HYUNDAI Accent 3 Doors
Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
Hyundai tried its luck on the 3-doors hatchback market with the small-sized Accent, which worked in some countries.
When a carmaker builds a very affordable vehicle, it has to consider that customers will use them for pizza delivery. But Hyundai didn’t care about that. All that it wanted was to offer a good car, well equipped, at a bargain price. And that was the 3-doors Accent.
Based on the same platform as the third generation of the Accent, the 3-doors version was just a way to increase the company’s profit from the same base, and it worked. Its design was not the most successful for the Korean carmaker, but the rounded shapes and sloped tailgate got the customers’ attention. The ascending beltline and the roof-spoiler made the vehicle look sportier than it actually was. For the Canadian market, the carmaker offered an enhanced version with flared wheel-arches and rocker-panels. The taillights were triangular-shaped and placed above the rear bumper to protect them against small parking bumps in the rear.
Inside, the carmaker installed bucket seats with high bolstering and a wave-like dashboard. Its center stack and instrument cluster were the same as those from the four- and five-door versions. There was a straightforward layout with a tachometer, a speedometer, a fuel gauge, and a coolant-temperature.
Hyundai offered two gasoline engines for the Accent 3-doors. It was considered useless to offer a diesel version, even though the carmaker already had the highly fuel-efficient 1.5-liter diesel unit.
Hyundai pushed hard and introduced a facelifted version for the Accent’s second generation after four years since the model’s introduction.
Designed as a sportier-looking hatchback, the 3-door Accent showed a fresh design for the Korean carmaker, who was still trying to find its visual identity. That version aimed at the younger generation, and it was considered by many an excellent first-car thanks to its budget price, cheap repairs, and a good warranty. Its longer doors and the sporty-looking design were just a few other reasons to buy a three-door Accent.
When most of the carmakers started to sharpen-up the lines on their cars, Hyundai softened the Accent’s lines. The headlights were not as angular-looking, and the carmaker changed the former wedged edges on its sides to curved areas. Hyundai’s designers managed to make the taillights taller in the rear, but they also made the reversing lights smaller.
Inside, there were no visible changes to the interior, except for the instrument panel design, where the carmaker changed the position for the coolant temperature and fuel level gauge. Like its non-facelifted version, the 2003 Accent featured a split-folding rear bench seatback that increased the trunk size from 321 liters (11.4 cu-ft) to 859 liters (30.9 cu-ft).
Under the hood, Hyundai made an important step and installed a newly developed 1.5-liter turbodiesel engine. Other engine choices included the already known 1.3-liter and, as a full-option, a 1.6-liter unit that provided 105 hp. For the latter, the carmaker offered a 4-speed automatic transmission.
Hyundai rushed in the second generation of the Accent in 1999, and it was more than just a rebadged Excel; it was a different car.
The Korean carmaker had a growth plan, and it stuck to it no matter what the competition put against it. Hyundai was already known worldwide, and thanks to its strategy of well-built cars and acceptable pricing policy, it already started to be a significant player in a few markets. The 1999 Accent was an essential piece of the puzzle since it was an affordable car with a fresh look.
With a new design language that featured angular headlights and sharp lines, the car looked more aggressive. Moreover, Hyundai built a World Rally Car based on the 3-door version, and even though it wasn’t that successful, it was an excellent brand ambassador. The street model was affordable, but the Korean carmaker forgot to install pop-out rear side windows.
Hyundai heavily improved the interior over its predecessor with better materials and a roomier cabin due to the longer wheelbase. It was not a big difference. It was the difference between pressed knees and touching knees for the rear passengers. The split-folding rear seats was a standard feature. The Accent featured a standard AC-unit and power-windows at the front. For selected markets, such as the north side of Europe and Canada, the Accent was not just a cheap transportation device. It was a car.
For the powertrain, Hyundai installed Mitsubishi-sourced engines under the hood. The base model featured a 1.3-liter, while the upper trim level received a 1.5-liter unit. The latter was available with an automatic transmission as well.