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Despite a great warranty and good build quality, we'd probably tell our friends to get a slightly used Japanese car instead. This may not be the case for long if Hyundai maintains its upward trajectory, though.
Smooth and quiet ride, roomy interior, impressive powertrain warranty.
Boring styling, lack of horsepower.
The Accent has been completely redesigned for the 2000 model year.
Hyundai is on a mission to reinvent itself in the minds of the American car-buying public. After a rocky period in the early '90s that had people saying, "Hyundais sure are inexpensive...and you get what you pay for," the company has unleashed several winners in a row. The Elantra offers impressive power and utility for its class, the Sonata is a roomy and well-built midsize sedan, and the Tiburon, uh, well, the Tiburon is a unique piece of work. Additionally, all new Hyundais come with an impressive 10 year/100,000-mile drivetrain warranty.
The 2000 Accent is further proof of the "New Hyundai." The car has been redesigned from the ground up and offers a larger cabin, refined engine, smoother ride and better handling. It's also got a new look that is supposed to be both contemporary and conservative. We're not too sure about its new look, but as one of the 180 countries in which Hyundai hopes to sell the Accent, our opinion doesn't really matter much, does it?
What does matter is that this new Accent is larger in almost every way. Wheelbase, overall length, and overall width have all been increased, giving the Accent improved legroom, headroom and hip room. The interior features a modular instrument pod and a clean, simple center stack with climate and radio controls. Rear seat heating and ventilation ducts help keep backseat riders comfortable and the use of noise reduction material in the A- and B-pillars gives the Accent a quieter ride. The driver seat features adjustments for height and rake, as well as fore and aft settings.
Three versions of the Accent are available. The base L and midlevel GS come in hatchback mode while the highline GL model occurs only in sedan form. Options range from power windows and air conditioning to heated mirrors and a CD player.
Under the Accent's bulbous bodywork sits a MacPherson strut independent front suspension and a dual link rear suspension. Stabilizer bars at both ends control excessive lean while the use of hydraulic engine mounting means reduced noise, vibration and harshness. The Accent can be ordered with optional ABS and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), which monitors weight distribution within the vehicle to improve ABS effectiveness during quick stops. Additional safety features include depowered airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners, reinforced A-and B-pillars and dual side-impact beams.
The base engine remains a 1.3-liter four-cylinder with a larger 1.5-liter optional. The larger engine drags the Accent to 60 mph in just over 11 seconds, if equipped with the five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic is available in either the GS Coupe or the GL Sedan, but we stopped timing zero-to-60 acceleration, with this transmission, after 14 seconds.
Hyundai has made great strides in the last three years and we're cautiously gaining respect for its products. In a world of Kias, Daewoos and used Hondas, the new Accent has plenty to offer. If its engine could clear the 100-horsepower barrier, it would have even more.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.