By on September 11, 2014

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Renting a subcompact car is usually a good way to get a free upgrade to a “Toyota Corolla or Similar”, but in this case, it was the last car left on the lot. I had no other choice.

On the way home from a trip to Indianapolis (where my ear drums were variously stimulated and assaulted by the Tudor Sports Car entrants, especially the new Camaro Z/28R), I was stuck in a regional airport nearly 125 miles from home. I had to be back the next day, and a quick evaluation of my options panned out like this

  1. I could stay overnight in a hotel, catch a cab to and from the airport and fly home on a puddle-jumper the next day. Estimated cost: $175.
  2. Take the train. Estimated cost: $110 and 3 hours of my time.
  3. Rent a car, one way. Write about it for TTAC. Estimated cost: $160 and just under 2 hours of my time, assuming weather and traffic are favorable (as it turned out, they weren’t).

Option 3 was the easy choice.

With the mass cancellation of numerous flights, everyone rushed the rental desk, and all that was left was a lonely Accent GL 5-door. Once upon a time, you could get a three-door Accent GL in Canada for under $10,000 – of course, it offered no A/C, a 5-speed manual transmission and all the refined NVH characteristics of a minecart.

What a difference a generation makes. The latest Accent has transformed itself from a nasty penalty box into a subcompact that can be recommended on merit, as well as price.

Unlike a number of too-tall competitors, the Accent has proper 5-door hatchback proportions, similar to its big brother, the Elantra GT. For a subcompact car, it feels as if it’s an entire size class larger. The rear cargo area easily swallowed my large suitcase and backpack, while the rest of the cabin feels airy and spacious.

Feature content was similarly generous. In addition to the usual suite of power operated accessories, the Accent had Bluetooth, USB ports abound, an easy to operate media system (I was able to navigate it on the first try while driving – no easy feat in any modern car) and heated seats (which I didn’t use, but are a godsend in colder climates).

With a 138 horsepower 1.6L engine, the Accent won’t win be setting the ET board alight at your local drag strip, but the engine is far gutsier than the Fiesta’s wheezy base 1.6L engine or the similarly sized mill in the Nissan Micra (the Accent’s chief competition in Canada). Hyundai’s 6-speed automatic isn’t the most refined, but it keeps the revs down on the highway – an all important characteristic in a world where em pee gees and muffled NVH are high on buyer’s list of wants. Unlike some of its competitors, the Accent gets disc brakes all-around, and even on this rental example, they felt strong without being overly grabby.

On the few highway ramps available, I was similarly impressed with the car’s driving dynamics. The steering gives ample feedback and avoids the “tie-rods through a Cool Whip container” feel that many have come to expect from Korean cars. The chassis feels fairly planted, but the worn all-season tires didn’t let me push the car terribly hard. Not that it matters, since few pensioners or first time drivers are going to be pushing this thing to the 11/10th on their local road course. The whole driving experience reminded me of a Honda Civic from the double wishbone era, albeit with the rough edges filed off – hardly a black mark against a car that is intended to be affordable, basic transportation.

By the time I was starting to get a feel for the Accent, my journey with it was over. I ended up using $10 in gas (roughly 3 gallons) to drive 125 miles, and at no time did I ever feel as if I was burdened with some unsafe, miserable leftover rental car. At this point, the Accent is one of the older cars in its class, but in no way does it feel outdated or behind the curve. In Canada, it’s possible to pick them up far below this example’s $17,522 MSRP – small wonder it’s the #1 selling subcompact in this country.

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101 Comments on “Rental Review: 2014 Hyundai Accent...”


  • avatar
    DeeDub

    2 gallons of gas went 125 miles? Are you sure about that?

    • 0 avatar
      CaptainObvious

      And…
      1.5 hours to go 125 miles and get 60 something MPG?

      • 0 avatar

        2 gallons was a misprint. Torrential downpour ended up slowing down my journey a bit leading to lower speeds and likely better mpg. On a good day, 90 minutes is reasonable to do that drive.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Here in the America, even on a wide open highway it takes 90 minutes to go 100 miles. You had to be doing 80+!

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          Hey Derek, you know I don’t like to nitpick, but this is a bit confusing. In your open you state you are 200 miles (321 kms) from home. This would be like me driving to Edmonton, and the BEST time I could make that and not risk points on my licence is 2.5 hours. You then state you traveled 125 miles (200kms). You would have needed to average 135 kph to make that in 90 minutes.

          Would you mind clarifying?

          Thanks

          • 0 avatar

            Hey Dave.

            I had to drive from London to Toronto (200km). On a good day – no traffic, good weather, speeding a bit – I can make it in roughly 90 minutes. I got caught in a major downpour on a Sunday night, so I wasn’t driving very fast and it took me longer than that. I apologize for not writing clearly.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            No problem, thanks for clarifying! So it originally should have read 200 kms as opposed to 200 miles. That makes A LOT more sense.

            Now, how can we convince our neighbors to the South to accept the metric system?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Dave-

            The metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets forty rods to the hogshead and that’s the way I likes it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            What advantages does this motor car have over, say, a train — which I could also afford?

          • 0 avatar
            Toad

            “What advantages does this motor car have over, say, a train — which I could also afford?”

            A train costs millions of dollars, weighs many tons per car, and requires tracks so it is not very good personal transportation. Plus your neighbors will complain about your having a locomotive in your driveway.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            COTD, Toad.

          • 0 avatar
            zach

            @28, Homer Simpson!

          • 0 avatar
            Scott_314

            Hey DavefromCalgary,

            Having moved from Alberta to Ontario, I can tell you with all honesty that despite our lower speed limits of 100km/h on freeways, traffic is much faster in Ontario. Under fast conditions on the 401 (which is actually quite busy but not too busy), left lane normal is usually 130-135, middle lane is 110-120, and right lane is 105-110. Those of us that go 125 tend to lane-hop between the mid and left.

            In Alberta, Edmonton in particular, I’m astounded at how slow people are forced to drive by the absurdly over-aggressive photo-radar systems that are now apparently set at 6km/h over, and frequently placed just down stream of speed reductions. That crap really needs to be voted out.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    138HP isn’t bad at all for a cheap little sub-compact, and the standard equipment list looks not-horrible. Seems like an acceptable vehicle if you feel you MUST buy a new car and don’t have a lot of money. (Which is more than you can say for a lot of the cars in this segment, many of which scream “penalty box”.)

    • 0 avatar
      TorontoSkeptic

      Exactly, I’m guessing 138 hp is probably class-leading. And more than plenty of compacts including the Sentra, Corolla and my aging Pontiac Vibe.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Indeed, I would wager this car moves itself forward rather smartly. My 2950# Alero felt adequately powered (never felt unsafe merging or passing) with 140hp/150tq mated to a 5 speed stick. Though the power peaks of this DI 1.6 mill are much higher on the tach, and it makes due with 30 less tq, the Accent weighs in at just 2480#.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    “For a subcompact car, it feels as if it’s an entire size class larger.”

    Yeah, me no likey. The previous MC hatchback was only sold as a 3-door, but Canada did get a 5-door hatchback LC (3 or 4 doors only in the US).

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I recently returned a rented Cadillac ATS after a 5 day period.

      It was an unmitigated POS with a mere 6,500 miles on its odometer, especially given its price point (ridiculous), and I have no faith in either its long-term reliability (cruise control already had broken) or durability (motor literally sounded as if it needed to be rebuilt and the car already shook violently upon depressing its very cheaply finished start/stop button).

      To add salt to the wound, 5 days worth of luggage for two people had to be shoehorned into the trunk AND part of the backseat.

      I can honestly say I’d much rather have had this Accent over that same 5 day period.

      The Accent’s gauge cluster looks superior, it has more cargo room, it looks to be better finished, and I bet nothing had already broken like with the new ATS I had.

      Kill Cadillac with fire.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        If that’s true, the MY13s examples should be ghetto fabulous in two or three years tops. I’ve shown the massive hit the I4 variant of these things is taking in the first year, now I’m starting to see why. Which motor was it DW, 2.5, 2.0T, or the V6?

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          It was the 2.5 liter, which is the same ‘Ecotec’ motor in the Equinox and other various GM offerings (which is completely idiotic to even offer in ANY Cadillac, whether base model or otherwise).

          (I mistakenly reported it was the 2.0T in my first post-haste, anger-driven road report several days ago).

          Without lifting the hood, an easy way to differentiate between the two is whether there is one or two tailpipes out back.

          Even with a better motor, the car would have sucked. The motor was only 10% of the problem with the vehicle, the others being the awful transmission, incredibly tight trunk and rear seat, shoddy build quality (the exterior is made of poorly/flimsily fabricated materials), broken things like the cruise control, tremendous road noise over concrete highways, cheap feeling interior materials, CUE (terrible), poor fuel economy (I averaged just over 20mpg with a 4 banger NOT flogging it), etc.

          It’s just a sh!tty car.

          GM started by investing a ton of money in getting a competent chassis and good steering system in there (its two good qualities), and then phoned in the rest.

          So stupid and so…GM.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Sounds about right for a GM fail. I love how an NA I4 gets the nearly same city mileage as my 3800 (FWD vs RWD notwithstanding)

            The reason I asked about the motor is in traditional GM speak motor indicates a trim package and I assumed it was the rental grade 2.5. Maybe the higher trims are not as inadequate?

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        GM got the cruise control wrong? That was always something they got so very right. Even my Oldsmobile Achieva has a better cruise control system than the MKV Jetta that replaced it.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Their new cruise control in the ATS (and I imagine other new GM products) is operated via two “virtual” buttons (no indent or detent, just lighted) mounted on the steering wheel.

          The main cruise control system would turn on and off via a toggle controller (as indicated by half white dial indicator on dash cluster that would light), but the virtual buttons to set or alter speed via the cruise control would not engage the system – period.

          I verified this was broken via the owner’s manual, by calling OnStar, and via the rental agency upon car return.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The cars with the least reliable cruise that I’ve ever seen – are Audis.

            I always wondered if it would respond when asked or simply do nothing. This was across all three I owned, manufactured in three different decades.

            Vacuum lines.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Terrible. I like touch screen things, but sometimes a button or switch is better. Even Ford has actual buttons for the cruise control, and they tried to take ALL of the buttons and knobs away.

            Corey-

            Anything that was electrical on the 5000 was bound to not work at some point. This sums up my conversations with my 1986 Audi 5000 CS Turbo Quattro about electrical items:

            Power Sunroof? nope
            Power Windows? hell no
            Power Antenea? you must be joking
            Distributor cap? I feel like eating rotors
            Alternator? better put me on a lift and have 47 special tools
            Wiring Harness? go f&ck yourself

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            This is why I refuse button-less crap in new cars.

            Just Keep it Simple, car people. Screw the virtual buttons/knobs for basic operations.

            Buttons and knobs work more reliably and are easier and more intuitive to use to engage things like HVAC, cruise, stereo, etc. settings.

            Less to go wrong.

            p.s. – CUE SUCKS.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Ford finally figured it out after everyone lost their $hit over the Edge and Explorer. On any Ford that comes out now, anything MFT does on the touch screen is redundant. You can either use buttons (HVAC/Radio), or voice commands (phone/Nav). They must have really pissed off F150 focus group people with the no button ideas.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Your 5000 was more fancier than mine!

            My power antenna always worked except when it froze out, at which point I couldn’t turn on the radio lest I strip the little gears on the motor.

            Climate control? Jiggle it!
            Power locks? Rear-left might work.
            Brake calipers? Only if it ain’t cold.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Oh I missed it we were talking about the Audi 5000/100 again.

      • 0 avatar
        koshchei

        o.O Yikes. Tell us more.

  • avatar

    And low, I get an ad for an Accent starting at $10,974 while browsing from Quebec, land of the uber-base car.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Hyundai Canada has been advertising 2014 Accent L’s for $10,995 for at least a month. No air and a 6 speed stick. 4 wheel discs, ABS, electronic stability control, traction control air curtains, active head rests all standard. Hatchback format and how many other 4 door hatches are still available in North America? So a decent reliable, safe and practical car for a student or as a second grocery getter. Plus Hyundai’s corporate financing, makes it less expensive on a monthly basis than a ‘good’ used car.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        It also makes a great winter beater. 10 grand is roughly how much you lose in resale on a Porsche the moment it sees salt. You are way ahead getting one of these and re-selling it for $6,000 in five years.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          People with enough money to purchase a Porsche don’t need to punish themselves with a Hyundai all winter long.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            You would be surprised. I know quite a few people who drive expensive summer cars (not just Porsches, of course) and new but cheap winter beaters.

            A cheap light manual car is a blast in the winter with good tires, and the total cost of ownership is trivial. Depreciation over 5 years is almost on par with the cost of a set of good rims and snow tires on a sports car.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Agreed heavyhandle, see that all the time around these parts.

          • 0 avatar

            Yeah I know a guy with a 2009 911 Turbo summer car and a base altima for a winter DD but he dosen’t drive much spends most of his time in Asia for work.

    • 0 avatar
      TorontoSkeptic

      I’ve got the same ad in Ontario, although to be fair it’s for the sedan version which is probably less desirable.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Hyundai fanboys (no offense; every marque has fanboys) make a huge deal out of the fact that certain Hyundais are assembled in Ulsan, while others are assembled in North America (the Elantra coupe and GT are assembled in Ulsan, while the sedan is assembled in the U.S., for instance).

        Some dealers even emphasize the Ulsan assembly of certain Hyundai models in their advertisements.

        It reminds me of the JDM crowd that is only willing to buy/locate Japanese assembled vehicles vs their Ohio/Kentucky/Smyrna/Indiana/Mexican assembled peers.

        • 0 avatar
          TorontoSkeptic

          Interesting, I’ve never heard of that distinction. I meant that the hatchback seems to be the preferred form factor for subcompacts. When I think of all the models that are sold as both hatch and sedan (Rio, Versa, Fiesta, Yaris, etc) I think the mix has got to be 85%+ hatchback.

          I have yet to meet a Hyundai fanboy, do they talk about their cars being “KDM”?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            We can ask bd2 or signal11.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            I’m not a H/K fanboy, but I do think K3/K5/K7 are better names than Forte/Optima/Cadenza.

            Also, as far as the native/transplant crowd goes: German Golfs vs. Mexican Jettas. Though that’s not going to be an issue anymore, going forward.

  • avatar
    Sloomis

    Had one of these as a long term rental when one of our cars got smashed last spring. I was favorably impressed. Looked decent, interior had a nice solid quality feel and it was more fun to drive than the Camry it temporarily replaced – it reminded me a bit of our old Saturn SL2. Drivetrain was a letdown – it came across rather unrefined with a transmission that didn’t always seem to find the right gear for the situation. Mpg was decent but not spectacular, averaged 28 commuting. For the right price I’d buy one.

  • avatar
    DevilsRotary86

    On my first business trip in 2010 they gave me a Hyundai Accent 4 door, and I have to say it wasn’t bad. Had a USB port for my mp3 player, was lightweight and tossable, and the engine was peppy enough for its weight.

    Then the next year I went on a business trip again. I rented sub compact, they gave me a Hyundai Sonata instead. I wish they had given me the Accent. It was just awful. I really can’t understand the hype for that car. It was just numb to drive. It wasn’t like I was driving so much as guiding a computer to where I want to go.

    The following year in 2012 I went on yet one more business trip. They gave me a Nissan Altima and that was a new low. So rental companies: if I order a subcompact, just give me the damn Accent already.

    • 0 avatar
      CaptainObvious

      I got a rental Altima on a trip to Texas earlier this year. Boring car.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Two years ago my parents and aunt and uncle went on a week-long trip to Vermont. Their rental form said “Nissan Altima or similar.” They got a Grand Marquis.

        Which I guess is similar, in that it’s got four wheels, an engine, a steering wheel, and an enclosed passenger cabin.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          They won the rental car lottery. Usually when I get “Nissan Altima or similar” I end up with an Altima that needs to be put out of its misery or a Dodge Avenger with the I4. Last time I got upgraded to a baby poop green Ford Taurus Limited.

          • 0 avatar
            DevilsRotary86

            When I went to my grandfather’s funeral I got a Dodge Avenger R/T with the 3.5L Magnum. Still an awful car but at least it was quick. Not that I noticed while parked on some Chicago freeway getting out of Midway.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Not from my father’s viewpoint, nor my uncle’s. They’re both used to driving tall, upright vehicles–trucks, pickups, SUVs, minivans, CUVs. The last “long, low and lean” car Dad drove regularly was his T-Bird (as it turns out, the car you wanted in high school is generally not the car to have ten years later, so you end up selling it to your brother-in-law), and the last one for my uncle was, I think, the Celica he drove around before he started as a contractor.

            So it’s no suprise that the first stop they made, my uncle ended up hitting the wall because the nose was (in his words) “obscenely huge”. A Panther is also generally not the car to ride in back of if you’ve got chronic back problems, like my aunt, or if you want to be able to sit in any position besides “lounge”.

        • 0 avatar

          Gotta love those rental-car companies. I generally get what I ask for (a Cruze), but once I asked for a Cruze and got upgraded to a G37 because they botched my reservation. That was a fun weekend.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            That’s a good upgrade.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I call it “Rental Car Roulette”. You never know what you are going to get. For me, reserving “Altima or similar” has gotten me everything from a Suburban to a Corvette. G37s are fun, but I spent my weekend with one thinking it was pretty damned obvious why they are so much cheaper than a 3-series, and missing my 3-series.

          • 0 avatar
            gearhead77

            I worked for Enterprise many moons ago as a lowly car prep. What you reserve and what you get can be solely dependent on what’s on the lot. If you’re flexible, this is fine. If not, well…

            As mentioned, if you reserve a subcompact, you might wind up with a “free upgrade” to whatever the heck is left because they:

            1) Didn’t get the returns they were anticipating (common with local Enterprise, since they deal with repair shops/body shops)

            2) Number #1 combined with a lot of walk-ins.

            3) Don’t have the staff or time to go pick-up all the cars left at the body shops/repair shops.

            Airport locations don’t suffer too much from these issues, just the ebb and flow of the flying public.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            gearhead77, “I worked for Enterprise many moons ago as a lowly car prep. What you reserve and what you get can be solely dependent on what’s on the lot”

            Yup!

            My best friend chose to rent from Enterprise for a trip to attend his niece’s wedding in Denver, CO. He had his order in for something small, economical, frugal; an econobox.

            What Enterprise had left on the lot when he went to pick up his week-end rental on Friday afternoon was a brand spanking new F150 4-door 4X4 with a V8 and <200 miles on the odo. Nobody wanted that gas-guzzling pig.

            Was he flexible? What choice did he have? None of his antiques would make the trip to Denver and Hertz had nothing on their lot either. (Weekend rentals are HUGE in MY area. Lots of military people without a car here rent them each weekend for their weekend adventures.)

            So at our next Poker Night he p!ssed and moaned about the gas for the trip costing far more than the actual rental charges for the econobox. This at a time when gas was near $5/gal.

            Enterprise charged the same as for an econobox, but they didn't do him any favors.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        I’m surprised about that. I just had a new Altima for 2 weeks on vacation, and probably put around 2k miles on it. I found it responsive, comfortable, and excellent mpg (38-40).

        I was thoroughly impressed….maybe I’m too easy to please….

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      Can’t say I agree about the Sonata. I do not like Korean cars, but I have a bit of a soft spot for the “Swoopy” Sonata. Great looking car, nice interior, TONS of space. I just like the atmosphere of it, even in GLS trim.

      Speaking of rentals, I had a 2015 Chrysler 200C last weekend. It was a pretty awesome car. The exterior was slick, the interior was gorgeous and very very high quality. The leather on the seats in that thing must have cost a fortune. The dash looked like the controls of the Enterprise and it was very roomy and airy. It was almost like a Lexus.

      • 0 avatar
        DevilsRotary86

        Oh, it was comfortable enough I guess and it had plenty of room for me and my one bag. I had no complaints on those fronts. I just thought that it drove utterly terrible. There was no sense whatsoever that you were driving a car. You were just there to give some vague guidance to it.

        But, I have learned from other rentals that Hyundai isn’t alone here. I have also had the (mis)pleasure of renting an Avenger, G6, and Altima. It just seems that any of the midsizers from the economy companies (Hyundai, Toyota, Nissan, Dodge, etc) are as dull to drive as I could imagine.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      DevilsRotary –

      I had the same experience with three separate Sonata rentals over the last 5 years.

      Two were either good or decent, while one was terrible.

      The good were, oddly enough (or maybe not), a 2009 mid-refresh (new dash) Sonata GLS, and a 2012 (refreshed) GLS.

      Both were better driving vehicle than a similar Camry, IMO, based on my preferences (the 2009 was more quiet and smoother than a comparable Camry, which shocked me, and the “good” 2012 Sonata was somewhat sporty and crisp (but had a lot of road noise).

      The “bad” 2011 Sonata felt as if it came from a completely different company than the prior two, and was loose, tired, and worn out, despite having less than 20,000 miles on the odometer. Both the powertrain and suspension complained often and loudly, and it had a weird steering issue whereby the steering had to be canted/turned in order to get the vehicle to track true.

    • 0 avatar

      I somehow end up renting often, and in my Gold Membership profile, it says “Nothing Nissan”

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    A friend of mine has one of these, and I’m impressed by what a nice car it is. The interior feels upscale for this price point, it’s roomy, and the whole thing feels solid over the moon craters that pass for roads around here. On paper, the 6 speed manual will give my NB Miata a good run in the acceleration department.

    I can definitely see why non-enthusiasts buy these. Even as an enthusiast, there’s a good case to be made for it as reliable, affordable, pleasant transportation. Bonus: you can get it in non-boring colours, which is a lot more than the VW Golf can say.

  • avatar

    I thought the same generation Accent was a charming little car a year ago, for the same reasons that Derek articulated. In the end Fit won, but only just: mostly on the design touches like folding seats and being easier to load/unload.

    One question I had about Accent but had no opportunity to ask: how well does the auto last? Hyundai installs a “sealed” automatic there, which is good for 100,000 miles. Does it reach the mark? What happens after that? Tranny swap?

    • 0 avatar
      DeeDub

      I think even the “sealed” autos have drain & fill plugs you can get at from under the car. It’s much more of a hassle to change the tranny fluid, but still possible.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        There is always a way.

        IMHO – if an automaker wants to have “lifetime fluid” anything, then they should by law have to have a “lifetime warranty” on that part as well. And that would be MY lifetime, not the parts.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      It’s not a sealed transmission. For years, Hyundai has included a drain plug on their transmissions (my 2001 Elantra had one, plus a spin-on filter). FWIW, that car’s transmission lasted 201k miles, until I traded it – but I changed the fluid every 25k during the 63k miles I had it.

      But there is no dipstick in the newer transmissions, so you have to fill them from the side like a manual transmission. I have not done this procedure yet, but I’m looking forward to it on my son’s ’11 Sonata and our ’13 Optima.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      That reminds me, I should probably do a maintenance check on my car besides oil change and rotating tires. It’s only got, like, 140K miles on it. I think the break-in period is over.

      • 0 avatar
        tankinbeans

        When was the last time a break-in d honestly necessary for the longevity of a car? Serious question.

        Every manual one read had a 500 mile break-in wherein the recommendation is, to paraphrase, “don’t drive like an @$$.”

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          These days a “break-in” is mostly to seat the rings, and the disclaimers are so you don’t race home from the dealer via Route 129, then complain about oil consumption six months later.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            When I break in rings, I really want them to seat. The days of taking it easy were for flat tappet cams. These days, I say just give’r.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          It’s a holdover from the days of oil changes every 2500 miles “just to be safe,” and a self-parody of how Howard Mohr’s typical Minnesotan might consider 100K miles to be “just broken in”.

  • avatar
    highrpm

    We had one as a rental for a few weeks after my wife dinged her minivan. I was impressed with the Accent. I was really expecting much worse from Hyundai.

    The ride was nice. The engine had enough power and it was getting over 30mpg in the city with A/C on. It felt open and airy inside.

    Now, will the car hold up over 150k miles? That’s an important question. My 17k mile rental’s suspension already had a little clunk in it.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      My significant other is closing in on 80,000 miles on her ’09 Accent, and aside from wear items and a couple of repairs, nothing major has gone wrong. So far, so good. It’s actually a good enough car that she wants to sell it to her son…and she’s REAL protective of her son.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I like the looks of this car as it seems to wear Hyundai’s current design langauge better than the larger Sonata. The Elantra wears it better too for that matter.

    At first I thought the Sonata looked like a fairly nice runabout, but the styling has just aged into a pile of sick.

    This seems like it would compare favorably against the Forte that I had a couple years ago. While a nice enough car for the price, it had its nits that I picked a lot. The transmission was finicky, periodically preventing access to forth gear and with a godawful clutch/throttle combo, and the beige seats stained at the drop of a hat. I would give Hyundai/Kia another chance in the future, especially if their quality continues to improve.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    This doesn’t surprise me. My significant other has a 2009 Accent, and it’s a fine little car – smooth, fairly quiet, and very well built. Aside from wear items, she’s had very little trouble with it.

    My only concern is that when you floor it, it sounds like you’re going to lunch the motor for sure – I actually felt sorry for the car. Could be because I’m used to my road-boat Buick.

  • avatar
    mik101

    I was able to test drive all the vehicles listed two months ago when shopping for a cheap compact runabout. I needed warranty this time around, so new it was. I didn’t find it much quicker in a manual than the Fiesta was, and the Fiesta was a better drive to me. Granted I was looking at sedans. The Kia Rio was very nice overall, basically being the hyundai with more sound deadening. The Accent hatch was better than the sedan, but cost more as well. I ended up with a Fiesta based on what I liked to drive, and it ended up being the least expensive once discounts and better financing rate were applied. I probably would have bought the Rio if they actually had an LX available instead of just LX+ models.

  • avatar
    red60r

    My only experience with driving an Accent was in one of their early models, an airport rental that made a terrible shriek from the speedo cable at any speed over 15 mph. I think it was trying to tell me something. Amazingly, the A/C was able to cope with DC summer weather. Definitely more penalty box than luxo transport.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    My friend had a 2005 Accent GLS, or whatever the base model is (power nothing, weazy 1.6, no A/C), and he was very proud of it. It was the first new car he’d ever owned and the whole nine yards; he’d been through a succession of ancient Pontiacs, an LTD, a couple Caravans, and a VW Fox (that never worked). He owned this at the same time I had my 95 Accord EX, fully loaded sans leather.

    He actually had the nerve to look at me and tell me that his car was better than mine. I could only smile and nod because it was such a ridiculous statement.

    I had a 2010 Accent as a rental when my Grand Prix was in for new bearings up front. It was slightly less hateful than the 05, but I did get to visit every degree of the tach with regularity just to keep up with traffic.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Recently had a Chevy Sonic LT sedan as a rental and I was impressed. Much better dynamically than the new Soul I had the day prior, but the Sonic interior quality wasn’t even close to the “VW/Audi circa 2006” Soul. But the 1.8/ 6spd auto was reasonable. Better than the same powertrain in the last 2013 Cruze I had. The 1.4 Turbo would be better still. Ride quality and NVH were wonderful for the class, way better than the Soul again. But then again, this Sonic as equipped it would have been 17k USD or thereabouts.

    So, in our world of declining earnings,weak dollar and average new car transaction over $32000, is the $17000 car now the $10000 car of ten or fifteen years ago?

    I’d have no problem choosing the Sonic in this class.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Accent has not been on my radar, but let’s run through the check list:
    Wagon? Check!
    Brown? Bronze. Close enough.
    Manual? Yep!
    Diesel? No, but revvy little four in a lightweight package FTW.

    And damn cheap. I don’t see heated seats on their website, maybe that’s just in Canada?

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    1.) What did you think of the engine’s fun factor? I’ve not had an accent as a rental, but I have had a Rio, and I found the engine dull and uninspiring. I’ve found the Fiesta’s engine far more entertaining to drive and push.

    2.) Thoughts on the TUSCC? I’m still a bitter ALMS fan who misses LMP1 and is sick of the politics and whining that has overtaken the remaining prototype categories. That and the shitty officiating at the start of the year. I missed my first 12 Hours of Sebring after 9 consecutive years and I hate to say I didn’t regret it. That being said, I still think GTLM is da shit, and GTD is far better than either GAGT or ALMS GTC. I actually enjoyed the VIR race on tv.

    3.) next time take the train. Unfortunately, scheduling usually doesn’t give me that option for going to visit my boyfriend (he lives about a 2 and a half hour drive away), but even though it takes a bit longer (probably closer to 3.5 hours including travel time to and from the station), it’s worth it whenever I can make it work. I find the trip very relaxing even in coach not to mention more affordable.

  • avatar

    “So, Mr. President, would you like the Lexus or the Hyundai?”

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    No mention of seat comfort or lack thereof, I have read other reviewers complaining of back pains after driving this thing a couple of hours.

  • avatar
    Broken Crayon

    A few weeks ago I bought a 2014 Accent L sedan from Westend Hyundai on Lake Shore Blvd in Toronto. It was a refreshingly stress-free experience compared to the miserable time I had at the Ford dealership a few years before. I was treated decently by the salesperson and given no dealership nonsense whatsoever, even for a guy who walked in looking for a stripped-out Accent with no A/C and roll-up windows.

    I paid $12,189 out the door including tax+freight and drove away with a full tank of gas. Unlike my last stripper (a ’95 Civic CX) it had floor mats, a passenger side-view mirror, and a radio (with USB and iPod integration, whoa!)

    It’s pretty spartan inside but not at all like the penalty box one would expect from the least expensive Hyundai money can buy. The car feels tight as a drum, handles potholes and speed bumps amazingly well and actually has decent get up and go when I wind it out.

    Being old enough to remember the Pony, Excel, and Steallar I never thought in a million years I’d own a Hyundai but this is turning out to be an honest, decent car that I’ll be happy to drive for the next 5-10 winters. How times change!

  • avatar
    Joss

    Late to the party, Hyundai betters itself not the competition.

    Nissan could take a cue from Accent’s all-disc brakes.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      “Nissan could take a cue from Accent’s all-disc brakes.”

      So could Chevy, as most trim levels of the Cruze have rear drums.

      It is the height of cost cutting stupidity by constipated bean counters to NOT equip every Cruze with disc brakes all around.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        I’m always surprised when they put drums on lower end models to save a few bucks. Does it really save much over just having one all disc braking system variant?

        On the other hand…rear discs are sort of a car geek point of pride. From a practical standpoint, rear drums work fine for any low performance application. They have long service life and easily integrate a mechanical parking brake function. You really only lose out on modulation and feel from whatever the rear drums contribute vs the ubiquitous front discs. If you have a brake system with floating front calipers clearly modulation and feel is not a priority anyways, which is surely the case on a Chevy Cruze.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    A guy where I used to work had a Hyundai Getz. Tiny little car with 2 doors and the 1.6 litre engine. He loved it, also what amazed me was the room in the front for the passenger. A tall person over 6′ could have comfortably drove it.

    I also, had an experience in France last year with a Toyota Yaris, another tiny vehicle. The difference was it had a tiny diesel about the size you’d get in a Kubota ride on mower (lawn tractor).

    The comfort and performance of the Yaris was a real surprise to me. The only quibble I had was the ingress and egress from the vehicle with my 6′ 1″ frame.

    It returned 5l per 100km FE. That include much autoroute driving at above 130kph.

    Hyundai and Kia have come a long way in a short period of time and now have proven themselves in the ‘appliance’ end of the market like Toyota had done in the 80s. These companies will be around and hopefully become leaders.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      My comment regarding how Kia and Hyundai is similar to Toyota’s path in the 80s can be shown here in a comical way.

      No longer are Hilux’s favoured, maybe Kia’s.

      http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/09/04/1409847768678_wps_8_In_this_Wednesday_Sept_3_.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        infinitime

        I think that is a Kia Bongo 3 (love that name), used by Iranian government forces… Original Bongo was a Mazda design…. the Bongo 3 is an evolution of the original. The one shown in the picture is a crew cab version of the 4th generation design, manufactured since 2004.

        Apparently KIA isn’t the only one getting into that role….
        http://chinaautoweb.com/2011/05/zhongxings-grandtigers-in-libyas-civil-war/

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Hyundai (and Kia) has become really adept at building quality small cars.

      The i10 is rated 5 stars by many UK publications and is the top rated city car along with the Skoda Citigo.

  • avatar
    ZT

    If I was in the same situation, I woulda taken the train. One extra hour, sure, but I could sleep or get work done instead of being behind the wheel.

    Regardless, good review.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    As a touchstone for evaluating the 138 horsepower engine of the Hyundai Accent, or for that matter, of the Chevrolet Cruze, I look back at the first generation Ford Taurus. That car weighed 3050 lbs had a 140 horsepower 3.0 liter V-6 and a (new for the day) 4-speed automatic transmission. It went 0-60 in about 10.0 seconds, a little faster than a contemporary Audi 5000. The Chevrolet Cruze weighs the same or a little more than the Taurus, trades safety equipment for space, and with its more modern 6-speed transmission, it is about a second to a second and a half quicker than the 1986 Taurus 0-60. The Accent with less weight is a couple tics faster than the Cruze. Under the current system, the 1986 Taurus would be rated 18 City 24 highway. Of course, the Accent and the Cruze both blow away the Taurus in the MPG department.

  • avatar
    steevkay

    That sounds about right, the current-gen Accent was a good step above the previous generation (which I have, 2009MY).

    My ’09 Accent gets about 350km/tank in pure city driving (I rarely need to use the highway) and I’m usually gassing it pretty hard to get up to speed. The extra power would certainly come in handy since the 2009MY ones have 109hp or thereabouts. I wonder if the rear discs make a huge difference over the rear drums that mine has (although the fronts are still discs).

    Glad to see the steering isn’t completely numb; my car is slow, small (I have the sedan) and rear seats that can’t really fit humans when I’m in my driving position, but I can feel when the car understeers, I can feel when the wheels are slipping, I can feel the surface of the road through the steering. I’m not saying it’s some fancy Lotus or anything, but it’s far more communicative than other ubiquitous DDs I’ve driven (like Altimas, Camrys, etc.)

  • avatar
    Joss

    Discs vs drums comes down to physics & hydrostatic forces.

    Wet-weather driving centrifugal force pushes the water to the edge of disc surfaces. Accumulated water gets squeezed out of drums reducing friction and increasing hwy stopping distance.

    This Accent’s definitely a better pick over the Micra in the brake & tranny depts. Derek also mentioned body proportions & handling in relation to height – good in the Accent’s case.

  • avatar
    DCicch

    I love to drive as much as the next guy, but in the case you described it’d be a hard sell for me to choose the rental option over taking the the train. The train is $50 cheaper, better for the environment, not susceptible to traffic, and most importantly the 3 hours on the train isn’t lost time- most have wifi and you can do work or just relax. Two hours driving a car requires full attention for the duration of the trip, and since you’re not driving something especially engaging or luxurious it’s not worth it in this case.

  • avatar
    KrohmDohm

    I couldn’t settle for a sub-compact for my last purchase and got the Elantra GT instead. Other than abysmal rear suspension set up it’s been a great little car. Highly recommend(after rear shock replacements!, yeesh)

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