Compact car; Built in South Korea
  • 2-door hatchback
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $1,700*


1995 Hyundai Accent 4-door sedan


1995 Hyundai Accent 2-door hatchback


1996 Hyuyndai Accent GT 2-door hatchback


1997 Hyundai Accent 4-door sedan


1997 Hyundai Accent GT 2-door coupe

Pros:
  • Optional antilock brakes
  • Fuel economy
  • Instruments/controls
  • Visibility
Cons:
  • Passing power
  • Noise
  • Driving position

Because an Accent is also more satisfying to drive than some rivals, it can be a reasonable buy, provided that you can get beyond the interior noise problem. Reliability is also a question. All told, we recommend something larger for everyday transportation.

Overview

Accent replaced the Excel as the South Korean company’s entry-level model, to compete against the Ford Aspire, Geo Metro, Toyota Tercel, and other budget subcompacts. Initially, Accent came only as a 4-door notchback sedan, but a 2-door hatchback was added the next summer. Three models went on sale: L hatchback (the lowest-priced Accent), and base versions of both the hatchback and the sedan. Accents used Hyundai’s 1.5-liter 4-cylinder. Rated at 92 horsepower. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard and 4-speed automatic optional on all models except the L hatchback. Dual airbags were standard. Antilock brakes were optional on base models, but not available on the L.

Yearly Updates

1996 Accent
A sporty new GT with a more-potent, 105-horsepower, dual-overhead-cam engine arrived early in ’96. Unique GT features included a firmer suspension and performance tires on 14-inch alloy wheels, a tachometer, rear spoiler, fog lamps, full cloth interior trim, and a stereo system with four speakers.
1997 Accent
Sedans adopted a GL designation this year, while base hatchbacks were called GS.
1998 Accent
Hyundai dropped the GT model and its 105-horsepower engine for ’98. Other changes include revised front and rear fascias and new headlights.
1999 Accent
Gone were the optional antilock brakes. However, Hyundai did add an impressive new warranty and cut prices, both of which mean little to used car buyers. A redesigned Accent emerged for 2000.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Produced by Hyundai, the Accent’s 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine came in two forms: single-overhead-cam for regular models, making 92 horsepower; or dual-overhead-cam in the GT, rated at 105 horsepower. Any Accent might be equipped with either a 5-speed manual gearbox or optional 4-speed automatic transmission.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.5/91
Engine HP 105
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 101
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
27/35
26/34
ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.5/91
Engine HP 92
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 96
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
28/37
27/36

Road Test

Acceleration from the base engine is adequate around town with either manual or automatic shift. Highway passing, on the other hand, requires a long stretch of open road. The engine also strains hard when going up even small hills. Automatic-transmission downshifts are not harsh, and only seldom abrupt at all. Although the GT’s engine, with 13 extra horsepower, performs with greater spirit, it does not transform the Accent into anything approaching a mini hot rod. Gas mileage is great. We’ve averaged more than 30 miles per gallon.

Hyundai made great strides in improving the suspension. The ride is now above average for a small automobile. The suspension absorbs most bumps well and has good stability at highway speeds. Large bumps produce a loud thump; but most smaller obstacles are taken in stride. Handling ability is adequate, but the Accent’s skinny tires easily lose their grip.

Interior space is good in front for adults, but the back seat is too small for anyone taller than 5-foot-10. The dashboard is neat and legible, with easy-to-read gauges and logical controls, but some drivers find the fixed-position steering wheel to be too high for comfort. Outward visibility is good on both body styles. A large glovebox and long door pockets help with interior storage.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1996 Hyundai Accent 4-door auto

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 3
30%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 3
30%
Quietness - 3
30%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 3
30%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 36

Specifications

2-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
94.5 161.5 63.8 54.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
16.2 11.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.7 37.8 42.6 32.7
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
94.5 162.1 63.8 54.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
10.7 11.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.7 38.0 42.6 32.7
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Accent 2-door hatchback

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 132
Injury 192
Theft 61

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: Automatic transmission may flare between second and third or downshift poorly. There is a modified transmission-control module available. (1996-97)
Automatic transmission
Description: If the transmission slips or will not go into fourth gear, the end clutch needs to be replaced. (1995-96)
Hard starting
Description: Hard starting may be due to a cracked in-tank fuel line. (1995-97)
Poor transmission shift
Description: Harsh 4-3 downshifts when coming to a stop below 10 mph due to build problems with the original transmission. (1995-96)
Steering problems
Description: The power-steering bracket may interfere with the coolant reservoir causing a buzzing noise or possible reservoir damage. A new bracket is available. (1995-97)
Transmission problems
Description: If transmission sticks in 3rd, shifts poorly, or has harsh 1-2 shift, the pulse generator may need to be replaced. (1996-99)
Check-engine light
Description: Check-engine light illumination on SOHC models might be caused by a problem with the transmission control module (TCM). Repair includes replacement if the TCM. (1996-98)

Recall History

1995 w/manual shift
Description: Engine-control module wiring harness can be contacted by clutch-pedal assembly; insulation damage can cause fuse to blow and engine to stall.
1995-96 cars sold/used in Puerto Rico
Description: Through contact with road hazards and curbs, lower control arm can shift from original position.
1995-97 in 20 “salt belt” states
Description: Road salt can result in corrosion that causes pits to form on lower coil of front springs, allowing cracks to develop and possible breakage.
1996-97
Description: Wipers may not operate, due to contamination in contacts.
1999 w/automatic transmission
Description: Pressure-control solenoid valve seals can allow transmission fluid to leak, resulting in slippage.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.