2005 - 2009 Hyundai Accent Hatchback Review

The Accent badge had been a mainstay of the Hyundai range pretty much since the then-nascent Korean giant started selling cars in Europe.

Review

INTRODUCTION:

The Accent badge had been a mainstay of the Hyundai range pretty much since the then-nascent Korean giant started selling cars in Europe. The early generations were, to be honest, pretty lacklustre, with cheap cabins, wheezy engines and indifferent handling, but in the mid-2000s, along came an Accent that was actually pretty decent, and it was a car that gave us some hint of what was to come from the incoming i-model Hyundai range.

MODEL RANGE:

The third generation Accent (known to Hyundai nerds, if that’s an actual thing, as the MC-series Accent) had a pretty short life, lasting just four years on sale in Ireland, but it put up a pretty decent showing while it was here.

Out went the boxy styling and cheap-o interior of the old Accent and in came a slightly smaller, much rounder-looking car that could be had either as a three-door hatchback or a notch-back four-door saloon.

Inside, cabin quality took a massive leap up. Looking back now, from the position of a company with the likes of the new Tucson and the i40 in its ranks, the old Accent cabin looks faintly quaint, but at the time its nicely-finished interior surfaces and neat control layout were something of a revelation. Suddenly, Hyundai could make a car that was actually nice to sit in…

Underneath, the entire structure was shared with the also-new Kia Rio, and that meant you had a choice of 1.4-litre petrol engine (which most buyers went for) or the more rarely-seen 1.5 CRDi diesel. Handling was actually not too bad at all – no one’s going to accuse it of being a GTI in disguise, but it doesn’t disgrace itself in the twisty bits. You will have to put up with a lot of road noise though, and a ride quality that feels especially stiff around town.

Fuel economy, always an Accent strong point, remained decent on this model (you can expect to get around 45mpg) and the 360-odd-litre boot is still a respectable figure for a car that’s not much bigger than a Fiesta.

Reliability is close to faultless. Not only was the Accent a pretty simple car (not many expensive electronic bits to go wrong) but it was also one of the first Hyundai’s to get the firm’s five-year, unlimited mileage warranty, and Hyundai’s confidence in its mechanical package was not misplaced.

BEST BUY:

The whole point of an Accent is that it’s cheap, cheerful and rugged. So we’d suggest tracking down a 1.4-litre petrol saloon (the extra doors and slightly bigger boot add much practicality) and a 2007 model shouldn’t set you back more than €4,500 or so.

THE NUMBERS:

Hyundai Accent 1.4 DeLuxe four-door

Engine: 1,399cc four-cylinder petrol

Power: 99hp

Maximum speed: 174km/h

0-100km/h: 12.4 seconds

Fuel consumption: 6.2 litres/100km

CO2: 146g/km

Euro NCAP: not tested

GOOD POINTS:

         •           Cheap

         •           Rugged reliability

         •           Pleasant interior

BAD POINTS:

         •           Not very pretty

         •           Not many around

         •           Feels positively backward compared to more modern Hyundais

SUMMARY:

The 2005 Accent kind of bridged the gap between the old, cheap and cheerless Hyundai and the new, modern, dynamic versions. As such it sits in something of a middle ground – still very much the affordable option, but pleasant enough in and of itself to allow you to choose one without it being all about the price tag.