Hyundai models have been the traditional purchase for those who want new car cachet at a budget price. The little Accent was a prime example of this at the time of it's introduction, although the target demographic has altered a mite since then. If you are in the market for one of these cars, here is an insight into the buying and driving experience.
A little bit of history
Hyundai's Accent cars (also known around the world as the Hyundai Verna, Excel and X3) were brought out in 1995. Several body styles were available but engines were limited to 1.3 and 1.5 litre units. The cars were an instant hit due to their remarkably low price and offered many people the opportunity to buy new. The second generation arrived in 2000 with new 1.6 engines and a diesel to improve sales appeal. An MVi hot hatch version was available in the UK. Impact ratings were much improved over the previous models. The current range was introduced in 2005 and although available to the rest of the world until today, was replaced in the UK by the i30 in 2007. The reason for this was an attempt by the Korean manufacturers to distance themselves from the budget car image of previous models.
What to look out for
Buying a used Hyundai Accent may not be the "bottom drawer" choice it once seemed. First generation cars are really to be avoided because of their poor safety records and frankly dire fuel consumption. Your money is better spent on a second generation model as economy improved drastically along with safety and built quality. Panels are thin so can dent easily and gearboxes and clutches have a habit of eating themselves, so check for invoices to cover these. In 2008, the third generation cars were the best model for reliability in their class as found by the US J.D.Power survey. Safety was finally brought up to the standards of other makers with the option of multiple airbags. Other extras like air con and ABS make this a viable choice but you have to ask if it's wise to buy a three year old car out of it's warranty when you can buy a new Hyundai with a five year guarantee for not a lot more?
Where to buy
Main dealers are still a surprisingly good source of Accents as their customer base is a loyal one. This means that they get quite a number in part exchange that they move on as approved used cars with warranties. The trade tend not to like these Korean motors so your other option is likely to be a private buy but watch out for that service history!