What's New for 1996
Hyundai is painting the Accent in some new colors this year, and height-adjustable seatbelt anchors are standard. Front and rear center consoles with cupholders debut, and optional air conditioning is now CFC-free. A new 105-horsepower GT hatch debuted midyear.
What a pleasant surprise from Hyundai. If the latest Sonata hinted at the direction the company was to take in the future, then the Accent is an in-your-face declaration from this Korean manufacturer that the days of selling shoddy, inept vehicles in the United States are over. The Accent is one of the better subcompacts in today's market.
We looked at an Accent sedan with automatic transmission. The sticker price was just over $11,200, and that bottom line included the autobox, dual airbags, cassette stereo, power steering and side impact protection that meets 1997 standards. Air conditioning would add another $900.
In contrast, a similarly-equipped Geo Metro sedan would run $10,960. However, the Metro doesn't come standard with such niceties as rear window defogger, cargo area lighting, remote releases for the fuel door and trunk, or digital clock. Additionally, the Accent benefits from single-piece side stampings, which contribute to stiffer body rigidity, and a 92 horsepower engine that far outranks the top-line 70 horse motor provided in the Geo. Is the Hyundai worth the additional money? Absolutely! The Metro feels a bit roomier, but the Accent is so much better that there really is no comparison.
Aside from the putrid seat fabrics, childish paint schemes and funky smell associated with all new Hyundais, we like the Accent quite a bit. It's a great set of budget wheels, without the budget engineering or the budget equipment levels. Check this one out.