Nowadays in my generations, we young adults care about a lot about how our car looks, what are its racing performance and hook-ups. And obviously, certain car models have been created to become such marvelous metal beasts that just by mentioning the car model's name (i.e. Dodge Viper), racers goes into "ooohh..!"
Okay, I admit. I did not like the idea of getting a korean car in the beginning. Hyundai had a bad and stinky reputation before due to its intense engine failure, looks and whatnot. In a way, Hyundai was kind of like their sister company, Daewoo. But with a small budget and college coming up --not to mention, Hyundai have that 10 year/100,000 miles warranty-- if the shoe fits, wear it.
And so... I bought a Hyundai Accent GL (four door) model year 2002..
This is my first new car, so I don't know how a "new car" is supposed to feel like at the first couple days of driving.
I'll be honest here: the Accent is not so bad. You press the gas pedal, the car runs. Very simple. The engine does not feel like it is struggling for speed, like the old Corolla does. The engine changes gear almost every 3000 rpm, but sometimes that can be a little bit more (i.e. 4000, 5000..) depending on if you floor the gas pedal or not. For example, you have stopped at a traffic light. Right when the light goes green, you stepped on the gas pedal real hard, like as if you are racing. If you look closer, you can tell from the rpm meter that it suddenly increases to the maximum of 6000 rpm before the engine automatically switches to second gear, decreasing the rpm to 3000 or so. Oh yea, you can burn rubber too at that moment, but that sometimes happens unless you install an air intake or a muffler to the Accent.
That was the good part, but I think there is a little bit problem. Like I mentioned before earlier, I do not know if this is how a new car reacts. So if I am wrong, correct and forgive me okay? =)
I can drive stick shift, but due to the small budget, I can only afford an automatic transmission Accent. That means, the engine switches gears on its own instead of been done manually. When I drive, I can literally feel the engine "tremble" or "vibrate" when it changes to each gear, kind of like a stick shift does. And when I slow down to a stop, again, I would literally feel the engine goes back to first gear. It gets very annoying sometimes, because there is not really a period of time does the car drive smoothly like the old Corolla. Also, I must becareful of how I stop too. Because the engine is brandnew, the throttle does not work that good. Sometimes, when I stop at a light or at a sign, the engine slows down or "forgets" to switch from whatever gear it was back to the first gear. It would only go back to second gear. So that means, I have to stop once, let the car moves a little bit forward (not pressing the gas pedal) so it can switches back to first gear, and then stop totally.
The brake is fine. No real problem there, or you can really sue the company for it, since it is dangerous to drive around in a messed up brake (Lemon Law). The engine does not slow down too much ot too long that you can get into a car accident, but it is not like you can press the brake and it would stop immediately so you can break your neck. In fact, it had helped me avoid a lot of car accidents that I could have been in (except one, the lady bumped me from behind).
Let me tell you this right now, even if the truth hurts (especially if you are a drag street racer). If you own an Accent, you will never beat these following cars (models 2000-2003): a Honda civic, Honda accord, Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, BMW models, Volkswagen Beetle, Volkswagen Jetta, Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai Tiburon, SUVs, Dodge trucks, and obviously, Ford Mustang and Scorpion. If you have a racing adredaline, I suggest you to pick at least a Honda civic (explain why next paragraph). The closest competition you can get is the Volkswagen Jetta, I almost beat one of them at one time. Almost. =P
You can ask any mechanic around, they would tell you the same thing: Hyundai Accent is not meant to race. It is an average car, with an average engine with average parts. The Hyundai company do not intentionally want the Accent to be like the Tiburon, so the speed for the Accent is not very fast. It is not as slow as an old model of Toyota Camry, but not fast enough to catch up against the most recent Toyota models. I just start learning about cars, so I do not know how many horsepower the Accent has, but more than a 100 obviously. But if allowed, the Accent can go as fast as 130 mph. If allowed, which rarely happens or not at all if you live in the suburbs.
Lack of speed, but yet affordable and drives okay. I give it 3 stars.
Looks, Roominess, etc:
The inside of the Accent looks quite nice. Everything is so simple, you can basically reach for everything and the buttons are never too small or too big to be an annoyance. The air conditioning is good, it does not take more than 5 minutes for it to have cold air out, and you do not have to put the AC very high to get the cold air either.
The Accent comes with a casette player, so if you want a cd player, you might have to pay more and install it on your own or by a mechanic. The best thing I love about the Accent are the speakers. You can adjust the bass and treble, and the bass can go really high, enough to watch your mirrors from all sides vibrate.
You can adjust the front seats to a little bit higher/lower, front/back, forward/backward, and the bigger/smaller the cushion for your back. I never had a problem with my butt aching or anything with the seats. =)
Fortunately, I have no kids and almost no life, that means not having many friends. That is good, because the backseat of the Accent is quite small and crowded. I never sat in the backseat of my car, so I have no idea how the seats would feel. But from what I can see, the only thing that it is basically good for that little roominess in the back is to put my books, folders, and sweater. Yay!
The trunk has a lot of room in it. Really. You can actually go grocery shopping and buy anything, everything you need and it would still fit inside. If it does not, there is another solution. Push the backseat down, and there you go, more space! So what happens if somehow, someway, you accidentally trapped yourself inside the trunk? No problem. The korean engineers knew about the crazy rapists and murderers in our country, so they designed a little knob inside where you can pull to open the trunk. Neat huh? That is a scary thought, but still neat.
The outside of the car looks okay. If you look from the front, you can see a racing car design in a way. But if you look from the side, the butt appear too short, so that took away some of the "race car look" appearance. Also, even if with an installed spoiler, the butt is still too short for it to look good.
I give it 3 stars.
Miscellaneous, parts, etc:
Like I mentioned earlier, this car is not meant to race. Actually, the korean engineers and the Hyundai company does not want you to do anything to the car, and they know how to make it stay that way too. Unlike most cars, the Accent is not an easy thing for you to try and install parts in. For example, the speakers. The good part is, it is very difficult to crack the thing open to get to the speakers, that means robbers takes a long time and much labor and frustration just to steal it. Some might even give up, who knows. I never heard anybody who had their Accent's speakers stolen yet. Bad part? That goes for you and the mechanics too. You want to install Xplod speakers inside? You better get ready to spend a lot of time and work to crack the thing open. I never personally install speakers in the Accent, but I heard a lot of complaints from a lot of Accent owners to be convinced enough.
So, how about an air intake? Yes and no. Again, the Accent is not meant to race, only the Tiburon is. That means, all special Hyundai air intake and filters are created only for Tiburon. Well, there is another way... you can install another company's air intake. For my Accent, my boyfriend bought a Corolla air intake customized to fit in my car. Unlike most other cars, we had a quite a lot of trouble trying to get it install, because the Accent's engine and stuff is quite..complicated. Even the mechanics agreed, and were upset trying to figure it out how to get it installed inside. But overall, the engine runs better and sounds better. You can also buy other customized air intake, like Integra's or whatever. But you better have your wallet ready to be open, because it is going a cost you probably your whole paycheck ($100-300).
Another thing you can do, if you do not like the Accent's looks, get a bodykit. Those cost around $1000 or more, but that is up to you.
One more thing, your powertrain warranty will be cancelled if the parts mess up the engine. Yeap yeap. But make sure that the mechanics have proof that it was the problem, or else it is illegal.
With all that complication and frustration to install, I give it two stars.
Drivability: 3 stars
Looks, etc: 3 stars
Misc.: 2 stars
Average: 2.6 or 3 stars
Amount Paid (US$):
2002Model and Options: