2008 Hyundai Accent SE


The simplicity of the exterior design carries over to the interior, where you'll find that the controls are predictably placed and intuitive to use. Three large knobs manage the climate control, while the radio interface's equally safe design appears a bit dated. It may all be easy to use, but the Accent falls far short of the Honda Fit's stylish interior.

With touches of silver, our car's gray and black interior was attractive enough. But the plastics are hard and cheap feeling, especially in the door-mounted armrests, which bruise elbows. The steering wheel's thin rim and plastic feel contradict the fact that it's actually wrapped in leather. We did, however, like the look and feel of the leather-wrapped shifter. Our first impression of the firm seats was that they were more baseball bleacher than La-Z-Boy, but over time they proved to be quite comfortable even on long trips.

Accessing the rear seats can be a bit tricky, but once in back, passengers still have enough leg room for in-town travel without complaining. The 60/40 split folding rear seat also works well with the hatch to create a large cargo area. We easily stacked the car with a large tent and several bags of gear and still had plenty of room to stand up a bike (with front wheel and seat removed).

The Accent's list of standard equipment is what we've come to expect of subcompacts: power windows, locks and mirrors; keyless entry; air conditioning and a CD player. There's also the full salvo of safety equipment including six air bags, anti-lock brakes and a tire pressure monitoring system.

As an early 2008 model, our Accent lacked an auxiliary audio input and satellite radio, two features that are quickly becoming mandatory fare in this segment. Hyundai has since added the equipment as standard on SE hatchbacks and all sedans (and raised the starting price by about $200).

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