The first generation Hyundai Accent was introduced in the 1995 model year and was powered by a 1.5-liter SOHC four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission was standard and a four-speed, electronically controlled automatic transmission was optional. The Accent was offered in two body styles: as a three-door coupe or a four-door sedan.

In 1996 the Accent GT was introduced. It used an early version of the 1.6-liter DOHC Alpha engine and was fitted with 14-inch wheels and tires. The Accent GT featured a sport-tuned suspension and a performance final drive ratio. Exterior appointments included fog lamps, front air dam, lower body cladding and a rear spoiler.

The Accent GT driver was treated to a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever knob. The GT model was replaced by the GSi model in 1998. The GSi still had a sporty look and 14-inch wheels and tires, but the 1.6-liter DOHC engine was replaced by the SOHC 1.5-liter engine. The GSi was discontinued for 1999. The Accent GT trim series did not return until the 2003 model year. The Accent 3-door hatchback and 4-door sedan models continued with the 1.5-liter SOHC engine.

The first generation Accent was revised slightly for the 1998 model year (minor sheet metal changes) and carried-over for 1999. The all-new second generation Accent was introduced for the 2000 model year. The new 2000 Accent was longer (wheelbase lengthened by 1.6-inches) and wider (overall width expanded by nearly 2-inches) than the previous version to provide even more room and comfort for the driver and passengers. In addition, the new exterior styling featured a more sophisticated European look

Functional upgrades included a front subframe, hydraulic engine mounts, reinforced A and B pillars and a host of refinements designed to reduce noise and vibration including insulated floor panels and double-sealed doors to reduce wind noise.

The interior was also redesigned to provide more headroom, more legroom and more hiproom. A handy folding right side armrest was built into the driver’s seat on the GS and GL models.

All 2000 Accents were powered by a revised version of the 1.5-liter SOHC engine that featured a 12-valve, aluminum cylinder head and cast iron engine block that included vertical ribs for added strength. An eight-counterweight crankshaft made the revised engine even smoother in operation. As a result of these refinements, engine noise in the cabin was reduced by 3 decibels.

With the introduction of the second generation Accent for the 2000 model year, Hyundai continued to emphasize value by making standard many items that were optional or even not available on the competition. Standard equipment on the 2000 GS and GL model year Accents included AM/FM/Cassette Stereo, power front disc brakes, rear window defroster, remote fuel door release, dual outside mirrors digital quartz clock, rear window wiper/washer (GS 3-door) and a remote trunk release (GL sedan).

In 2000, air conditioning and power windows and door locks were still Accent options. That changed, however, in the 2001 model year when air conditioning was moved from the option list to the standard equipment list – unheard of for an entry-level line of cars. In 2002 power windows and power door locks were made standard equipment on the GS and GL models as well.

For the 2003 model year the second generation Accent was extensively revised with new front fenders, hood, grille, front air dam and headlamp treatments. At the rear the 2003 Accent sported a new deckled, bumper and tail lamp treatment. The name of the base 3-door model was changed from Accent L to Accent and the GS name was dropped. The top of the line Accent 3-door model and the Accent 4-door model for 2003 both carried the GL badge.

With the dawn of the 2003 model year, all Hyundai Accent models, including the base Accent, were fitted with the sophisticated 1.6-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine. All Accents produced after January 3, 2003 were equipped with side-impact airbags for the both the driver and passenger as standard equipment.

The 2003 model year marked the return of the Accent GT package. This sporty 3-door featured a 14-inch wheel and tire package, fog lamps, rocker panel moldings and a handsome rear spoiler. Inside, the gauges featured white face markings and the steering wheel and shift knob were leather wrapped.

For 2004, the GT trim package became a full-fledged model but there were no other major changes to the Hyundai Accent. The high-value, high quality, entry-level Accent continues to offer buyers the best value in the compact class.

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea. Hyundai cars and sport utility vehicles are distributed in the U.S. by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced by more than 600 Hyundai dealers throughout the U.S.

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