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The Hyundai Accent is a decent subcompact car in most respects. It has excellent fuel economy, adequate passenger space, and various infotainment features designed to make your commuting experience more comfortable. The MSRP of a brand new Hyundai Accent ranges from $16,645 to $19,600 according to Consumer Reports. estimates that the Accent will depreciate by 23% after five years, which makes it a good investment for startup families and young professionals.

Is the Hyundai Accent Reliable?

The 2021 Accent was named the “Best Subcompact Car for the Money” by U.S. News, so it should come as no surprise that it received a quality and reliability rating of 90 out of 100 in the same review. Drivers just love the versatility of this small but capable sedan. Edmunds estimates that the SE 4dr Sedan model will cost $6,624 in insurance and maintenance in five years. This is $1,921 cheaper than the Kia Rio’s average insurance and maintenance costs. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly commuter, you really can’t go wrong with the Hyundai Accent.

2021 hyundai accent
The 2021 Accent was named the “Best Subcompact Car for the Money” by U.S. News and also received a quality and reliability rating of 90 out of 100 in the same review. Image source: Hyundai

Common Hyundai Accent Problems

The Hyundai Accent may be one of the most reliable vehicles in its class, but it’s far from perfect. This family-friendly sedan has its share of problems. Here are just some of the Accent’s most commonly reported issues.

Airbag Problems

Everyone knows that airbags are a critical safety feature in all passenger vehicles, which is why it’s disappointing to learn that the reliable Hyundai Accent struggles with airbag problems. The most recent complaint in CarProblemZoo involved a 2020 Hyundai Accent that got rear-ended on a freeway near Dallas, Texas. The impact pushed the vehicle towards the guard rail on the right side of the freeway, but the airbag failed to deploy. Another user on the site complained about a 2014 Hyundai Accent on behalf of a contact who sustained near-fatal injuries as a result of airbag failure. There are 119 complaints dating as far back as the 2004 model.

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Hyundai has issued a recall for 2015 Accents manufactured between September 15, 2014 and February 10, 2015. At extremely low temperatures, the occupant detection system (ODS) may be unable to detect the presence of a child restraint seat in the front passenger seat, resulting in front airbag failure. Affected models will receive an ODS software update, free of charge.

If you suspect an issue with your Accent’s airbag system, don’t hesitate to call your trusted mechanic and have him inspect your vehicle.

2020 hyundai accent interior
Airbag complaints have been recorded for some 2020 Hyundai Accents as well as in models from as far back as 2004. Image source: U.S. News

Randomly Slows Down and Accelerates

One user on complained about his 2018 Hyundai Accent speeding up and slowing down on its own. This is a common symptom of a failing throttle position sensor (TPS). The TPS works together with the vehicle’s fuel management system to ensure the correct amount of fuel is delivered to the engine.

If your Hyundai Accent randomly slows down or accelerates, you should ask your mechanic to take a look at your TPS.

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Rodents Chew Soy-Based Wiring

Most electrical wiring used in home appliances, gadgets, and vehicles is insulated with petroleum-based plastics. Since plastic materials don’t easily decompose in landfills, they can be bad for the environment. Hyundai introduced soy-based wiring insulation as a cost-effective and biodegradable alternative to plastic wiring insulation. This environmentally friendly alternative unfortunately backfired as rodents were drawn to the soy-based material, which they used to build nests inside the vehicle’s hood.

Hyundai’s wiring issue culminated in a class-action lawsuit filed in 2017 by Hyundai Accent, Azera, Elantra, Equus, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Tucson, and Veloster owners in California. The Michelle Martinez v. Hyundai Motor America, Inc. case argues that soy-based materials were still being used to replace chewed wiring, which resulted in a vicious cycle of repairs and maintenance. Honda, Kia, Subaru, and Toyota all faced similar lawsuits when they adopted soy-based insulation.

Hyundai hasn’t issued a recall for their soy-based insulation, so you might have to rat-proof the electrical wiring yourself.

Transmission Failure

Gear shifting should be a smooth experience. That has not been the case for some 2004 Hyundai Accent owners who complained about transmission failure in their vehicles. One user on reported gear slipping on his used 2004 Hyundai Accent. He would hear a clunking sound when the gears were engaged. This is a common sign of a failing transmission. Clunking noises could be caused by the engine, exhaust system, driveshaft, differentials, or a wheel bearing. Another common symptom of a bad transmission is the inability to shift gears. There are a few potential causes for this, such as incompatible transmission fluid, incorrect shift cable positioning, internal mechanic failure, a clogged filter, or a malfunctioning computer system.

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We noticed a common pattern with the Hyundai Accent’s transmission problems. Those who complained had to replace their transmission more than once. For context, transmission replacements range from $1,800 to $3,400. This is very bad news for Accent owners who are counting on their vehicle’s fuel savings and low ownership costs.

A failing transmission endangers not only the driver and his passengers but also pedestrians and other motorists. It’s a matter of public safety to get your 2004 Hyundai Accent inspected for transmission problems. You may have to spend thousands on transmission replacements, but that’s just a small price to pay for some peace of mind.

Despite its flaws, the Hyundai Accent still remains one of the best-reviewed cars in its class, with a high quality and reliability rating. Its affordability surely makes up for some of its shortcomings. You can buy a 2019 Hyundai Accent for $15,625 to $18,025, which is a lot cheaper than other family sedans. However, if you plan on buying a used Hyundai Accent, you should ask the seller for the vehicle’s issues and repair history to help you make an informed decision.

About The Authors
Lisa Conant, Automotive Features Reviewer at
Lisa Conant

Automotive Features Reviewer at

Lisa Conant grew up in Canada around a solid contingency of gear heads and DIY motor enthusiasts. She is an eclectic writer with a varied repertoire in the automotive industry, including research pieces with a focus on daily drivers and recreational vehicles. Lisa has written for Car Bibles and The Drive.

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The Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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My Hyundai Accent 2016. 115000 driving up the mountain when it starts to sputter I had to get off the first exit I seen I went to the garage he didn’t examination and told me I lost compression in # three cylinder. Would not hold air in number 3 cylinder ,so could could be the rings estimated about $6, 000 to 7,500. Not under warranty

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