Hyundai Accent

If value for money is your priority, then a Hyundai will always be near the top of your shortlist. With a five-year warranty as standard and a range which improves every year, there are plenty of new car customers. But what about second-hand?

If value for money is your priority, then a Hyundai will always be near the top of your shortlist. With a five-year warranty as standard and a range which improves every year, there are plenty of new car customers. But what about second-hand?
One of the oldest models in the line-up is the Accent, which sits rather awkwardly between the supermini and small family hatchback markets. It's not likely to be the object of a car enthusiast's dreams, but the Accent is practical and cheap. The fact that it isn't especially sought after is what makes this Hyundai a good used buy.
Checklist
* Engine: watch for overheating, as cooling fans can pack up. Leave the car idling for 10 minutes after it has warmed. The fault is with a relay shared with the cabin blower.
* Bodywork: flimsy panels are easy to dent, while the door rubbing strips are held by brittle clips that will snap off easily. New protectors are £40, with the painting cost on top.
* Gearbox: the transmission can fail after less than 30,000 miles, as it did on our 2001 long-termer. Check first and reverse gears, and that downchanges are crunch-free.
* Clutch: models built in 2000 and early 2001 were recalled because of a faulty clutch. Be sure the work has been done, and see that the pedal doesn't bite too sharply - the action should be smooth.
* Electrics: look out for gremlins, as we've heard of the windows, wipers or heater controls packing up on some cars. Also, test the equipment thoroughly before buying.
Driving Impressions
Apart from the warmed-up MVi, none of the Accents was designed to be exciting to drive, so don't expect sparkling handling. There's no shortage of body roll, and if you corner too fast, the car won't have huge reserves of grip.
While the ride quality is reasonable, the steering isn't up to that of class leaders and gives little feedback. But the driving position is comfortable, and equipment is usually quite generous. Interior plastics feel cheap, though.
Glass's View
The Accent offers good value and is certainly reliable, but lacks the necessary image to attract younger drivers. It tends to be very popular with people looking for peace of mind, because brand new models come with a five-year warranty. This makes used examples more appealing, but few buyers seem aware of this advantage. It's difficult to sell outside the main dealer network, so you can get great value on the few that appear in the classifieds or at non-Hyundai specialists. Jeff Paterson, Snr Cars Editor, Glass's Guide
Life With An Accent
The best way to describe my car would be 'acceptable to good'. While it isn't exciting, it's pretty fine on the whole. R Redhead, Llysfaen, Colwyn Bay, Conwy
My Accent is little more than a tool to take me from A to B. It gets me round cheaply and reliably. J MacRae, Lochs, Isle of Lewis, Scotland
Excellent! No problems and few complaints. Harold Jones, Doncaster, S Yorks

Verdict

Bigger than its supermini predecessor, but still fairly priced, Hyundai's Accent has come a long way and has all the ingredients to become a big hit with cost-conscious buyers. If you can live with the disappointing looks and restricted passenger area, it's certainly worth considering. However, with the likes of Skoda's new Fabia and Chrysler's revised Neon entering the budget car market, the Accent's task is likely to become tougher than ever.

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