resigned to leave your bastard remarks about individual posters.

Dave

Anonymous said...

HAHAHA omg dave you are SUCH a loser. please, post more stuff! we all need to laugh once in a while.

dave lover

Anonymous said...

It is sometimes entertaining to see the commentary degenerate into grumpy matches of hyperbole, but I wish Vince would exercise a little editing now and again. Ask questions, express opinions, correct errors, recount experiences and add information. We all love cars, right?

Anonymous said...

I like the steering wheel, hey speaking of steering, Toyota is recalling the YARIS for steering malfunction,YIKES....Hey at least the steering works in Korean cars

Anonymous said...

i still cant get over the crank windows!!!!

Anonymous said...

A coworker has a Santa Fe, and the door handle inserts aren't quite the same color as the body. I notice this nearly every time I see that vehicle in the parking lot. It makes the thing look cheap. And the space alien face from Planet Suburu doesn't do much for me, either.