Used 1998 Hyundai Accent Hatchback

1998 Hyundai Accent
List price range
1998 Hyundai Accent


  • One of the least expensive modes of transportation on the road. Hyundais are more reliable than you think.


  • Interior upholstery can be unnatractive. Strange rear end.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

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.

However, you've got to pay for excellence, and the Accent is among the more expensive subcompacts. In contrast, a Chevrolet Metro sedan is a tad less pricey than the Accent. There is a reason for this: 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 Chevy. Is the Hyundai worth the additional $400 over the Metro? Absolutely! The Metro feels a bit roomier, but the Accent offers more equipment and feels more solidly constructed than the tinny Chevrolet.

Unfortunately for Hyundai, another South Korean automaker has entered the U.S. market, expanding rapidly during the past couple of years. Kia builds the Sephia sedan, and it is larger and more powerful than the Hyundai. The Sephia can be loaded to the gills for little more than the Accent, and looks more expensive than it really is in top-level trim.

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.

1998 Highlights

The Accent GSi replaces the Accent GT this year. New front and rear fascias, and new engine mounts, which reduce engine vibration and harshness, are the only other changes to Hyundai's smallest car.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1998 Hyundai Accent.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

100,000+ NO PROBLEMS ! Still Going!!
This car has been no trouble. For less than 5 years old and 100000 + its been great. I have replace tires once, spark plugs once. Regular oil changes. This car has never been serviced other then what was mentioned. I have driven this car hard the whole time. (Shifting at 5500 rpms most of the time) If it can endure me like this car has I call it either a fluke or a great car. This car was in Minnesota for 4 years of its life and was wonderful in the snow.
My first car, and 7 years later I may get another (99 accent)
My very first car, 1998 Hyundai Accent hatchback. I used an abused this car. Got it used with 80k and drove it up and down California; constantly going form Sacramento to San Diego and back and had 130k at the end. I'd rally, race, 130MPH on the freeway (downhill); I abused it. Only repair ever needed was a clutch replacement. I was a dumb 18 year old and at 19 I got rid of the car (junk yard) due to crashing it two times. My neglect, not the cars, it even drove to the junk yard. The hood wouldn't shut all the way from when I smacked into a curb doing 45mph, and the radiator was leaking due to rust from me never putting coolant in it, but just tap water. I wish I treated it better! :(
Winter Beater
I bought this car at 284 000km , it has done its time , i paid 400$ only as a winter car. I have a RWD 320hp car in the summer , but i really like driving the Accent , there's no performance to it really , i have it as a 5spd manual and i really love it , it heats quick , handles corners well , so overall for a 1998 and the kms that's on it it doesn't burn oil and its tough.
A good car at first
A good car at first, but then started to have major problems after 3 1/2 years of having it. The transmission went out. Right now I am looking to get a more reliable vehicle. My advice to whoever buys this car is to buy the new ones that is "1999 and up with the warranty of 100,000 miles for 10 years, whichever comes first. Do not buy this car that does not have that warranty because you will be in the same sort of situation I am currently in.
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Features & Specs

25 city / 33 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
92 hp @ 5500 rpm
25 city / 33 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
92 hp @ 5500 rpm
25 city / 33 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
92 hp @ 5500 rpm
See all Used 1998 Hyundai Accent Hatchback features & specs


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1998 Hyundai Accent
More About This Model

My first car was a 1973 Dodge Challenger. My uncle gave it to me for a nominal sum and the promise that I would never sully his carport with its oil-leaking carcass once I had the title in my name. On this car I learned the basics of automotive repair and maintenance. I also learned that nothing, not even the enthusiastic efforts of a 17-year-old boy, can make a Chrysler product run when it decides that it is going to give up the ghost. The Challenger lasted about seven months.

Having learned nothing from my experience with the Challenger, I decided to purchase a 1983 Plymouth Horizon with 85,000 miles on the odometer from a friend who was moving on to bigger and better cars. The fact that the Plymouth had been missing a rear window for several months, thereby creating a permanent portal which cats could climb through and give birth to their kittens, was not enough to dissuade me from this purchase. The Horizon was the car I took to college.

The Horizon lasted about 14 months. During that time I suffered through a dramatic engine fire, a failed master cylinder, a failed electrical system, a boom box wedged between the front seats for music, a capricious air conditioner and the nagging concern that dates would be turned off by my car's Humane Society odor. The final straw came during a fine Arizona spring day when the Horizon decided that it was not going to make any more trips to mom's house for laundry. While driving through downtown Phoenix, I heard a sharp metallic crunch accompanied by a sensation that something had just fallen off the car. To my surprise, pressing the gas pedal failed to result in forward motion. Knowing that something was seriously amiss, I coasted the Horizon into a lonely dirt lot that was home to a hearse sitting on four flat tires. My girlfriend at the time inquired if there was anything wrong. I said that everything was under control and that she should just sit tight. I stepped out of the car and was surprised to see much of my transmission laying at the intersection of Central and McDowell. Thankfully, it was Sunday, so the traffic was light enough for me to scramble into the road to drag what I could back to the Horizon. Upon hoisting it into the Horizon's hatchback, I informed my girlfriend that we would be having lunch at Phoenix's famed Spaghetti Company restaurant, conveniently located next to the dirt field that served as a parking lot for my transmission-less Horizon and the flat-footed hearse.

The moral of the story is that owning a used car can be a real pain. After calculating how much money I'd spent on purchasing the Challenger and Horizon, keeping them running, and finally paying to have them towed away to the wrecking yard, I figure that I could have almost paid for a lease on a new vehicle. Nothing ostentatious, just something reliable and comfortable to get me around during the hot months in Phoenix, when riding a mountain bike to work is just unbearable. Something like that is available today, and Hyundai sells it.

When I was in school Hyundai didn't sell anything worth buying. I had a few friends who had the misfortune of acquiring an Excel from their parents as high school graduation gifts, who were so disgusted after a few months of nagging trips to the dealer service center that they eyed my combustible Horizon with envy. Things have changed at Korea's biggest car company, however, and Hyundai now peddles some pretty decent vehicles to its U.S. customers.

The least expensive Hyundai available in the United States is the Accent. Available as a three-door hatchback or four-door sedan, the Accent comes with a 12-valve SOHC four-cylinder engine that makes 92 horsepower at a somewhat breathless 5,500 rpm and 97 foot-pounds of torque at a lofty 4,000 rpm. No one would call the engine powerful, but it is zippy enough to move this 2,100-pound car around town with pep. The Accent that we drove had a base sticker of $10,334. With a few items tacked on to make this bargain-basement car more comfortable, the sticker still stayed under $11,500, less than half of the average transaction price of a new car in America.

In addition to the engine and jaw-dropping price, the Accent GS comes equipped with a five-speed manual shifter, four-wheel independent suspension, power rack-and pinion steering, front and rear stabilizer bars, five-mph bumpers, rear window defroster, rear window wiper, split-folding rear seat and AM/FM stereo with cassette. This made our Accent test car look like an outstanding value right out of the box, because many of these items have to be purchased as options on competitors like the Chevrolet Metro and Honda Civic hatchback.

Unlike the aforementioned Metro and long-dead Excel, the Accent is fun to drive. Its free-revving engine is easy to wind up and its sharp steering makes it easy for this subcompact to weave through traffic. The brakes on our test car didn't feature ABS (an automatic transmission is required for that), but they did provide adequate stopping power, even after a demanding workout on a country road. Complaints about the driving experience centered on the Accent's vague and rubbery shifter, which has an impossibly long throw from first to second gear. After a week with the Accent, I was still missing shifts.

One of the best things about the Accent is its ease of maneuverability. A good seating position allows a driver of any height to see out of the car's large windows. The stubby front and rear overhangs and tight turning circle afforded by the Accent's 94.5-inch wheelbase make it incredibly easy to park in crowded parking structures.

However, the Accent's fine city manners don't translate well to freeway driving. The engine in our test model was not strong enough to quell this driver's fear of passing slow moving traffic on two lane roads, and climbing hills at freeway speeds can best be described as an exercise in futility. Several times I found myself reaching for the shift knob for a quick downshift of torque, only to find that doing so would place the car in first gear.

The interior of the Accent is quite nice for a car in this price class. Well-marked controls are easy to locate and operate and the stereo is placed logically above the climate controls in the center stack. Seat materials are sporty and grippy and the seats themselves exhibit adequate support during spirited driving. We wish, however, that the Accent's cupholders were able to accommodate larger drinks. We had to be content with our medium-size Evian bottle rolling around in the passenger footwell on one curvy part of our test; it just wouldn't fit in the slot designed by Hyundai. We were happy with the cargo carrying abilities of our test car. Our hatchback was able to swallow big loads with ease, especially when we folded the rear seats.

Hyundai has come a long way in the last few years, and the Accent is one of the best value statements that the company has ever made. Cute and friendly, reliable and cheap, the Accent is one of the best cars for customers on a budget to look into. Why didn't they have these things for sale when I was in school?

Used 1998 Hyundai Accent Hatchback Overview

The Used 1998 Hyundai Accent Hatchback is offered in the following styles: GS 2dr Hatchback, GSi 2dr Hatchback, and L 2dr Hatchback.

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Should I lease or buy a 1998 Hyundai Accent?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Hyundai lease specials
Check out Hyundai Accent lease specials