What Changed for 2008:
- Stereo systems now include XM satellite radio and auxiliary input jack
- Standard tire-pressure-monitoring system
- Revised instrument cluster for GLS and SE models
- New 15-inch alloy wheel design
- SE models with manual transmission get a B&M sport shifter
- Rear armrest with cupholders standard on SE
- New color for GS and SE: Mellow Yellow
Inexpensive entry-level cars have long been a key part of Korean automaker Hyundai's strategy to lure first-time buyers into the Hyundai family. High gas prices have put a new emphasis on the subcompact market, and as of 2007 the Accent found itself facing new rivals from several mainstream Japanese manufacturers, including the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and Nissan Versa. Still, Hyundai was well prepared; the Accent GLS sedan was redesigned in 2006, while the 3-door GS and SE models joined the lineup in 2007.
Hyundai offers the 2008 Accent as a 4-door sedan in GLS form or as a 3-door hatchback in GS and SE trim. The GS hatchback serves as the entry-level model; it offers power steering, tilt steering column, and a rear seatback that reclines, splits and folds. A Popular Equipment package adds air conditioning and an AM/FM/XM stereo with MP3-capable CD player. Both are also included in the GS Premium Equipment package, along with power windows, mirrors and door locks; remote keyless entry; alarm; and body-color mirrors and door handles.
The GLS 4-door sedan comes with an AM/FM/XM stereo with MP3-capable CD player and air conditioning, power steering, and a tilt steering column. Power windows, mirrors and locks, remote keyless entry, and anti-lock brakes are available in a Popular Equipment package, while the GLS Premium package adds those items plus 15-inch alloy wheels.
Topping out the range is the 3-door Accent SE, with a sport-tuned suspension; air conditioning; AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 stereo; power windows, mirrors and locks; remote keyless entry; anti-lock brakes; 16-inch alloy wheels; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter; and a new B&M sport shifter for cars with manual transmissions. A sunroof is optional.
Both 2008 Hyundai Accent sedan (GLS) and hatchback (GS and SE) models feature a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine with continuously variable valve timing that puts out 110 hp at 6000 rpm and 106 lb.-ft. of torque at 4500 rpm. EPA fuel economy estimates are 27 mpg city/32 mpg highway with the standard 5-speed manual transmission, 24 mpg city/33 mpg highway with the optional 4-speed automatic transmission.
The 2008 Hyundai Accent is equipped with front air bags, front-seat-mounted side air bags, and two-row side curtain air bags. Anti-lock brakes are optional on the GLS and standard on the SE. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash-tested the 4-door model and awarded it a perfect 5-star rating in the front-impact test. For side impacts, the rating was 4 stars for front-seat passengers and 3 stars for rear-seat passengers. The rollover rating was 4 stars. However, the Accent sedan did not fare as well in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tests. The model scored \"Acceptable\" (the second-highest mark) for the frontal crash test, but Poor-the lowest possible mark-in the side-impact test. Neither NHTSA or IIHS has tested the 3-door Accent hatchback.
Combining adequate fuel economy with acceptable acceleration is always a challenge in small cars. The 2008 Hyundai Accent accomplishes this by employing a continuously variable valve timing (CVVT) system, which gives the engine a broad torque range, according to Hyundai. The CVVT system also helps the engine run cleaner, and indeed the Accent achieves ULEV (Ultra Low Emission Vehicle) standards, as rated by the EPA.