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2003 Hyundai Accent

  • 2003 Hyundai Accent Base Hatchback
    • MAX MPG
      33
    • SEATS
      5
    • HP/TORQUE
      104/106
    • ENGINE
      1.6L I4
    • MSRP
      $9,749
  • 2003 Hyundai Accent GL Hatchback
    • MAX MPG
      35
    • SEATS
      5
    • HP/TORQUE
      104/106
    • ENGINE
      1.6L I4
    • MSRP
      $11,449
  • 2003 Hyundai Accent GL Sedan
    • MAX MPG
      35
    • SEATS
      5
    • HP/TORQUE
      104/106
    • ENGINE
      1.6L I4
    • MSRP
      $11,849
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  • Review

2003 Hyundai Accent Review

Decent compact car, but shop around before you buy.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

The Hyundai Accent is the smallest and cheapest vehicle in the lineup. The 2003 model receives a facelift to keep it competitive—a quick refresh considering it received upgrades in 2000. Included in the changes are several exterior upgrades, including a new hood, fenders, front and rear fascia, and tail lights. Also, all models receive a new 1.6-liter engine, and the 1.5-liter engine is dropped from the base model.

The Range

Body Styles: hatchback, sedan
Engines: 1.6-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic transmission
Models: Hyundai Accent, Hyundai Accent GL, Hyundai Accent GL

What's New

The Hyundai Accent receives a few changes in the 2003 model year. The base 1.5-liter, overhead cam engine is dropped from the base hatchback model. All Accents are now equipped with a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine. It also receives a facelift this year, gaining new exterior equipment.

Exterior

The 2003 Hyundai Accent has a slightly different appearance, receiving a slight refresh. New exterior features include a new bumper and grille, a refreshed hood, new headlight assemblies, a new rear bumper, new rear quarter panels in the back, and fresh taillights. It has several smooth curves and interesting nuances, though it can hardly be called head-turning. It rides on a 96.1-inch wheelbase and is 166.7-inches long overall. It measures eight inches shorter than last year’s model. Standard exterior features include 13-inch steel wheels, a spare steel tire, full wheel covers, variable intermittent windshield wipers, rear defogger, MacPherson strut front suspension, multi-link rear suspension, and all-season tires.

Interior

The 2003 Hyundai Accent seats five passengers. The front is equipped with two bucket seats for the driver and passenger. The back is equipped with a three-person bench seat. However, it is very narrow, so legroom and shoulder room is severely limited. Really, only four passengers can fit comfortably. Cargo room measures 11.8 cubic feet on the sedan model and 16.9 feet for the hatchback. The rear bench on both models folds to increase cargo capacity. The interior is okay, but there are several areas where the build quality shows some weakness. Also, there is a lot of cheap material used throughout. Standard equipment includes a split-folding rear seat, front door pockets, front seatback storage, power steering, 12-volt front power outlets, front reading lights, mirrors, an AM/FM stereo, four speakers, front bucket seats, and cloth upholstery.

Performance & Handling

The 2003 Hyundai Accent comes equipped with a brand new 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 105 horsepower. The engine is mated with a five-speed manual gearbox. A four-speed manual transmission is also available. Driving-wise, it feels like one of the best on the market when it comes to compact economy vehicles. Gas mileage is good, and it comes with a lengthy powertrain warranty. Unfortunately, handling is somewhat sluggish, although it is still competitive. The ride is pleasant, although the suspension can leave the road and make the ride feel a bit choppy at times. One thing seriously holding it back is the lack of anti-lock brakes and the use of cheap tires. The hatchback model is very fun to drive with the four-speed automatic transmission, although the five-speed automatic is a lot more fun and a whole lot smoother to operate. Passing when using the automatic transmission is a bit of a struggle. Drivers can hear the engine cry while merging onto the freeway. The engine can get quite loud when accelerating in low gears, causing some mild discomfort for everyone in the car. The engine is very quiet while cruising.

Safety

The 2003 Hyundai Accent is lacking many safety features. Unlike many other cars in its class, it lacks anti-lock brakes and side airbags. However, the IIHS gave its second best rating of ""acceptable"" for rear crash protection. Other safety equipment includes child seat anchors, rear integrated headrests, an emergency trunk release, front seatbelt pretensioners, rear center lap belt, ventilated front disc brakes and rear drum brakes, and two front headrests.

EPA Fuel Economy

Hyundai Accent Base: 25/30 mpg city/highway
Hyundai Accent GL: 25/32 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Cheap price
  • Great interior
  • Smooth ride
  • Solid build

You Won't Like

  • Bad tires
  • Terrible handling limit
  • No cruise control
  • ABS unavailable
  • No side airbags

Sum Up

Decent compact car, but shop around before you buy.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Ford Focus
  • Kia Rio
  • Toyota Echo

See the New 2014 Accent.

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