2009 Hyundai Accent

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
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Safety & Recalls
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Key Specs

of the 2009 Hyundai Accent. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    30 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    110-hp, 1.6-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    5-speed manual w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Gas mileage
  • Easily adjustable driver's seat
  • Price
  • Tolerable backseat space
  • Handling in SE trim level

The Bad

  • Poor crash-test ratings
  • Road and engine noise
  • Low-rent interior
  • Imprecise manual transmission

Notable Features of the 2009 Hyundai Accent

  • 110-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder
  • Manual or automatic
  • Hatchback or sedan
  • Six standard airbags
  • Improved fuel economy estimates

2009 Hyundai Accent Road Test

David Thomas
In a world of economic instability, any new car that can tout a sub-$10,000 starting price has a lot going for it. OK, it has exactly one thing going for it: It's cheap. But that doesn't necessarily mean a horrible driving experience — nor does it mean every trim level of said car is cheap.

That's where the Hyundai Accent fits into the marketplace. It's inexpensive, inoffensive and gets good gas mileage. While that may not sound like a ringing endorsement, the Accent holds its own in a crowded field, and that says a heck of a lot.

I tested a 2009 Accent; 2010 models are arriving at dealerships now with a few changes.

Changes for 2010
The biggest change for the 2010 Accent is its mileage. All trim levels see at least a 1 mpg bump, and the all-new base trim level, called Blue, gets a large jump versus the 2009 base model. The Blue comes only as a two-door hatchback and gets 28/36 mpg city/highway, versus 27/33 mpg for the base 2009 Accent.

Those mileage gains come with no changes to horsepower or torque.

A smaller change is the addition of a standard iPod/USB port for all trim levels. Otherwise, the 2010s should be nearly identical to the 2009 I detail below.

Performance
A horsepower rating of 110 doesn't sound like a lot of power to anyone these days, but it was only a few years ago that a Honda Civic produced only 115 hp. The Accent's four-cylinder never felt underpowered, which says a lot for the little hatchback. It moved nimbly in city d...

In a world of economic instability, any new car that can tout a sub-$10,000 starting price has a lot going for it. OK, it has exactly one thing going for it: It's cheap. But that doesn't necessarily mean a horrible driving experience — nor does it mean every trim level of said car is cheap.

That's where the Hyundai Accent fits into the marketplace. It's inexpensive, inoffensive and gets good gas mileage. While that may not sound like a ringing endorsement, the Accent holds its own in a crowded field, and that says a heck of a lot.

I tested a 2009 Accent; 2010 models are arriving at dealerships now with a few changes.

Changes for 2010
The biggest change for the 2010 Accent is its mileage. All trim levels see at least a 1 mpg bump, and the all-new base trim level, called Blue, gets a large jump versus the 2009 base model. The Blue comes only as a two-door hatchback and gets 28/36 mpg city/highway, versus 27/33 mpg for the base 2009 Accent.

Those mileage gains come with no changes to horsepower or torque.

A smaller change is the addition of a standard iPod/USB port for all trim levels. Otherwise, the 2010s should be nearly identical to the 2009 I detail below.

Performance
A horsepower rating of 110 doesn't sound like a lot of power to anyone these days, but it was only a few years ago that a Honda Civic produced only 115 hp. The Accent's four-cylinder never felt underpowered, which says a lot for the little hatchback. It moved nimbly in city driving and handled itself well on the highway, too.

The Accent felt well-planted at high speeds and was relatively quiet for a car in this class. Besides some loud engine noise, the overall sound level reminded me just how far this class of cars has come in the past 10 years. The ride was pleasant, too. It wasn't too firm, like the Honda Fit, while not being quite as comfortable as a Nissan Versa.

The 2009 Accent SE tested is rated at 27/33 mpg city/highway, and after 220 miles of morning and afternoon commutes through bumper-to-bumper traffic, side streets and suburban sprawl, it registered exactly 31 mpg, which is faithful to the ratings.

The one issue I had with the economy car's performance was the manual transmission in my SE. It's the same stick found in sub-$10,000 base models, and let me tell you, it is one annoying manual.

The clutch itself takes some getting used to, releasing much higher than most drivers would expect. The real issue, though, is the shifter. Each shift between gears is broken up by a huge "clunk" as the stick literally gets stuck mid-throw before reaching the next position in the traditional H pattern. Every single person who drove this car commented on it — with pained expressions. After a long commute, my right elbow was sore from all the hard shifting.

Acceleration in 1st and 2nd gears is quite brisk, and I would even call it enjoyable. If it weren't for the slightly zippier competition in the Yaris and Fit, the Accent's quickness would have come as a bigger shock.

Interior
Because the Accent has gone longer than most of its competition since its last redesign, the interior is definitely behind the others I've already mentioned, but it's about on par with Chevy's tiny Aveo5. If your last memory of a compact hatch is more than five years old, though, the Accent will probably be higher quality than you'd expect.

Although it certainly feels and looks like a sub-$15,000 car, the Accent doesn't feel like a $10,000 car. The dash is well laid out, fit and finish is decent, and there's a lot of space for the driver and front passenger. I managed to fit my son's full-size convertible car seat using the Latch connectors in the backseat. It was snug and kind of hard to get him in and out, but he couldn't manage to kick the back of my seat, which is unusual in small test cars.

My one big gripe with the interior is the flimsy seats, which gave me a sore back about 20 minutes into my 70-minute commute (made so long by summer construction). When I got to my cubicle, my desk chair felt downright therapeutic in comparison. The only plus is the captain's-chair-style armrests, which are a great thought in a car so small that its center console is low on the floor. The Yaris I tested didn't have armrests at all.

Exterior
The two-door hatchback Accent is kind of cute, kind of sporty and a little dorky. Some folks I came across liked it; others just weren't offended by it. The sedan's styling is much more conservative, and overall no one is going to turn their head to look at an Accent. It certainly isn't as striking as a Fit or Yaris.

Cargo
Another surprise was this little car's big cargo area. At 15.9 cubic feet with the rear seats in place, the Accent far surpasses the Yaris' 9.5 cubic feet of cargo volume, and it's not far from the larger, four-door Versa hatchback, which boasts 17.8 cubic feet. The Honda Fit, though, is pretty huge, with 20.6 cubic feet.

I was also able to squeeze two large baby gates into the back — upright, with the backseat down — along with other bulky items filling the rest of the cargo area while running some errands. Later, it swallowed a rather expensive grocery-store run ably, with no need to lower the seats.

Features
The problem with low-cost models like the Accent is that their low advertised price translates to few frills — or even basic amenities. Pricing for the 2010 models starts at the same low $9,970 price of the 2009 base model and both come without air conditioning or a stereo. Our somewhat-loaded SE test car had power windows and, thankfully, air conditioning, along with a pretty decent stereo. It also had larger 16-inch wheels, antilock brakes and a sportier suspension. Its final price was $15,790, including a $720 destination charge.

That's why those low prices are deceiving; while the Honda Fit starts much higher, at $15,610 after a $710 destination charge, it comes standard with almost everything in the SE version I tested.

The Fit is also bigger, more fun to drive and has a vastly superior interior, including comfier seats.

Accent in the market
If all you need is the most basic transportation, a sub-$10,000 Accent might be the right pick for you. But once you reach the full price tag by loading it up with features most buyers expect in any car these days, you're encroaching on territory ruled by Honda and Toyota.

The wild card is likely to be the real-world price, as you're more likely to find a Hyundai with a bigger discount. Current incentives on the Accent are $1,500 cash back on 2009 models and $500 for 2010s (excluding the low-cost base models) through Nov. 2. The Fit rarely, if ever, sees cash-back offers.

Send David an email 



2009 Accent Video

Cars.com's Dave Thomas takes a look at the 2009 Hyundai Accent.

Latest 2009 Accent Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(3.6)
Performance
(4.0)
Interior Design
(3.6)
Comfort
(3.8)
Reliability
(4.3)
Value For The Money
(4.4)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Scared to own anything else

by Robinhoode from Mass on August 10, 2018

I bought it new 9 ,yes 9,years ago.This car is just getting broken in.Tight stearing,tranny and engine perfect.I would trade up for a bigger one mabe.But this little car gets better every year.NOT ONE ... Read full review

(5.0)

Best car I have ever owned.

by Bnalhadhom on August 3, 2018

This car met all our needs. Small car easy to park but big enough to seat 4 people comfortably. It has been a very reliable car. No real issues with it. Great gas mileage! Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2009 Hyundai Accent currently has 2 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2009 Hyundai Accent has not been tested.

Manufacturer Warranties

Backed by Hyundai
New Car Program Benefits
  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    120 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / unlimited distance

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits
  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    Newer than 5 model years/less than 60,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    5 years/60,000 miles (from remainder of original)

  • Powertrain warranty

    10 years/100,000 miles and 10 years/100,000 miles for hybrid/electric vechicle batteries.

  • Dealer Certification Required

    150-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All Program Details

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Accent received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker