2009 Hyundai Accent Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Trevor Wild Trevor Wild Author
July 4, 2009

The 2009 Hyundai Accent is an affordable, if underpowered, economy vehicle with a tasteful interior.

TheCarConnection.com's editors have driven the Hyundai Accent—in both hatchback and sedan form—in order to give you an expert opinion. TheCarConnection.com's car experts then researched available road tests on the 2009 Hyundai Accent to produce this conclusive review and to help you find the truth where other reviews might differ.

As the smallest and least expensive model in Hyundai's U.S. lineup, the Accent comes as a two-door hatchback or four-door sedan. The hatchback this year claims the crown of least expensive U.S.-market passenger car.

The 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine propelling the 2009 Hyundai Accent makes just 110 ponies, which is enough to feel zippy at city speeds, but freeway passing is a matter of careful calculation. However, the lack of horsepower can be overlooked, considering the 2009 Hyundai Accent gets fuel economy figures as high as 35 mpg highway.

The Accent isn’t necessarily an attractive car, but it is efficient with its space. The Accent 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.

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

The 2009 Hyundai Accent’s brakes feel strong, but the Accent's manual shift linkage can come across as imprecise. Engine noise is a problem, too. The 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 news isn't good regarding crash-test results. From the IIHS, frontal crash protection is rated "acceptable," while side impact protection is deemed "poor." Federal results are also unimpressive, at three and four stars for side impact. All Accents come standard with front, side, and curtain airbags.

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2009 Hyundai Accent

Styling

The 2009 Hyundai Accent can be considered an attractive car both inside and out, but it's a little homely as well.

According to reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, editors applaud the 2009 Hyundai Accent's sporty look, but don't award it any blue ribbons. 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."

In comparison to other competing vehicles, MyRide.com calls the 2009 Hyundai Accent "more buttoned-down conservative than the more youthful Kia Rio." While Kelley Blue Book concedes that with the 2009 Accent, Hyundai’s styling is "sporty and expressive," they ultimately conclude that the "sedan is pretty plain vanilla." Cars.com adds that “GS and SE hatchbacks sport a fairly typical wedge shape, but with telltale Hyundai curves.”

The interior of the 2009 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.” "Visibility is very good, with the short hood allowing a panoramic view of what's ahead," notes Edmunds about the openness of the design.

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2009 Hyundai Accent

Performance

A few more horsepower would do everything but hurt the performance of the 2009 Hyundai Accent.

Reviewers are generally positive about the 2009 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 they “encourage surprisingly spirited driving.”

According to ConsumerGuide, the 2009 Hyundai Accent offers two different powertrains, a "5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission." Edmunds isn't impressed with the automatic option, claiming "lackluster acceleration."

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.

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."

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2009 Hyundai Accent

Comfort & Quality

The 2009 Hyundai Accent has a more comfortable, better-built interior than many drivers would suspect, but there's still room for improvement.

The 2009 Hyundai Accent provides adequate comfort and quality for budget-minded drivers. 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, the seats are fairly comfortable, and even the rear seating area offers plenty of leg-, head-, and shoulder room for an average adult male. And while it's no luxury car, the 2009 Hyundai Accent's interior looks good and feels durable.

While TheCarConnection.com tested an Accent with some ill-fitting dash trim, Kelley Blue Book feels the 2009 Hyundai "Accent's interior materials are consistent with its price.” And Car and Driver says, with the Accent, Hyundai is "successfully emulating the quality of cars a couple classes up the price ladder."

ConsumerGuide notes that the two-door’s "sloping roofline limits headroom," but this is to be expected in most hatchbacks. Cars.com contends 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."

The 2009 Accent, Hyundai receives kudos in reviews read by TheCarConnection.com for its user-friendliness. MyRide.com likes the "large, well-positioned climate control knobs" and the "eight-way adjustable" driver's seat. Kelley Blue Book offers a few complaints, calling attention to a "too-stiff temperature dial" and the ashtray that looks like "an odd removable cup."

Quietness of the 2009 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."

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2009 Hyundai Accent

Safety

Safety is no reason to consider the 2009 Hyundai Accent, but it might be a reason to dismiss it.

The 2009 Hyundai Accent isn't tremendously impressive with respect to safety, and even though side airbags are now standard, Hyundai still skimps on anti-lock brakes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tests the four-door version but not the three-door model. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also tests the Accent, and Hyundai may have reason for concern. Frontal crash protection is rated "acceptable," while side impact protection is deemed "poor."

"The 2009 Hyundai Accent sedan scored a perfect five stars for front occupant protection," but "didn't fare as well in the side-impact category," is how Edmunds sums up reviewer sentiments. Still, ConsumerGuide notes that the Hyundai Accent "one-ups most subcompact rivals" in terms of safety—a statement that TheCarConnection.com's editors would dispute.

According to ConsumerGuide, the Hyundai Accent offers "anti-lock 4-wheel disc brakes" for the GLS model and makes it standard on the SE hatchback, but unavailable on the GS. Cars.com lists "seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags" as "standard across all trim levels" of the 2009 Hyundai Accent. 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," yet the Accent also doesn't fare well in the seat-based IIHS rear-impact test, with an overall score of Poor.

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2009 Hyundai Accent

Features

The 2009 Hyundai Accent offers a meager selection of standard features, but SE and GLS trims are more appealing.

The base Hyundai Accent 2009 can't be optioned with much. Most features are optional on the other trims; outfitted with fog lights, a CD player, XM Satellite Radio, and tire pressure monitors, a 2009 Hyundai Accent SE stickers in the $14,000 range.

For 2009, cruise control is added to Popular Equipment Package, and cruise control and a sunroof join the Accent SE Premium Package

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 also points out "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 the following: "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.

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February 20, 2015
For 2009 Hyundai Accent

This is the first car that I"ve purchased that won't start when it's cold.

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I wish I would have shopped around before purchasing this vehicle. I am not impressed. Probably my worst investment.
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