This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Hyundai Accent (06-09) review.

Parkers overall rating: 2 out of 5 2.0

Three petrol units: 1.3, 1.5 and 1.6 and one diesel: 1.5 CRTD. The two smaller petrol engines are quite course and need to be revved hard, as there’s little pulling power. You’ll get from 0-60 in 12.5 seconds with the 1.3 (and 40 mpg in everyday driving); the 88 bhp 1.5 only adds an extra 4 bhp, but it gets to 60 mph nearly a second quicker and has much more mid-range power.

MVi is the “sporty” 1.5 with 101 bhp and a 0-60 time of 10.5 seconds. The 1.6 was added in early 2003. it’s not refined, but it’s much more useful for motorway trips. The 1.5-litre common-rail turbodiesel is frugal, though not especially refined.

For parking and in traffic, the Accent’s light controls are a bonus. Visibility is pretty good all-round, and the clutch and pedals need only the lightest of touches. The gearbox action is an improvement on the old Accent, but the gear throw is far too long and its action feels far too slack. The indicator stalk is on the right hand side – the opposite to most European cars – but it does mean that your left hand is free for changing gear.

There is some feedback through the steering and the steering wheel is pleasant to use.