2008 Hyundai Accent Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
May 29, 2008

The 2008 Hyundai Accent delivers econocar basics with a high-quality interior and fun handling for a great price.

TheCarConnection.com’s editors read the latest reviews on the new 2008 Hyundai Accent to write this comprehensive review. Our car experts also drove the 2008 Hyundai Accent to be able to deliver our definitive opinion on the car, to compare it with other cars in the class and to provide you with the best information possible.

The 2008 Hyundai Accent, the Korean car company's smallest and least expensive model line, includes the GS and SE two-door hatchbacks, as well as a four-door GLS sedan.

It's not a great-looking car, but at least the Hyundai Accent is efficient with its space. It packs more interior room into its stubby 159.3-inch overall length than the much larger Chevrolet Cobalt or Ford Focus coupe models. There is nothing cramped about the interior, and even the rear seating area offers plenty of leg-, head-, and shoulder room for an average adult male.

The seats are fairly comfortable. And while it's no luxury car, the Hyundai Accent's interior looks good and feels durable, though TheCarConnection.com recently tested an Accent with some ill-fitting dash trim.

Review continues below

"Power" is a term used loosely with the 2008 Hyundai Accent's 1.6-liter four-cylinder. It makes just 110 horsepower, which is enough to feel zippy at city speeds. Fuel economy is good but not spectacular at 27/32 mpg; the Honda Fit turns in 28/34 mpg. The Hyundai Accent's basic suspension and light steering give it a fun handling profile, and the SE versions feel even better with their specific tires and suspension settings. The brakes felt strong, but the Accent's manual shift linkage can feel imprecise. Engine noise is a problem, too.

All Accents come standard with front, side, and curtain airbags. Anti-lock brakes are optional on some models. The government hasn't crash tested the new Accent, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has, and the news isn't good. Frontal crash protection is rated acceptable, while side impact protection is deemed poor.

Most features are optional on the Accent. But outfitted with fog lights, a CD player, XM Satellite Radio, and tire pressure monitors, a 2008 Hyundai Accent SE stickers for about $14,000.

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2008 Hyundai Accent

Styling

The 2008 Hyundai Accent looks good for a subcompact, inside and out.

The 2008 Hyundai Accent, the Korean car company's smallest and least expensive model line, includes the GS and SE two-door hatchbacks, as well as a four-door GLS sedan.

TheCarConnection.com found that reviewers applaud the 2008 Hyundai Accent's sporty look, but it's still nothing to write home about. Automotive.com says it “looks more elegant than the previous-generation model did.” Cars.com agrees, noting that the "Accent's crisp modern lines, distinctive halogen headlights, and larger wheels and tires make this version more elegant than its predecessor."

Cars.com adds that “GS and SE hatchbacks sport a fairly typical wedge shape, but with telltale Hyundai curves.” While Kelley Blue Book concedes that with the 2008 Accent, Hyundai’s styling is "sporty and expressive," they ultimately come to the conclusion that the "sedan is pretty plain vanilla." In comparison to other competing vehicles, MyRide.com calls the 2008 Hyundai Accent "more buttoned-down conservative than the more youthful Kia Rio."

Edmunds is pleased with the openness of the design: "visibility is very good, with the short hood allowing a panoramic view of what's ahead." The interior of the 2008 Hyundai Accent “has a conservative two-tone interior color scheme reminiscent of larger cars, and it's trimmed out quite nicely, helping it avoid the feeling of an econobox,” Automotive.com says. “The dashboard wraps around to the door panels and the center stack is nicely integrated, with large, well positioned climate control knobs.”

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2008 Hyundai Accent

Performance

The 2008 Hyundai Accent musters some good performance, but a few extra ponies under the hood wouldn't hurt.

Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com were generally positive about the 2008 Hyundai Accent's performance, but a little extra zip is still needed.

Cars.com mentions that the Hyundai Accent comes standard with a "110-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder" that "develops 107 pounds-feet of torque." Car and Driver finds no complaints with these numbers, stating, "these ponies are offered without complaint," and adding they “encourage surprisingly spirited driving.”

In the 2008 Accent, Hyundai offers two different powertrains that offer a "5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission," according to ConsumerGuide. Edmunds isn't impressed with the automatic option, claiming "lackluster acceleration."

MyRide.com notes that the "sedan's ride is on the soft side." Other reviewers mention this as well, and Car and Driver provides the reason why: the suspension is "simply sprung a bit softly."

In terms of fuel economy, Edmunds feels with the Accent, Hyundai is "competitive with similarly equipped rivals." The Accent's 24 mpg city/33 mpg highway consumption is identical to the numbers posted by the Chevy Aveo, but not quite as good as the Toyota Yaris, which hits 29 mpg in the city and 35-36 mpg on the highway, according to Kelley Blue Book.

TheCarConnection.com drove the new Accent recently, and had a more favorable handling experience with the SE version of the Accent. Hyundai's basic suspension and light steering give it a fun handling profile, but the SE versions feel even better with their specific tires and suspension settings. The brakes felt strong, but the Accent's manual shift linkage can feel imprecise. Engine noise is a problem, too.

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2008 Hyundai Accent

Comfort & Quality

The 2008 Hyundai Accent provides adequate comfort and quality for budget-minded drivers.

The 2008 Hyundai Accent has a more comfortable, better-built interior than many drivers would suspect. Reviews from across the Web wrote about the Accent’s higher-quality cabin.

Car and Driver said, with the Accent, Hyundai is "successfully emulating the quality of cars a couple classes up the price ladder." Kelley Blue Book feels the 2008 Hyundai "Accent's interior materials are consistent with its price."

Cars.com notes that "up to five occupants can fit inside the Accent.” For those intent on keeping grown-up passengers comfortable too, Edmunds reminds drivers "that the Versa and Yaris hatchbacks offer more rear-seat legroom." ConsumerGuide notes that the two-door’s "sloping roofline limits headroom," but this is to be expected in most hatchbacks.

While this is adequate for many reviewers, ConsumerGuide felt that the "shallow opening" in the trunk "complicates loading bulky items."

In terms of the user-friendliness of the 2008 Accent, Hyundai receives kudos from reviews read by TheCarConnection.com. MyRide.com likes the "large, well-positioned climate control knobs" and the "eight-way adjustable" driver's seat. Kelley Blue Book offers up a few complaints, calling attention to a "too-stiff temperature dial" and the ashtray that looks like "an odd removable cup."

Quietness of the 2008 Hyundai Accent is a concern for a couple reviewers. In comparison to the competition, ConsumerGuide mentions that "wind noise is modest for the class, but coarse-surface tire thrum is fairly high."

It's not a great-looking car, but TheCarConnection.com’s editors think that the Hyundai Accent is at least efficient with its space. It packs more interior room into its stubby 159.3-inch overall length than the much larger Chevrolet Cobalt or Ford Focus coupe models. There is nothing cramped about the interior, and even the rear seating area offers plenty of leg-, head-, and shoulder room for an average adult male.

The seats are fairly comfortable. And while it's no luxury car, the 2008 Hyundai Accent's interior looks good and feels durable, though TheCarConnection.com recently tested an Accent with some ill-fitting dash trim.

6

2008 Hyundai Accent

Safety

The 2008 Hyundai Accent fares well in federal tests, but less so in industry testing.

The 2008 Hyundai Accent performs well in federal crash tests but less well in private industry-sponsored tests. The four-door version has been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but the three-door has not.

Edmunds sums up reviewer sentiments by saying, "the 2008 Hyundai Accent sedan scored a perfect five stars for front occupant protection," but "didn't fare as well in the side-impact category," with four stars for driver-side impacts and three stars for passenger-side impacts. Still, ConsumerGuide notes that the Hyundai Accent "one-ups most subcompact rivals" in terms of safety.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has also tested the Accent; Hyundai may have reason for concern. Frontal crash protection is rated "acceptable," while side impact protection is deemed "poor."

Cars.com lists "seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags" as "standard across all trim levels" of the 2008 Hyundai Accent. Edmunds calls this "unusual for a vehicle in this segment," lending further proof that Hyundai has taken considerable measures to beef up safety.

According to Cars.com, among other standard equipment found on the Accent, Hyundai includes "adjustable head restraints," as well as "front seat belt pretensioners and load limiters."

Safety upgrades are few and far between for the Accent. Hyundai, ConsumerGuide notes, offers "anti-lock 4-wheel disc brakes" for the GLS model and makes it standard on the SE hatchback, but unavailable on the GS.

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2008 Hyundai Accent

Features

For a little extra cash, the base Hyundai Accent 2008 can be customized with numerous audio, styling, or performance-oriented accessories.

Reviewers feel the 2008 Hyundai Accent offers a meager selection of standard features, but the list of add-ons is long.

Kelley Blue Book lists the "modest GS standard-equipment" as "power steering, tilt steering column, eight-way manually-adjustable driver's seat, 60/40-split rear seat, cabin air filtration, tachometer, variable intermittent wipers and a rear spoiler."

In the SE Accent, Hyundai includes "16-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, foglamps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter and a rear center armrest with cupholders," Edmunds says. For the top-of-the-line GLS model, Edmunds adds "air-conditioning and a CD/MP3 audio system with satellite radio."

Kelley Blue Book stresses that these are "mostly sports-oriented." ConsumerGuide notes that the "Popular Equipment Pkg." includes "Antilock 4-wheel disc brakes, power mirrors, power windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry, (and) alarm." A power sunroof and a ground effects kit are also available.

Most features are optional on the Accent. But outfitted with fog lights, a CD player, XM Satellite Radio, and tire pressure monitors, a 2008 Hyundai Accent SE stickers for about $14,000.

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May 7, 2015
2008 Hyundai Accent 3-Door HB Automatic SE

Cute and economical, sport not so much...

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Extremely reliable, good fuel economy (26/34 actual city/highway), handles decently. The engine creates more noise than power - this car would be a hoot with a decent turbo setup. Safety ratings are good and... + More »
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