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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Hyundai Accent Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Hyundai Accent Overview

When Less is More

The Hyundai Accent should serve as a reminder to us all that beyond the accolades and attributes we assign our cars, they are merely modes of transportation and nothing more. The fact that some cars now cost as much as the down payment on a good-sized home is a sobering fact, especially in the face of the Accent's $9,999 sticker.

Despite its astoundingly low purchase price, the Accent is not some hollowed-out econobox with a life expectancy just shy of its payoff date. This is an amazingly well contented little car, offered as both a two-door hatchback and four-door sedan, that is as inexpensive to operate as it is to own. With an EPA fuel estimate of 29-mpg city and 33-mpg highway, the Accent certainly won't eat you alive at the pump and the presence of standard front-side impact airbags may even help lower your insurance cost.

If you are trying to pinpoint the source of the Accent's bargain basement pricing, you certainly won't find it on the car's exterior. Not only is the Accent a handsome piece of work, the fit and finish of its body panels and plastic trim is of the highest order.

There is nothing cheap about the interior either, where you'll find an attractive passenger compartment comprised of sturdy plastics, colorful fabric patterns and a stylish dash. At this price point, we were shocked to find the seats were really comfortable, with plenty of firm foam padding and even some sculpting to help hold you in place. Tall drivers will appreciate the height adjustable driver's seat, again another feature uncommon to a car of this stature. Front-seat head and legroom is good for this class but the rear-seat passengers will feel a bit cramped, especially in the hatchback models where they will have to squeeze through a narrow opening to enter and exit.

The Accent's smallish trunk is far from commodious, but the folding rear seat expands the cargo capacity by leaps and bounds. If you are at the place in your life where you need to be transporting great loads of stuff to and fro (are you listening college students?) then get the hatchback. With its wide rear opening, you can fit everything from multiple boxes of clothing to a mountain bike and outdoor gear.

The Accent is powered by Hyundai's 1.6-liter DOHC engine. The performance you'll feel with this engine won't light your socks on fire, but there's enough juice under the hood to get you onto the freeway without fear of being trampled by traffic. The Accent comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission that though a bit rubbery and long of throw, is the best way to get the most of the engine's power. If you opt for the four-speed automatic, you'll find that shifts are handled with surprising smoothness, but that acceleration is somewhat slower than with the manual. We should also point out that the Accent's ability to accelerate and merge slows down exponentially as you add additional passengers.

On the road, you'll find the Accent handles like a typical small car. The steering is a bit light and the 13-inch tires howl wildly when pushed too fast into turns, but overall, the Accent feels solid and well-connected to the road. Even with 18-wheelers rushing past, the Accent remained locked in its lane like a stubborn little clam that refuses to budge. The Accent's road manners get a significant boost when you add the GT package. With its wider 14-inch tires, alloy wheels and firmer suspension setting, the Accent's driving characteristics certainly equal or better those of the Toyota Echo and Kia Rio.

The Accent is offered in two body styles and three trims. The two-door hatchback comes in base, GL and GT trim while the sedan version is offered only as a GL. Standard features on the base hatchback include dual remote control side-view mirrors, body side molding and full wheel covers. Inside, you'll find a rear-window defroster, AM/FM stereo with cassette, intermittent wipers, a folding rear seat and power steering and brakes. The GL trim includes air conditioning, a digital clock, rear wiper/washer (hatchback), a tachometer and variable intermittent wipers. The GT package includes all this plus front fog lights, 14-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, white-faced instruments, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. For an additional $500, you can outfit your GL or GT with Hyundai's popular equipment package that adds power windows and door locks, power mirrors and a six-speaker AM/FM stereo with CD.

Perhaps the most impressive of the Accent's features is one that won't cost you a dime: the five-year/60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and ten-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty that comes standard on every model.

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