I am driving the 3-door manual transmission model.
The newer hatchbacks, with the exception of the Accent and the recently terminated Ford Focus, do not have the same amount of trunk space as they used to unless you are willing to upgrade to a 5-door like the Mazda 3 and its equivalents. I find this current trend frustrating in the auto industry in the States, however the Accent has proved excellent in this regard, as I thought it would.
The engine is geared slightly higher than my 95 Ford Escort (also manual), so the mileage is not quite as good as the Ford (negligible). The higher-geared engine of the Hyundai makes for slightly more responsive acceleration, particularly in 5th gear. Do not be shy about driving 35 MPH in 4th gear with the RPM up around 3G, especially when taking turns and climbing and descending hills.
The higher-geared engine in the Accent also hides the feeling of the AC compressor kicking in. This normally reduces my acceleration in the Ford a bit, as the Escort compressor is felt when kicking in and out. It's not a problem; I just had to learn to time my driving correctly with the Escort. This is not an issue with the Accent. The AC isn't felt when it engages, and it hasn't affected acceleration as far as I can tell.
The reverse gear takes a bit getting used to but proves fun and simple when mastered.
I should note that even though both of my cars are built for 87-octane fuel, I use 93 octane for better performance at high speeds, when down shifting, and when accelerating more assertively in heavy traffic where cars are pushing up behind me. 93 octane makes the car feel and drive a bit sportier. If there is any difference in mileage with the higher octane, it is negligible. The price difference is also negligible when one considers the small gas tank and overall mileage.
Other features: I like the 5-year warranty and Hyundai Roadside Assistance. I also like the removable satellite antenna, although that may be standard on most vehicles. This allows for the easy placement and removal of a car cover. The TPS (tire pressure monitoring system) is a standard feature on the car: a real PLUS!
As with front-wheel-drive vehicles, and with manual transmission, I had a blast driving my Accent down to the NC coast during the Valentine's weekend snowstorm. I got a kick out of passing all the big F250s that were trying to stay straight! Don't worry, I kept my distance.
I like the car to go back and forth to work. I wouldn't like it for a family car. It rides to rough. The back door opens wide so my mother inlaw can get in and out easy, and the drivers door opens wide so I can get in and out easy. Over all I like the car.
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