Small cars are popular again, and the reasons are obvious. The economy is chugging along, but some prominent companies are hinting at labor cuts, the emigration of jobs continues, and gas prices remain volatile. And before you start thinking that buying a domestic is the patriotic thing to do, consider that the Ford Focus is built in Mexico, the Chevrolet Aveo in Korea, and the Dodge Neon is dead. That puts all compact cars, regardless of origin, on an equal playing field.
Among the small, fuel-sipping models vying for attention is the 2006 Hyundai Accent. With a base price of about $12,000 and EPA-estimated fuel economy stretching toward 40 miles per gallon, this little Korean import may be just the ticket for belt-tightening times. Or maybe not, considering that more spacious and more powerful cars like the Honda Civic are available for an extra few thousand dollars, and the nearly identical Kia Rio comes in the same package (with the same warranty), albeit with a sportier feel and a less generic style. In the broad small/compact car segment, the 2006 Hyundai Accent has plenty of competition.
But only Hyundai (and Kia) offers the lowest price combined with that unbeatable powertrain warranty. That puts 10-years or 100,000-miles of worry at Hyundai’s doorstep, and in these hectic and complex times, any buyer should find that attractive.