Car Test   R0303
 
January 2003
First Drive Hyundai Accent
Printer Friendly Page Featured model: Revised 5door
The arrival of the Getz supermini has induced Hyundai to re-align the market positioning and scope of its Accent range. Gone are the three-door and lower-spec versions – it’s GSi and CDX only, in four or five-door guise from now on.
  
   In fact, the ‘carry-over’ GSi five-door emerges as the best value in the new line-up, and you can have it with the latest 16-valve, 1.6 litre engine now, as well. So, £9200 (£300 less than the previous 1.5/88bhp CDX) gives you 104bhp and a very respectable list of standard equipment, including ABS, a split/fold back seat and even alloy wheels. The only significant omission is a sunroof or air conditioning – neither is available as an option.
  
   The CDX adds a significant £1800 to the price, but this has air-con plus foglamps, electric door mirrors, all painted mirrors/door handles, side airbags to augment the front pair and even lower profile tyres.
  
   So much for the new prices and spec, but how do the cars drive? This latest 1.3 seemed smoother and quieter than the version we tested two years ago, but both can cruise along at 30 or 70mph in top without fuss. Obviously, press-on types will appreciate the rortier, bigger engine’s responsive acceleration, but somehow, the Accent isn’t the sort of car you want to exploit – the 1.3 cruises very nicely.
  
   Bump reaction is a shade more abrupt on the latest lower-profile tyres, the steering lacks pin-sharp precision and the gearchange is still rather clunky, changing down.
  
   The driving position is satisfactory, but lumbar and cushion height/tilt adjusters on the CDX could be an important asset for some drivers; both models have precise stalks, clear dials and an ideally placed left footrest, however.
  
   Rear leg and kneeroom are limited compared with most lower-medium family cars, but the load space is generous enough and nicely trimmed.
  
   Is the Accent a good value alternative alongside rivals like the Xsara, Focus, Astra and Corolla? Hyundai’s main problem nowadays is that the size of the cheque that many buyers sign is significantly less than the list price. This has effectively eroded the price advantage of the Hyundai, bought from a main dealer, where discounts are a lot smaller.
  
   On the other hand, Hyundai has built a reputation for superior reliability compared with some European brands and because of this it’s now leading the field in offering a full five-year warranty – an industry first.
  
AT A GLANCE
  considering size, price and rivals
Controls/displays
Handling/steering
Comfort
Space/practicality
LIKES ...
  • GSi facia has variable wipe, tachometer, cup holders
  • self-retracting radio aerial less vunerable now
  • excellent underbonnet accessibility
  • nicely protected door and boot sills
  • mudflaps on CDX
and GRIPES
  • steel spare wheel (unlike Getz)
  • fiddly, miniscule radio controls
  • no anti-scuff strips on painted bumpers
  • rear wash/wipe control on dash - not stalk
  • GSi central locking triggered on driver's door only
VERDICT
The Accent has become the ideal family car for the conservative. It is, quite frankly, mediocre, both in terms of accommodation behind and driver appeal up front. Yet if your last car was a Ford Escort or an old-shape Astra or Corolla, you’ll find absolutely nothing to complain about. And it certainly won’t cost you much to run.


THE ACCENT RANGE
size and type lower-medium (budget-priced) 4-door saloon and 5-door hatchback   trim levels GSi, CDX
engines petrol: 4 cylinder/1.3 litre/84bhp, 4/1.6/104
diesel: 3/1.5/82
  drive 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive; 4-speed stepped automatic optional with 1.6
notable features ABS, twin airbags, four electric windows, split/fold back seats, alloy wheels on all versions; 5-year (unlimited mileage) warranty - subject to dealer servicing


SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
  in centimetres (5door hatchback)
  outside
  length 422#
  width - including mirrors 189
    - excluding mirrors 168
  height 140
  load sill height (inside/outside) 19/67
  steering
  turns lock-to-lock 2.9
  turning circle (metres) 10.3
   
  easy to park/garage?
  inside
  front - legroom 85-105
    - headroom 97§
  rear - typical legroom 95
    - typical kneeroom 70
    - headroom 89§
    - hiproom 123-129
  load area(all seats in use)
  load space
(litres/cu ft)
430/15.2
  load length 68-84~
  load width 97-129
  load height (to shelf/top of aperture) 49/79
§ no sunroof  # saloon 426cm  ~ rear seat folded
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