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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2002 Hyundai Accent Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2002 Hyundai Accent Overview

The Little Car that Could

If you think driving an entry-level economy car means you'll get zero frills for your money, you should think again. Hyundai's little Accent sedan and coupe are affordable, reliable and packed with standard features that cost thousands more on most of its competitors.

The Accent is available in three trims: L, GS and GL. The L and GS models are three-door hatchbacks while the GL comes only as a four-door sedan. All three models are larger than the previous generation Accent and offer interior and cargo room comparable to other cars in this class. Rear seat headroom is good due to the Accent's tall roof profile, but rear-seat legroom is only marginal, especially if the driver and front passengers are tall.

The L represents the most basic Accent, with a starting price of just under $9K; it is one of the most affordable new cars you can buy. A 92-horsepower, 1.5-liter engine powers the L. Though not the most powerful in its class, the 1.5 liter does manage to move the L without too much trouble, so long as you're not in a great hurry. You will find that it offers sufficient power for daily commuting, but requires you to rev it high to get the most when accelerating onto freeways or passing slower moving vehicles. The only transmission choice on the L is a 5-speed manual. This gearbox is not as refined as those found in the Accent's Japanese competitors and its long shift travel and rubbery feel take some getting used to. The L's thrifty little engine returns an EPA fuel rating of 27-city/ 37 highway. The Accent L comes standard with an AM/FM cassette stereo, rear defroster, center armrest, tachometer, map lights, side door storage pockets, dual side mirrors and intermittent wipers.

The GS and GL models see great improvements in both power and comfort over the modest L. To begin with, both models receive a larger, more powerful engine and both offer the option of an automatic transmission. The 1.6-liter engine is significantly more refined than the standard L engine. Good for 105 horsepower, the GL and GS move quicker and feel less strained at speeds over 65 mph. Ride and handling for all models is about the same, though the GS and GL's larger tires do provide a bit more grip and a somewhat smoother ride. Small cars are usually known for their good handling and easy maneuverability and the Accent is no exception. You may find that the power steering is slightly over assisted and that turn-in is not as quick as that of the Toyota Echo or Honda Civic. The suspension on the Accent is soft which aides in its smooth ride but does allow the car to dive and bounce upon hard braking. Still, these conditions were only experienced under near-track-like conditions; in everyday driving, you'll probably never experience them enough to be bothered.

The comfort level of the GS and GL is really quite impressive. It was not so long ago that car seats felt like little more than two pillows thrown over a metal frame. Today, even the most basic transportation has benefited from the use of ergonomically contoured foam, which is much more supportive than metal leaf springs and makes it possible to sit for longer periods without experiencing discomfort. The Accent has two really marvelous front bucket seats, with nice large seat bottoms, a pleasing amount of lower lumbar support and built-in fold-down armrests. The view from the driver's seat is a relatively unobstructed one, with good visibility in all directions. The Accent's dash is clean and simple to read and the material's fit and finish seem to be above average. During our test drive, we did not experience any odd rattle or vibrations and observed interior volume levels at highway speeds to be within the acceptable range for this class.

What we really liked about the GS and GL models was the high content level that made us feel as if we were driving a much more expensive car. Standard equipment for both trims include air conditioning, dual power outside mirrors, 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks and a rear-seat cup holder. Options include power windows, door locks, upgraded CD audio and an automatic transmission. Even if you loaded up the GS model with every available option, you'd still end up well under $13,000. This fact alone makes the Accent worth a look, but if you still have your doubts then figure in Hyundai's 10-year/100,000 mile warranty and see if you don't think the Accent is one of the best bargains going.

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