|2000 Hyundai Accent
by Rick Smith
I reviewed the 2000 Hyundai Accent while driving to PC Expo in New York. The distance traveled was over 2,500 miles and I drove in a wide variety of traffic conditions ranging from winding hilly two lane roads through Pennsylvania to the flat divided interstates and toll roads of Illinois and Indiana. The weather conditions ranged from clear, bright daylight to dense fog at night. During the daily commutes (5) to PC Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, I experienced the early morning rush hour traffic from New Jersey to New York through the Holland Tunnel and lighter commute traffic at midnight returning back to New Jersey. I also drove around New York during Saturday traffic and went through Manhattan, the Village, Tribeca, UN area and Harlem.
Through most of the trip the vehicle was fully packed with travel and technology gear but there was still free space once packed. The trunk accommodated an astonishing amount of bags and bulky items, while the rear seat area handled the suits and shirts via an "Bill Smith engineered" hanger rod built for the occasion. On the floor in the rear was the on-board refrigerator and 110vac power module capable of running a laptop with GPS and several battery chargers. Other useful space used included the passenger foot tunnel to store the empty Targus laptop bag and trash. On the seat behind me, I placed the large camera bag and a pillow.
Ergonomically, the front seats were quite comfortable and the positioning of driver controls were quite good, although I missed having a cruise control. The front, side, and rear visibility was also quite good via mirrors, but with the clothes rack in the back, backing up via a head turn was hard and I used my power mirrors. Leg space was very good and the only problem I encountered was my leg resting against the opened cup holder. If I didn't place my leg carefully, I would rest against a small protrusion (the front of the cupholder). After hours of driving, my leg got sore. If the cupholder wasn't extended it was OK, but I wanted to have a cool iced tea available at all times. My suggestion is to have a small pad that you could attach via Velcro to the accelerator/brake tunnel area that extends over the extended cupholder. This was the only problem I found with the vehicle.
Vehicle performance under full load conditions on the trip was great - while this car is not a performance vehicle, it could hold its own in New York traffic and was nimble and agile on off ramps. Performance on the interstate highways was also quite good and the vehicle's top end could exceed most speed limits. The vehicle has an estimated fuel economy of about 20 MPG.
Road holding and handling were noted to be good in the hilly areas of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The vehicle braking, while being heavily loaded was fine, just make sure to NEVER put anything on the dash - it will quickly fall off during quick acceleration.
Engine, road and wind noise was good at low speeds and at highway speeds. Truck wind buffeting during passing was never a problem. I also felt I was in complete control of the vehicle at all times - it was a joy to drive.
Cup holders were fine for small drinks, but not for the "big gulps". I made sure that the cups and bottles for the trip fit beforehand.
Surprises included a CD player, but I did not bring any CDs with me on the trip. The unique location of the tweeters in the mirror area was clever and added to the excellent sound quality of the radio. Controls were very easy to program and use WITHOUT having to read the manual.
The air conditioning system was very efficient. I am one of those people that likes to have the window open (even on cold days), but even I had to turn the down Arctic blast that the Accent could muster. There was plenty of adjustment all the way down to a soft cool breeze.
Further refinement and improvements for consideration would include a slightly faster idle speed which I feel would reduce interior sound at idle and produce less vibration.
The use of basic technology to enhance longer distance travel could include on-board GPS. This would free up the seat. The cigarette lighter was positioned quite well to provide power for my refrigerator.
For the money, the Hyundai Accent provides good/excellent fuel economy and good leg room for long distance traveling. Jim stopped by a Hyundai dealer and will be reporting on his experience.
At the end of the day, the Hyundai Accent proved to be a great looking vehicle at a very affordable price. No major mechanical problems were encountered. Future areas of refinement would include solving the left leg / cupholder issue. You must remember that this is a sub $10,000 vehicle which is designed for basic, comfortable safe transportation but the less optioned competition is impressive and continues to refine and reprice its products. Now, for an extra $5000 and less luggage, one could get the new smart looking Hyundai Tiburon sports car. However, that's another review and story.
Dated: August 23, 2000