2004 HYUNDAI ACCENT 3-DOOR
Used Car - 2004 Hyundai Accent 3-door in Auburn, Wa
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2004 Hyundai Accent ReviewThis car review is specific to this model, not the actual vehicle for sale.
Exceptional value in a fun-to-drive compact.
The Hyundai Accent offers exceptional value. It's a new car at a used-car price. And to eliminates worries about maintenance costs, Hyundai backs it with an aggressive warranty.
The Accent is roomy and comfortable, and surprisingly refined for such an inexpensive car. Its twin-cam 1.6-liter engine is gutsy, and zippy performance makes these cars fun to drive. The Accent offers surprisingly sophisticated ride and handling. The GT ratchets up the latter with a sports suspension and other goodies.
Hyundai Accent is available in three-door hatchback and four-door sedan body styles. Accents come in three trim levels, but all are powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with double overhead cams and four valves per cylinder rated 103 horsepower.
The base Accent ($9,999) is indeed basic, offering air conditioning as an option ($750). But the base Accent does comes standard with an AM/FM/cassette stereo, center console, vanity mirror, tilt steering, intermittent wipers and a 60/40 split folding rear seat. It only comes as a three-door hatchback and only with a five-speed manual transmission.
Accent GL hatchback ($10,899) and GL sedan ($11,299) add air conditioning, tinted glass, a tachometer, a digital quartz clock, and upgrades to the seats, console, and carpet. They come standard with a five-speed manual gearbox. A four-speed automatic transmission ($800) is optional.
The GT ($11,399) comes with all the GL upgrades, plus a firmer suspension, fog lamps, body-color sill moldings, a rear spoiler, white-faced gauges, its own unique cloth upholstery and leather wrappers for the steering wheel and shift knob. Wheels are upgraded from 13-inch steel to 14-inch aluminum, and tires from 175/70R13 to 185/60HR14. It is available only as a hatchback. Automatic transmission is optional ($800).
A Popular Equipment Package ($500) adds an upgraded stereo with CD player, plus power mirrors, locks, and front windows, to GL or GT.
The overall form of the Hyundai Accent is a low-slung wedge topped by a steeply raked windshield and a tall wrap of window glass. There's a fast slope to the front hood and a brief back deck. The three-door model is shaped more like a sedan than a traditional hatchback. Hyundai calls it a hatchback coupe.
The Hyundai Accent benefited from a major facelift for 2003. The new engine hood flows more smoothly into a new front bumper and fascia. New oblong light clusters that blend back around the new fenders flank a new grid-like grille. The new look is at once softer, yet more alert. It puts more expression in the Accent's face, and a cute quality we find appealing. Around back, Hyundai replaced the rear quarter panels, deck lid, tail lights, and bumper for 2003. Again, the overall look is softer, while the taller tail lights suggest action. This new look continues unchanged for 2004.
Hyundai Accent was designed to maximize interior room. Its tall windows, generously sized bucket seats and multi-level console all contribute to an overall impression of spaciousness. Front passengers do not feel squeezed into a tiny cubbyhole as they do in some subcompact cars.
Those form-fitting front bucket seats feel substantial and supportive. Packed with high-density foam, they feature swoopy indentations and firm side bolsters. The driver's seat is comfortable, and adjusts to fit even a tall frame. High off the floor, it provides excellent visibility through those tall windows all around.
The front seats in GL and GT models move in multiple ways to conform for leg length, seat height, lumbar curve, seatback tilt and headrest position. Also, the driver's seat (on GL GT editions) provides a right-side armrest that folds up and out of the way when not wanted. Three-point seatbelts adjust for height. The curvaceous front door panels include an integrated armrest and a generous map pocket low near the floor.
The instrument panel orients the driver with large gauges set immediately forward of the steering wheel. These consist of a speedometer and tachometer with flanking dials indicating fuel level and engine temperature. (The base model omits the tachometer.) On base and GL models, white markings and red pointers over a dark gray field ensure an attractive appearance and easy readability. Accent GT gets fashionable white-faced gauges.
The surfaces of the doors and dash, coated in soft-touch synthetic material, feel refined, even sophisticated, which is unexpected for the class. The GT gets leather coverings for the steering wheel and shift knob.
All controls are close at hand, logical, and easy to operate. Large and easy-to-use rotary knobs for the audio and climate systems are stacked at the middle of the dash. The glove box is an ice-chest-size bin that drops down from below the passenger-side airbag, looking as though it could swallow a couple of six-packs of soda.
The back bench provides three-point belts and bucket-style spaces for outboard riders, plus a two-point belt on the center hump. The seatback splits 60/40 and folds to increase the capacity of the flat-floored trunk.
Hyundai Accent accelerates briskly, rides smoothly, and is surprisingly quiet. Its twin-cam, 16-valve, 1.6-liter inline-4 produces 103 horsepower at 5800 rpm, and 106 pounds-feet of torque at just 3000 rpm. That's a good amount of low-speed torque for a four-cylinder, and it translates into fast launches into traffic, where the Accent easily keeps pace.
We found the Accent relatively quiet inside. The stiff structure of the body, plenty of sound-deadening insulation, and double door seals all work to block out noise from the motor and surrounding traffic.
Of course, the whole package weighs only about 2300 pounds, which explains in part why the Accent feels zippy. Cars are getting heavier and heavier these days, but apparently Hyundai didn't get the memo. That's a good thing, as weight is bad for acceleration, stopping distances, handling, and fuel economy. The Accent's favorable power-to-weight ratio combines with slippery aerodynamics and well-selected gear ratios to make the most of the engine's torque.
Accent handles mountain switchbacks with a poise and agility unexpected from such a low-rung economy car. Even the base model is actually fun to drive. Most fun is the sporty GT.
Accent's relatively long wheelbase and all-independent suspension provide a smooth-riding platform. Yet the Accent responds quickly to the driver's demands. Steering geometry is optimized with a high caster angle, to reduce front-end lift when accelerating, or nose-dive during braking. Anti-roll (stabilizer) bars front and rear reduce body lean when cornering. To isolate noise and vibration, all of the front end's mechanical parts are attached via a sub-frame. That kind of sophisticated engineering is rarely found in this price-conscious class, and it helps temper road noise.
Hyundai Accent does not behave like the bottom-dollar economy car that its low price tag implies. It's much better than that, with sophisticated mechanical equipment and comfortable amenities.
Hyundai protects Accent buyers with one of the best warranties in the business. A 60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper protection plan shields the owner against a variety of problems, while the powertrain is warranted for 100,000 miles. The plan even includes five years of roadside assistance with lockout and emergency towing service. That's piece of mind.
Hyundai Accent is an impressive value with brisk performance, nimble handling, and a smooth and quiet ride.
Accent hatchback ($9999); GL hatchback ($10,899); GL sedan ($11,299); GT hatchback ($11,399).
Asan, South Korea.
Options As Tested
Popular Equipment Group ($500) includes 6-speaker CD stereo, power windows, power mirrors, power door locks.
Hyundai Accent GL hatchback ($10,899).
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