Hyundai Accent vs. Ford Focus

Hey Everyone,

A quick question I wanted to pose to a crowd that would have some expertise. Looking at a couple affordable options for a daily commuter for graduate school, two cars I frequently come across are the Ford Focus and Hyundai Accent.

Granted I know each used car is different and has its own history, but I wanted to pose a hypothetical question.

Which car would be more efficient and reliable by your own estimation and experience? A 2007 Hyundai Accent vs. a 2006/2006 Ford Focus? Both with no history of damages or repairs and roughly 50,000 miles on them, automatics, and well maintained. Will be mostly highway driving in the future.

Am curious to know peoples experiences with small cars from both manufacturers in recent years, if there are any other serious competitors I should look at as well. That would be in that under 10K range.

Also, would Hyundai’s 100K warranty make a difference? I would think so, but wanted to ask what folks have seen with it.

Both have an essentially “average” reliability rating from Consumer Reports, with the Accent having a slight edge in terms of fewer problem areas historically. However, any car’s long-term reliability can be ruined by a lack of maintenance, so don’t overlook that factor.

Personally, I would not buy a used car unless I could view hard copies of its maintenance records. If you frequent this site, you will see posts from people with major car problems, and when they are pressed for details on maintenance, they first vaguely state that the car is serviced “regularly”, but when they are further pressed for details, their definition of “regularly” turns out to be once every few years, or whenever the spirit moves them to go to a quick lube place for inept service.

In addition to viewing actual maintenance records, you should have any potential purchase inspected by a mechanic of your choice. Once it is up on a lift, he can spot collision damage that was not obvious on the body, and he can likely also detect incipient mechanical problems with the car.

Also, you will probably find that the Focus seems more substantial and that it handles better than the Accent, but this factor is somewhat subject to your own perceptions and preferences.

Assuming both cars have had good maintenance and were not abused, as mentioned by VC, the Accent would be less expensive to operate over its life, mainly because of better fuel economy and slightly lower repair costs.

Please keep in mind that these economy cars are often bought or leased by drivers who will do less than perfect maintenance.

The Focus is a heavier car and nicer to drive on long trips. Personally, I would buy the Accent; I rented one for 2 weeks on a holiday trip and my wife and I both found it a great little car. Hyundai has made giant strides in quality and reliability ion the last 10 years to where the top rated car compact in Consumers Reports is a Hyundai Elantra.

If you’re buying used check the details of the warranty. I’m not sure Hyundai’s 100K warranty applies to anyone other than the original owner. The mileage and time period may be different for subsequent owners. Read the warranty. Don’t take a salesperson’s word.

I’d drive the two cars and buy whichever one I liked better. I don’t think there’s a lot of difference in overall life expectancy. The Accent may get slightly better gas mileage.

The Focus does not have a timing belt, which should make a difference in maintenance costs. The Hyundai uses a timing belt and has an interference engine. The timing belt will need replacement before 60K miles, so factor the cost into your decision.

This may even out the slight mileage advantage of the Hyundai.

EPA estimates are 22/29 for a Focus with AT and 24/33 for the Accent with AT.

Isn’t the Accent smaller than the Focus?

Agree with the timing belt expense. Even though I agree with seeing maintenance records, at 50KM there isn’t much that needed to be done other than oil change and fixing what is broken.

I think even if the Hyundai needs less repairs, the cost would be made up in the fact the Hyundai parts are more pricey than Ford.

On a different level, after everything checks out fine by your mechanic, make sure you try filling the gas tank on the Hyundai. Many models have issues with the gas tank venting mechanism and it is a royal PITA to fix. I returned a Sonata (at a loss) because I didn’t want to deal with this isssue.

Bottom line, test drive both and see if you can spend another 100KM in the car.

I know that Hyundai are showing good reliablility recently, but over the long haul, Ford products have been more consistent. I have and would lean toward them if given a choice. !00K warranty, is offered to sell cars IMO, and does not indicate the car’s quality. The warranty means little if you break down regularly in unsafe situations…little satisfaction in knowing the repairs are free at that time.

Thanks very much for the replies, everyone. Great to hear some first hand experience with the Accent. I have driven a couple Ford Focus’s (early model and new model) before and was somewhat impressed for what they were, but as pointed out the monetary investment in the Accent might be less in the long term. For what I need that would fit the bill. Don’t really feel like I can wrong either way, and will definitely test drive and go over the car(s) with my mechanic.

It’s nice to talk it out a bit with neutral third parties.

The Focus is more luxurious and bigger, but the Accent is more economical. I’ve been in some Focuses (Foci?), and they are pretty good cars. The leather on the new one is really comfy. The Accent will probably be slower, but give you better mileage (the one we rented for a while gave a measly 25).

Before this point gets lost in the shuffle, I want to repeat what mcparadise pointed out regarding the very long Hyundai Powertrain Warranty coverage, namely that it applies ONLY to the first owner.
Buy a used Hyundai because the car appeals to you, not because of that warranty, simply because you will not have that coverage.

Also, if you want to compare Hyundai and Ford models more accurately, the Hyundai Elantra is more comparable to the Ford Focus than the Hyundai Accent is. In addition, the Elantra is very highly rated. Take a look at the Elantra, and you will be impressed by how much more room it has than the Accent. Just don’t be enticed by that non-existent powertrain warranty on a used vehicle.

Thanks for that point. I did some research on that, and the warranty does transfer to the second/subsequent owner, the catch being it’s only 5 years/60,000 miles as opposed to that 100K/10year. The cars I’m looking at are both very close to 60K miles so the warranty would be a total non-factor.

Kind of a bummer, but if I can get a deal on a used car in good shape that with proper maintenance will go the distance, can’t complain too much.

Good idea on the Elantra. I will scope it out. When I was younger I used to really like the look of the Elantra GT from about 2003-2005, so maybe that’s worth revisiting.