Hyundai Accent Hatchback review (2006-2009)
When you compare the Accent to the leap Hyundai made with the Santa Fe SUV, it's a bit of a disappointment
The Accent only offers a single engine, but the 1.4-litre petrol unit is impressive, pulling well at any speed. It gets coarse above 4,000rpm, but the sweet-shifting five-speed manual transmission means changing up early is no hardship. Throw the Accent at a corner and you'll find the steering is direct, if a little lifeless, and the hatch resists understeer impressively. The damping could be more finely tuned, as large bumps unsettle the car, and the ride can become floaty at times.
The Accent is aiming to make a splash with buyers on a budget. The keenly-priced machine is charged bringing the brand back into the reckoning in the competitive family car market, and is promising to pull out all the stops to make it happen. However, the journey is unlikely to be easy. Although the new design and low price tag are appealing, the car is only available as a three-door, and has a limited engine choice. Trim selection is also poor, with the only major option being that of an automatic gearbox. Really, it competes with sister car, the Kia Rio, along with other larger superminis such as the Honda Jazz, Fiat Grande Punto and Vauxhall Corsa.
Open the door and it's clear that there has been a concerted effort to improve quality. The dashboard is well laid out and there's plenty of seat adjustment, so getting comfortable is not a problem. Access to the rear is acceptable, thanks to front chairs that tilt forward. But there are still problems. Some of the plastics are shiny and hard, and the parcel shelf doesn't lift up with the hatch. And as for running costs, the insurance rating is a bit high and retained values aren't great. Still, economy is good.