Monday, December 3, 2012

Used Car Review - Hyundai Accent (2006-2010)

Santa to Myk Belmonte: Give me your first pick, preferably a sedan that meets my criteria. So, jolly old fellow, this is the first car that your ultimate used car guide would give to you. Read this one first and you still have 22 days to go before deciding.

2006-2010 Hyundai Accent

Let's go back to history with a big question. Who could remember the Hyundai Excel? If I were to answer it, I don't since they are becoming rare in the roads with the remaining units transporting lower income souls or students who are contented with cheap wheels. Neither Santa from years of giving toys to children from one to 92 can spot this vehicle while on duty in Uzbekistan and the inner provinces of Russia. Many of them are ending their lives in vehicle junk yards in South Korea, Canada, United States, and the United Kingdom. It was good riddance when it was discontinued in 1994 while the Philippines had to stick with it until 1998.

So, let's jump to the year 1995 in which a magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit Japan, Windows 95 was released, and Hyundai launched the Accent to get rid of the bad memories from the Excel. The vehicle, as always, is one of the popular Hyundai vehicles around since it is marketed around the world under the current name (except in South Korea which uses the Verna name). So, the third generation Accent with the platform code MC was sold between 2006-2011 was a step up in terms of quality, refinement, and styling.

Hyundai Asia Resources Incorporated needed a budget sedan in the line-up sometime in 2005 (we can't consider the Matrix and Getz since they are hatchbacks) so they decided to add the Accent in the range in 2006. If the direct competitors had been popular among private consumers, the Accent found a niche market, the taxi and fleet buyers. Taxi and fleet operators had the chance to buy them brand new up to 2010, with the RB Accent replacing it the following year and didn't have the salable diesel engine. Variants available include the fleet favorite GL and the top end GLS.

Value and Costs
Seeking a fuel efficient and durable car for your daily grind to work? Place the Accent on your shopping list especially that under P500,000 you can get a car that consumes less gas and has more space than a brand new hatchback. If possible, scrutinize the unit well if it performed taxi duties especially that the turbo in the engine got abused.

Maintaining one does not result to a hole in your wallet or give you the need to skip meals for a month. However, keep an eye with the engine if problems abound it and a weakness among Korean vehicles, the suspension system. The latter, based on my interview with taxi drivers before, is not an expensive fix but given the road conditions here, it would be wise to replace them after signing the dotted line. By the way, fill the Accent up at gasoline stations with new stocks of diesel fuel to avoid contamination.

Exterior and Interior
Soft is the word to describe the Accent's styling, with numerous smooth lines abound. Let's shall review the front portion with the expansive headlights going with the flow in a smooth manner into the hood line, which is surrounded by a grille that is attractive. It goes well until the rear portion, with the designers made it a hybrid of a sedan and a hatchback. But still, it does not look polarizing nor offensive.

The interior debunks the vehicle's price, in which the materials used are of high quality and you can mistaken it for something made in Europe. Notice the dashboard, which is covered in matte that covers the lighter lower half. Buttons and controls are easier to manipulate and within the reach of the driver. While most people are accustomed with manual transmission shifters with the reverse gear on the lower right portion, the Accent's is located in the upper left, beside the first gear. Before buying the Accent, take time to practice reversing by pulling the ring and place it in reverse. In this case, Santa would love the fold down seats (present in the GLS trim) to stuff his toys while in ordinary days he can tag three more friends for a trip, since five people is a tight fit.

Worldwide, three engines are available for the Accent but only one managed to reach Philippine shores. That engine is a 1,493cc D diesel engine which produces 110hp at 4,000rpm and 244Nm at 1,900-2,750rpm. Don't worry, this is a common rail diesel engine with a variable geometry turbocharger (which you can see in the Mitsubishi Montero Sport). Drive it prudently (shift at 1,500rpm) and it will give you decent fuel efficiency, but unleash the Tasmanian devil in you (go beyond 2,000rpm) and you can beat those V6 powered Camrys and Accords at nighttime thanks to the lighter weight.

Driving Impressions
If you dream of a sports car at affordable prices with the practicality of a sedan, the Accent is for you. Let's deal with the positives, the driving experience  starts with a smooth off-the-line response with the ability to drive a gear higher than its gasoline counterparts. However, there are some spoilers. The suspension is more comfort biased, steering does not provide any feedback at all, and the while braking is excellent, it does not get any confidence from the engine. Still, a fun to drive and an efficient car your money can purchase.

They say that if you want to sell, you must be different. And different from the competition it is, the Accent proved to be a reliable partner for taxi drivers and fleet managers for its diesel engine, the selling point. However, there are flaws that the Accent exhibits such as the numb steering, the absence of ABS brakes and airbags, and the awkward transmission; but learn to live with it and you'll love it more.

Santa Says
Hey! I like the diesel engine and the fold down seats since if i'm driving in tight places such as the numerous cities in Europe and Asia. The diesel mover is great since I can save on money for fuel which I can feed on my seven reindeer. The lifeless steering is a turnoff since I'm a sporty but naughty guy (in the streets) since I love to toy around. For the price, it is a steal and a nice gift to me but as a sleigh, I'll pass this offer, I find this car small.

The Good: 
  • Very fast
  • Fuel sipper
  • Tons of units to choose from
The Bad:
  • Lifeless steering
  • Don't mistake this for a luxury car
  • Why U no offer an airbag??!!
The Pick: If you could spot a GLS variant, go. Otherwise, GL is decent enough

Engine: 1,493cc D I4 diesel
Power: 110hp @ 4,000rpm
Torque: 244Nm @ 1,900-2,750rpm
Fuel Consumption: 12-14km/L (city), 15-19km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear torsion-beam axle multilink

Price (New): P690,000-P768,000 (range from 2006-2010)
Price (Now): P380,000-P500,000
Rivals: Toyota Vios, Kia Rio, Honda City, Chevrolet Aveo, Ford Fiesta
On Sale: 2006-2010

Hyundai Quezon Avenue - 374-3911
Hyundai Pasig - 672-3801
Hyundai E. Rodriguez - 727-6396

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