2008 Hyundai Accent Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Hyundai Accent Hatchback

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Hyundai Accent Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.6 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 110 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 27/32 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Hyundai Accent

  • It may not be the sportiest compact available, but the well-rounded 2008 Hyundai Accent provides a lot of car for the money.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Simple design, supportive seats, quiet highway ride, respectable handling and brakes, standard head curtain airbags, long warranty coverage.

  • Cons

    Lackluster acceleration with automatic transmission, harsh ride over irregular surfaces, no cruise control, disappointing safety scores.

  • What's New for 2008

    After gaining a two-door hatchback body style last year, the Hyundai Accent heads into 2008 with minor detail changes and reshuffled content.

Full 2008 Hyundai Accent Review

What's New for 2008

After gaining a two-door hatchback body style last year, the Hyundai Accent heads into 2008 with minor detail changes and reshuffled content.


Prior to its redesign two years ago, the Hyundai Accent was an easily overlooked economy car. It had an outstanding warranty and an affordable price, but compromised performance and handling kept it from joining the compact leaders. All that changed with the third-generation overhaul, which provided the Accent with a responsive new engine and accompanying performance boost that enabled the Hyundai to keep up with its leading rivals.

An Edmunds "Most Wanted Sedan Under $15,000" last year, the Hyundai Accent's solid entry-level value continues in 2008 with minor upgrades inside that include revised instrument panels on SE hatchbacks and GLS sedans. Cash-poor enthusiasts will want to check out the SE trim as it delivers more inspiring performance thanks to sport-tuned chassis components and a new B&M sport shifter for the manual transmission.

The 2008 Hyundai Accent is certainly one of the better economy-minded cars available. True, it faces stiff competition from models such as the sporty Honda Fit, the well-equipped Nissan Versa and the youthful Toyota Yaris. On the domestic side, Ford's freshened Focus might also deserve a look. Overall, though, the entry-level Hyundai Accent remains a sensible and value-filled economy car in which to face the daily grind.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Hyundai Accent is a five-passenger compact that comes in three trim levels: GS, SE and GLS. The GS and SE are two-door hatchbacks, while the GLS is available in sedan form only. The base GS model is one of the least expensive new cars sold in America, though it achieves that through a minimal amount of content. Features for the GS include 14-inch steel wheels, an eight-way adjustable driver seat and a 60/40-split rear seatback. Air-conditioning, power mirrors and windows, keyless entry and a CD/MP3 audio system with satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack are optional.

The Accent SE hatchback gains the GS's optional features as standard; it also comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, foglamps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter and a rear center armrest with cupholders. A sunroof is an exclusive option. The Accent GLS sedan gets air-conditioning and the audio system as standard; full power accessories and 15-inch alloy wheels are optional. Additional performance-oriented, audio and styling accessories are available through the dealer.

Powertrains and Performance

Every Hyundai Accent comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine delivering 110 horsepower and 106 pound-feet of torque. Transferring power to the front wheels is a standard five-speed manual transmission, with a four-speed automatic available across the lineup. Performance and fuel economy are competitive with similarly equipped rivals, with 2008 EPA estimates ranging from 27 mpg city and 32 mpg highway with the five-speed manual to 24/33 mpg with the optional automatic transmission.


Unusual for a vehicle in this segment, all models include standard front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Antilock brakes are standard on SE coupes and optional on GLS sedans. In government frontal-impact crash tests, the 2008 Hyundai Accent sedan scored a perfect five stars for front occupant protection. It didn't fare as well in the side-impact category, with four stars for front occupant protection and three stars for rear-seat passengers. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Accent scored a second-highest "Acceptable" rating for frontal-offset collisions and a "Poor" ranking in side-impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside, the Accent's design is simple and functional. The quality of materials is acceptable, and the Accent's cabin provides a comfortable atmosphere with a feeling of spaciousness from the driver seat. Outward visibility is very good, with the short hood allowing a panoramic view of what's ahead. Hyundai likes to boast that the Accent provides more interior volume than a Honda Civic. If you plan on carrying passengers in the back, keep in mind that the Versa and Yaris hatchbacks offer more rear-seat legroom. Cargo room is average for its class, with more than 12 cubic feet in the sedan and nearly 16 cubic feet in the hatchback.

Driving Impressions

Though it certainly can't be considered quick, the 2008 Hyundai Accent performs capably, without too much protest from under the hood. On smooth roads, the ride is calm and forgiving on GS and GLS models, while the performance-oriented SE delivers a firmer driving experience with greater feedback. Though generally pleasant, its ride comfort suffers over bumpy surfaces, as the suspension and steering tend to transmit too much harshness into the cabin. Handling and braking are both respectable, though, with good stability and short stopping distances for a car in this price range.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Very good car

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Hyundai Accent GS 2dr Hatchback w/XM Option (1.6L 4cyl 4A)

Got it new. Now has 110,000KM. Few minor issues that dealer repaired no problem. Overall quality of the car is very good. I would advise to drop it off at the dealer for a full checkup just before warranty runs out. On my car the bracket that holds exhaust pipe rutted out and i did not notice after warranty ran out. I really like the look of the car. I owned 1986 excel, then first and second generation of Accent and now 3rd generation Accent. 3rd generation is almost perfect.

Just purchased

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Vehicle: 2008 Hyundai Accent GS 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

Yes I first decided to test-drive my 2008 Hyundai Accent DS because of the pretty Apple Green color. First stick shift in 10 years; will take getting used to driving standard again. Granted this little car doesn't have power seats/windows/side mirrors. It doesn't have cruise control/tilt wheel. But it does have A/C and a CD player. My former car (2000 Taurus) had all the above except no CD player and the A/C didn't work for 8 years. It handles well and I like the stick-shift; you have more control. I suspect the car will also handle well in the snow because of the stick.

3 of 17 people found this review helpful

Fail car and dealerships

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Vehicle: 2008 Hyundai Accent GS 2dr Hatchback w/XM Option (1.6L 4cyl 4A)

This is the email I just finished writing Hyundai about their 'Accent' and a dealership I am working with! My step-father Dale purchased an 2008, Nordic White, Hyundai Accent from Palmer's Airport Hyundai as a gift for me back in late August early September 2008. I was in an accident in November 2008 where the seat belt snapped out of the safety position, the front end was shoved into the rear cradle suspension, all because the car failed to brake going 10 miles per hour and instead of hitting on coming traffic I swerved still hitting the brakes that did not work into an small median out in front of my place of business. My arm was shoved through the windshield as the air bag deployed late, and was sliced by the seat belt across my chest. I had the car repaired, and because it was new they would not total the car. After several thousand miles of travel to and from Florida on business, I began having transmission problems, the dealership replaced the transmission, and then the alternator went out and was replaced again. Following that 2008-2009 winter, the transmission went out again in the summer, I had the car taken into a different dealership (EASTERN SHORE HYUNDAI) in which the car was not purchased the first time for the the first transmission. Starting in 2008 problems began with the dealership (Palmer's Airport Hyundai). I am writing this because not only did I have an issue with your 'Road side assistance' that I have addressed in a previous E-mail, I have had several issues with the car and the dealership in which the car was purchased from. In 2009 when my transmission and alternator was replaced by the dealership, I lost my job because the dealership would not grant me a rental vehicle. In 2009 I also had issues with the radiator that was not damaged in the above stated crash and the dealership was to replace it. Instead the dealership replaced the hoses on the radiator as it was leaking profusely on to the ground. Again in 2010 following another problem with the car 'the ignition and belt' I had another transmission failure and was replaced for a third time. This time it was taken to Palmer's for the second time for a transmission from this dealership. When I received the car, my gas had been ran out, there was a food receipt that did not belong to me or anyone that I knew, and the AC unit had been re-wired to that when you turned it on hot was cold and cold was hot. Thinking that perhaps the car had no anti-freeze I placed some in the car, low and behold, it was not the anti-freeze, it was the doings of the mechanics at the shop at Palmer's Airport Hyundai. Following the crisscrossed AC unit and transmission issue being taken up with Palmer's Airport Hyundai, I began having brake troubles, even with new brakes where when I went over bumps my car would not stop I had to STAND in my drivers seat and put full weight on the breaks to make the car stop. I took the car into Palmer's and they reported back to me that nothing was wrong with the car. Again the gas in my car was on FULL when it was taken in and when returned to me the GAS was below 3/4 of a tank. Fine, I took the car to FIRESTONE and had brakes and tires replaced and still the car was not grasping the full effect of 'STOP'. At this point I noticed that I did not any longer need to push the release button on my Emergency break that it just all of the sudden comes up. I let it go seeing as how Palmer's kept informing me nothing was wrong with the car. Also in 2010 there was an cylinder miss fire and the car was not firing on all cylinders only three, and a gasket had busted off in the vehicle that took Palmer's nearly 4 weeks to repair, when they informed me it would take a week and they would be able to fix it within the week and release the car to me. Low and behold I waited nearly 4 weeks for my car to be returned to me. Between that time my mother and I both called for check-ups on the car, and nobody could give us a straight answer. 2011 - My step Father signed the car over to me in November and the car was taken back into Palmer's due to a leak and the hoses where repaired and the car was returned to me fine no problems. Following this last visit to Palmer's Airport Hyundai where the CHECK ENGINE LIGHT was on and there was a fluid leak in the vehicle coming from SOMEWHERE that I nor 2 other family members could find out where, TODAY the car was returned to me again with an 'There is no problems with the car.' That was a total Lie. When I started the car in the parking lot of Palmer's Airport Hyundai it began to rattle like a tin can full of marbles. I know this is not normal for my car at all!!!! I started my car down the road heading towards home, and I kept hearing this high pitched noise and it sounded like my car had an JET ENGINE placed inside of the driving compartment. This is not and NEVER was normal for my vehicle. Instead of Palmer's FIXING my vehicle they have once again messed it up. The car was never ran which they stated they did, the gas tank was still on full just as I had left it. I was expecting like normal for the gas in my car to be GONE when I take it into Palmer's. The car now sits in my driveway as we try to think of an alternative to the broken vehicle and I refuse to take it back into Palmer's Airport Hyundai. I am very unsatisfied with the vehicle and I am very unsatisfied by the work that this DEALERSHIP has done. I have never in all my life ever seen so much failure in supposed 'certified technician's ' While the service providers are friendly, they continue to mess up my car. I would seriously like some compensation for this or some sort of alternative from you the company of Hyundai. Im really fed up. Im irritated with the car, I am irritated with the company that SOLD the car too me, and I am irritated with the problems I am having and the 118.00$ they want to charge me for junk they will just mess up again.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

I beat [violative content deleted]

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Hyundai Accent GS 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

I bought it new in 2008 and I beat [violative content deleted] out of this car everytime i drive it. It has bounced off the rev limiter thousands of times. Its screams @ 4500-5000rpm driving down the hwy everyday. I have over 110,000 miles on it now and it runs as good as new. doesn't burn oil or coolant. I still have the original brakes on it and its four years old and it gets smothered in Canadian salty roads 7 months of the year. Bottom line best car ever made nothing fancy but im going to drive this one into the ground and buy a new one no questions asked. I'm a Hyundai owner for life.

Good value

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Hyundai Accent SE 2dr Hatchback w/XM (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

this is not a great car, but it is a good solid well built reliable car. our 5-speed manual averages about 34 mpg per tank full. we have had minor problems: check engine light (loose gas cap?) and tire warning light that kept coming on---dealer said they reset the onboard computer. other than basic oil and filter changes we have had no other expenses in about 3 years of driving.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Cannot bring myself to trade

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Hyundai Accent GS 2dr Hatchback w/XM Option (1.6L 4cyl 4A)

My wife and I bought this car back in June of 2008 and it has been one of the best decisions ever! The little guy, (now known as the General Flea due to its color (tango red) being close to the General Lee and the way I can drive it) has been faithful at every turn. We bought it with 2 miles on the clock and it now has close to 50,000 without any trouble, just gas, some oil, and a couple of airfilters. The transmission at first was rough but I added a more sporting clutch setup and it has alleviated the rough transmission. This car has been known to hit 51mpg on the highway before and usually has a combined city/highway of 36mpg, well above its estimate. Overall great car!

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Gas Mileage


  • 27
  • cty
  • 32
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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