Best car I've ever owned. 133,000 miles, 40 mpg, yes 40! on the highway. I checked it 3 times! No oil burn. Only service issue was the rear brake cylinders which Hyundai happily replaced. Have to service the car every 7,500 miles and due the proper maintenance. Make sure you change the timing belt at 90,000, and if you have an auto transmission, it has to be serviced every 30,000. Don't be shy to buy one used, if it's the 5 speed manual. I'm sure ours will go at least 250,000.
I bought my Accent L new in early 2003. It was a carryover 2002 model, so an additional $500 was taken off of the already low $9,495 window sticker. I was not after a car with a lot of bells & whistles... in fact, I liked that it was a bare bones base model as I felt there would be far less to wear out when it got older. 13 years later I have 77,000 miles on it & can truthfully say it's been the most reliable car I've ever had. it's started in -21F with wind chills of near -50F, it's idled in 102 degree heat with the temp gauge never leaving the midway point. It handles decent on wet roads, fair in the snow, & excellent on dry pavement. I have done very little to it except routine maintenance, which I have done everything at their recommended intervals. The engine is smooth, I can shift the 5 speed manual transmission with one finger, & the original paint looks like new yet. The only items I have had wear poorly are the shifter boot, the door panels faded very easily, & I am now needing to have the foam rubber inside the drivers seat replaced. The exhaust flex pipe developed a hole in 2010, but it was covered by the 10 year / 100,000 mile warranty. The gas mileage is far above what the window sticker rates it at. I consistently get 40-43 MPG in the Summer & have even topped 50 MPG once on a trip with all highway miles @ 55 MPH. I use Bosch triple platinum plugs, full synthetic oil, & run mid-grade unleaded. I plan to have this car for many years yet.
Let me say it seems like i've been a car a year Im 22 and this is my 5th car (the others were $1000 buckets. I'm in college so reliability was key in my decision. Saw this car at a wholesale dealer for $1800 and jumped at it after I test drove it with only 115,000 miles. I've just got scheduled maintenance on the car and it has been very good to me. The only major (haha) repair has been a corroded flex pipe which make my little car sound like a monster truck (luckily it's a $30 part and got it installed/welded for $60) The inside is clean and standard which I was going for. Upgraded all the speakers they burst when I put a new radio in. All and all good car for me as a college student.
Have had my Accent L for over 6 years now & am about to turn over 39K for mileage. Aside of general maintenance @ specified intervals, I have stuck no additional money into this car. The only problems I've ever had mechanically were a leaky valve cover gasket, & going down hills on colder mornings will occasionally set a P0200 code for a misfire, which quickly corrects itself. Interior wise, I've gone through 3 shifter boots, & the fresh air / recirculating air level cable has binded on me twice. It's started in -27 degrees without a hitch & has idled in near 100 degree heat with the gauge never leaving the centerpoint. I have hit 48-50 MPG on long highway trips.
After having this car die, and getting a trashy junker 2000 subaru outback i can say this is the best, but cheapest little car you can get. it has very little put into it interior or electronics wise, but it makes up for all that by having an average of 40 miles to the gallon. which even modern cars have trouble doing. this car is surprisingly good in snow, getting me around in as much as 6 inches of snow as long as i braked real early and kept it in third gear or below. the interior sucks, but i really couldn't care about it since it was my first car. the only big problem is that the car is made for an average sized male, meaning if you are shorter than say 5"5' like me then you're seat belt will always get stuck on the seat back support adjuster. there is no electronic or power anything, my girlfriend hated that dis-feature about this car but seeing all those cars get hacked i liked the dis-feature. this car model has a glitch in the programming that will show the check engine light sometimes, and the problem will read engine cylinder 1 or 2 random failure. leave that be, it's nothing. if you want to do anything switch out the spark plugs and wires, don't go crazy on repairs. the battery hook wires rot off at around 80,000 miles