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By Rex Roy
Go icon Stylish interior, roomy
back seat, good fuel economy.
Power's a relative term in this niche; the Accent's decent.
Stop icon Engine noise, shifter
quality need another round of attention.
Chevette. Omni. Metro. Le Car. Colt. Vega. Pinto. Cricket. Storm. Escort. Horizon. Festiva. F-10. Justy.
What do these have in common? They were $%& boxes each and every one. Even esteemed names like “Civic” were crappy in their early iterations. Through the 1970s and ’80s these cars could be observed rusting into oblivion, and blowing clouds of oil smoke as they strained to achieve highway speeds before getting run over by semis and fuel-swilling V-8-powered Detroit lead sleds. (Please save your indignantly rose-colored e-mails…these cars did offer, albeit rarely, new technologies and driving grins. The author put over 120,000 miles on an Omni GLH-S, so he knows.)
What we have for evaluation today is the 2007 Hyundai Accent SE. It is most certainly not a piece of junk. Our fresh example sported no rust and refused to blow any blue smoke. As a matter of fact, this little car pushed everything we knew about cheap cars right off the shelf and into the trash can. This is what to think about the inexpensive Accent SE: It's solid, eager, nicely equipped, cute, practical, and pretty sporty.
The basic package
Remember when cars didn’t have
standard power steering, power brakes, power windows, air conditioning,
rear-window defrosters, power door locks, tilt steering columns and even FM
radios? Generally speaking, economy cars into the 1980s were so. How things have
changed. Our as-tested Accent SE offers all of the aforementioned as standard
plus side airbags, side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, fog lights,
illuminated vanity mirrors, heated outside mirrors, 172-watt AM/FM/CD audio
system, cabin air filter, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. All of this, and
it stickers for just under $14,000.