Hyundai Accent Hatchback (99 - 03)
  • Hyundai Accent Hatchback (99 - 03)
  • Hyundai Accent Hatchback (99 - 03)
Used Hyundai Accent Hatchback 1999 - 2003 review
Star rating

What's the used Hyundai Accent hatchback like?

Too big to be a supermini, yet not quite a small family hatchback, the Accent sits awkwardly between the accepted class categories. But, less of an issue is that it is well equipped, with good space in the front cabin and the boot, although the rear is a squeeze for adults.

Its big attraction is that it's cheap to buy after a couple of years, thanks to scary depreciation from new. But, it was never a big seller as a new car, so it's scarce on the second-hand market, and usually offered by franchised dealers or private sellers. You can find the occasional cosseted, one-owner low-miler, but others take a battering and receive little servicing.


Other than its sheer low cost, the Accent has little on its side

  • The Accent is cheap to buy and well equipped
  • All models are tough and practical
  • It's noisy, and handling is poor
  • Good used Accents are thin on the ground

Mind you, even the best examples are uninspiring to drive, with an unpleasant slackness about the steering and gearshift. At least the 1.6 petrol engine is powerful enough.

You may be attracted also by its five-year warranty, but don't go thinking it'll solve all your problems, because cover reduces dramatically for years four and five.

Advice for buyers

What should I look for in a used Hyundai Accent hatchback?

Hyundai has earned a regular slot in the What Car? Reliability Index's top 10 manufacturers, and the good news is that the Accent scores above average for the make.

When it does go wrong, electrical faults are the most common, followed by problems with the axles and suspension. Repairs to the brakes come next, followed by cooling and heating system troubles.

Engine faults are rare, although gearbox problems plague older models from 2000-2002. Later ones have so far escaped.

Many don't get the servicing they should, and it's low-milers that suffer, so check for scored brake discs, clogged radiators and gunk under the oil filler cap that warns of head gasket leaks. Remember also that skipped intervals invalidate that five-year warranty.

Finally, rust can nibble at the rear wheelarches and also the bonnet and front wings if stone chips are left untended.

What are the most common problems with a used Hyundai Accent hatchback?

Is a used Hyundai Accent hatchback reliable?

Ownership cost

What used Hyundai Accent hatchback will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Hyundai Accent hatchback?

Day-to-day, it'll be cheap to run, especially as even the youngest cars have already suffered the worst effects of depreciation.

Insurance groups are low - group 3 for the 1.3s, group 5 for the diesel and group 6 for the 1.6s. All are economical, the diesel coming out best with up to 56mpg overall, the 1.3 petrol with 47mpg and the 1.6 with an impressive 42mpg.

Servicing is cheap, too, while the What Car? Reliability Index shows the average cost of repairing an Accent is remarkably low, making it cheaper than most to fix.

Our recommendations

Which used Hyundai Accent hatchback should I buy?

Pick from two trim levels and three engines.

The GSi has twin front airbags, alloy wheels, a CD player, remote locking doors and electric windows, while the CDXi adds side airbags, a trip computer and air-conditioning.

We'd go for the top model. This cost £2000 extra from new but will scarcely be any dearer two years on.

Turning to the engines, the 1.6 is the one to have, because it shifts the car well, but remains economical. The 1.3 in cheaper Accents needs working hard and kicks up a racket as it does so.

Your other choice is a 1.5 diesel, which is also noisy and delivers most of its power across a narrow rev band, making it awkward and unpleasant to drive.

An automatic gearbox is available, but only on the 1.6 CDXi, which is the dearest model, so it's not an option many new owners took - and very rare on the used amarket as a result.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Hyundai Accent hatchback?