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Old 25th April 2009, 17:52   #1
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Default Accent 1.6 P GLS - 75000 kms 5.5 years

Badhai Ho - Happy Birthday!

Back in summer 2003 and my 21st birthday. Having been a car crazy boy all my life, I had this “deal” with my parents that my birthday gift on my 21st would be my own car. Once I got back to Delhi for my summer break (I was studying in the US at that time), I started looking around the market on what would be my 21st birthday gift.

-NHC was discarded coz it was as exciting as a microwave,
-Lancer was discarded coz of the mahaan HM and their inability to organize a TD for me for 2 weeks,
-already had an Ikon and so didn’t consider it,
-Toyota had no options below 7 lacs (which was the max budget fixed),
-2nd hand OHC (what I really wanted!) was looked for but after a unsuccessful search for 3 weeks, was given up (was heartbroken!)

Finally the choice boiled down to Viva vs. Accent CRDi vs. Accent 1.6P. Viva looked good and I would have bought one in flaming red had I been a chick, Accent CRDi was impressive but my usage pattern of the car (more on that later) made me give this option up, so the final choice was Accent 1.6 GLS with ABS, colour Ebony Black.

Initial thoughts at the time of purchase – okay, not that exciting, but things could be worse than getting out own car as a 21st birthday gift!

Life as a Teenager…Clubbing, Outings, and Fun

The car saw a weird pattern of usage in its first 2 years, which was incidentally the major reason to not go in for a CRDi. She would see intense period of usage when I would be in Delhi for my vacations, and long period of hibernation when I would be back in the US. The first 2 months saw the car doing 4000 kms, with trips to Shimla, Kasauli, Chail and Jaipur thrown in. While going back to the US in September 2003, I had begun to appreciate the car for its comfortable interiors (in the front, never sat in the back), strong engine (good mid-range power), good ride quality, and decent looks. Wished for sharper handling and better steering feel. Still hadn’t really fallen in love with the car, but appreciated her for what she was.

The next intense period of usage came in Dec-Jan 2003-04. The car did another 3000 kms in those 5 weeks that I was in Del for my winter break, with trips to Jaipur and Agra thrown in. Hyundai had stiffened the suspension of the post Jan 2003 Accents, and this showed up in terms of the confidence the car gave while cruising the Indian highways at speeds of 100-120. It didn’t feel as floaty and wafty as the earlier Accents. The Agra trip was done with back-seaters, and they gave positive feedback on the comfort during the drive, but cribbed about the space at the back.

This on-off kind of usage continued for the first 2 years of the car’s life. Hyundai’s *** was impressive and pro-active, but not much cheaper than others with a worse rep like Ford. The car was very reliable though, with ZERO issues encountered in the first 2 years. As time went by, that trait really impressed me and probably was the first point over which I started falling in love with “Blacky”. The other impressive trait about her was the complete lack of any kind of rattles or squeaks, even after 2 years. The interiors were pin-drop silent, even while going over rough roads.

So 2 years, 24000 kms, 3 services later, “Blacky” entered the next stage of her life…

Mid-Life Drudgery…with a few highlights!

June 2005 I graduated and shifted back to Delhi. I joined the business and it was decided that my first year of training would be done at our newly opened office in Hyderabad. So come September, I fire up the ignition and point the H’s nose towards Hyd, via Mumbai. Before starting though, decided to upgrade her footwear. Out went the 13 inch steel wheels and Bridgestone S322s, and in came 14 inch Aura alloys and 185/60 R14 Bridgestone Potenzas. This tyre wheels combo made a significant difference to the handling characteristics of the car, as I found out soon on the long drive from Del to Hyd.

That 2500 kms drive was the most intense 3 days of driving I had done in my life till then, and Blacky was my faithful companion during the journey. The engine had opened up nicely, overtaking trucks on the highways was a breeze, the suspension held up well, the ride quality was decent, and the interiors were comfortable for the 2 people who undertook the journey. The handling became sharper and more confidence inspiring on the new footwear, and long turns taken at high speeds that would force one to slow down earlier were not taken without any understeer and the car holding its line well.

Once at its new home in Hyderabad, the car fell into a pattern of mid-life drudgery. 80% of the usage was home-office-home commute within the confines of the city, with the rest of the kms being raked up during nocturnal drives exploring the night-life of the city. The change in footwear, and change in city saw the mileage drop from 10.5-11 to 9.5. Fuel prices in Hyd were also much more expensive than Delhi, which made the drop in mileage more noticeable for me. Even so, it was a small price to pay for making the car more dynamically fun to drive.

End of year 3 and 37,000 kms on the odo, and I decided that both me and the car were prematurely aging and needed to get out of the city rut, so decided to explore Andhra and neighbouring Karnataka over the weekends. The car was back on its highway runs, with trips to Nagarjuna Sagar dam, Srisilam, Kurnool district, Warangal, and Vijayawada. The most memorable trip though was to Hampi in Karnataka, with the drive back on the KA state highways via Raichur being one of the beautiful and memorable drives of my life. This 4th year of the car’s life was also when it started having a few issues, which incidentally cropped up on these highway drives.

The drive to Srisilam was made exciting with the throttle cable snapping out of its position in the middle of the forest reserve. There was no cell phone network available inside the reserve, and the reserve itself was surrounded by Naxal controlled areas. The car wouldn’t rev beyond 2000rpm and it was a challenge to nurse the car through the 40 odd kms of ghats and forests till we reached Srisilam, where the mechanic of the only garage in town was woken up and the cable fixed. The other incident that happened was while driving back from Kurnool, when the alternator developed some issue and wouldn’t supply proper voltage, which resulted in stopping/surging acceleration. It wasn’t much of a problem during the drive, and was fixed easily by the Hyundai *** back in Hyd, but it sure was irritating when the problem copped up again within 10 days. The *** in Hyderabad was pretty impressive too, both in terms of the knowledge of the staff as well as their attitude towards customer service.

July 2007, end of 4 years, 53000 kms on the odo, and the car went in for its 2nd change of footwear. The Potenzas were very impressive for the first 10k kms, with leech like grip and very good road holding, but deteriorated mysteriously thereafter. The tread depth remained good, but that sticky grip was lost and they did develop a tendency to slip around during fast cornering and wet conditions. By the 30,000 km mark, the tread had disappeared too, and a change in footwear was required for the long Hyd-Del drive coming up in Oct 2007. Decided to go in for Bridgestone B250 with an increase in profile to 185/65 R14. The 60 profile Potenzas had started affecting the ride quality, especially at the back and the car was beginning to transmit a lot of bumps and thuds to the passengers.

By now, the suspension had developed this feeling of “looseness” and had become floaty on undulating roads and sloppy while cornering hard. The 50,000 service saw a change in major suspension bits like the shockers, the suspension bushes, and other bits. The car had also developed a problem with the cooling system, with coolant leaks springing up at 2 different points in 2 months. The engine continued strong though, without missing a beat once the alternator problem was fixed. The 50000 service was a major affair, costing almost 45k and taking 4 days. The car came back as good as new though, with the stiffness in the suspension restored and the car feeling “together” and “tight” again.

October 2007 saw the car and me going an on vacation to Maharashtra on way back to Delhi. The Hyd-Pune, Pune-Mahabaleshwar, Mahabaleshwar-Mumbai, Mumbai-Udaipur, and Udaipur-Del drives tested the performance of the car to the hilt, and it came out with flying colours.

The 2 years that I spent in Hyd with the car saw me become very attached with the car. Inspite of taking a lot of abuse in terms of the roads that it traversed, she never gave up on me or left me stranded. Even while being handicapped, she made sure that I reached my destination. While doing the Hyd-Hampi drive via Gooty and Bellary, on the crater filled NH 63 the front underbody took 3 loud hits, yet went on without a murmur. While visiting the Belum caves in Kurnool district, the post monsoon road was in an atrocious condition, with even Tavera and Innova taxis pussyfooting around the potholes and craters. However, I tagged “Blacky” behind a aggressively driven Silver Safari and we stormed our way through the rocks, craters and potholes. On reaching the destination, even the Safari owner was impressed by the abuse that the Accent suspension withstood and came through without anything giving up. The engine continued strong with regular servicing, and amazingly, the damn car still remained rattle-free!

The irritants though were the weak headlamps, and the shape of the front seats. Frequent long drives during this period really highlighted these 2 weaknesses, with the headlamps being the limiting factor to the speeds that one could do while driving on highways at night. The front seats lacked lower back support, and I would end up with a lower back pain after most of these long drives. Other than these 2 issues though, the black H was a pleasure.

Back in Delhi, with almost 60,000 kms on the odo, and the car entered its next stage in life…

Approaching old age, yet the heart still goes on strong…

The last 1.5 years on the H’s life have been spent commuting on Delhi roads. Out of town duties are now performed by either the Safari or the Fiesta. The car has lost its reliability a bit with age, having broken down twice in this period. Once the old coolant problem re-surfaced, with a leakage preventing any coolant from reaching the radiator, and the second time the clutch gave up because of a leak in the clutch cylinder. The suspension, which was overhauled at 50,000 km mark, continues strong with most of its running on smooth NCR roads. The engine’s longevity and reliability is impressive and feels like it will go another 75,000 kms without any issues. The interiors haven’t aged much and still remain rattle/squeak free. The bridgestone B250s have done almost 25000 kms and should do another 20000 kms without any problems. The car has been fed a mixed diet of Speed and normal petrol, and has never faced a problem on account of bad fuel. I went through 3 tyre-wheel size combos during the car’s life till now, with the stock 175/70 R13, the 1st change 185/60 R14, and the 2nd change 185/65 R14. IMO, the 185/65 R14 is the best tyre-wheel combo for the Accent, keeping in mind a spirited driver who still wants a comfortable ride quality. This size also gives the car the best stance out of the 3 sizes that have been tried.

Overall, the car started as basically appealing to the head, without evoking too much passion and excitement in me. Gradually though, its honest nature, reliability, strong engine, and balanced suspension made me fall in love with the car, and today I am so attached to the car that I have decided to never sell her and keep her till…

Right then, the car stands at 75000 kms and 5.5 years of ownership today. Cheers to the miles travelled till now Blacky. Lets gun for the 1 lac kilometer mark now babe…

Description of the pics below:
1: Posing by a lake near Warangal, Andhra Pradesh
2: Contemplating life on way to Srisilam, Andhra Pradesh
3: Chilling amongst the ruins of Hampi, Karnataka
4: Resting by a lake near Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra
Attached Thumbnails
Accent 1.6 P GLS - 75000 kms 5.5 years-dscf0056.jpg  

Accent 1.6 P GLS - 75000 kms 5.5 years-dscf0020.jpg  

Accent 1.6 P GLS - 75000 kms 5.5 years-dscf0094.jpg  

Accent 1.6 P GLS - 75000 kms 5.5 years-dscf0143.jpg  

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Old 25th April 2009, 21:13   #2
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Wonderful longterm ownership report highwaystar. Loved all the pics except the second one.
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Old 21st July 2009, 23:05   #3
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Hey, Great review about your black beauty and the cross country drives.
I too have a black accent a 2003 -1.5 GLS and done 55000km and looking forward to 1 lac.... do write in detail about the expenses if you have kept records..
I believe accent ages rather well and but does need a bit care. I believe its one of the few cars in the market specially in that price range which has a strong chassis and rather rattle free build quality.
Most 6/7 yr old accents i have seen ( even a few crdi ones with almost a lac on the odo) feel a lot tighter than their 2/3 yr old competitors .
anyway do update about the damages so we can compare notes
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Old 21st July 2009, 23:41   #4
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Wonderful review. The second picture without you on the boot would look more beautiful. Just kidding.

1.6 is what is good for highway. 1.5 I drove was not good enough once 130-140 is crossed. 1.6 is strong till a further 10-15 kmph. The suspension of most cars in India are designed to take abuse as on road driving is as good as or is as bad as off roading.

What was the highway kmpl you are normally able to extract ? Has FE reduced with kms piling up ?

I wonder why you never considered Baleno.
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Old 22nd July 2009, 07:23   #5
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Nice review! The second pic should ideally be taken on the hood, you kinda look uncomfortable there. But hey, your car, your rules.
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Old 22nd July 2009, 08:22   #6
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Wonderful ownership experience I have read in the recent past. Great narration and great pics as well.
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Old 22nd July 2009, 15:31   #7
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A nice review of the car. The Accent has always been an under-rated car in my opinion, but its people like you who have have proven what the Accent is actually capable of.

Love the photo of you perched on the boot!

Cheers mate!
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Old 22nd July 2009, 16:20   #8
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Great long term review here, the car did do well all these years particularly in reference to type of terrain it faced. Accent is a reliable and trustworthy car indeed. Drove my friend's accent recently, gearshift seemed like butter and pick up from stop even at 2nd gear was decent. He has not even had a puncture in 2 yrs. Commendable car.
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Old 22nd July 2009, 16:43   #9
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Nice review Highway Star, being a fellow accent owner I agree with your observations.

Mine is May 2003 1500 CC model and has just done 50000 kms on its odo last week. My love and respect for my car is increasing day by day and random thoughts of selling it off are blown away the moment I get into its drivers seat. Be it city traffic or highway or a unpaved village road its drive is fantastic, handles all kind of roads with easy. Only problem has been its low ground clearance but thats not a deterrent on rough roads.

I have taken it on all kinds of roads and abused it a lot. During highway driving most of the times I just pull my leg of the throttle pad and let it pass over the speed breakers that are encountered while I am cruising at a speed of 100km/hr. Still no squeaks after 6 years of abuse.

Forget about any major break downs there are absolutely no niggles (touchwood) I have faced. Its a very under rated car from an enthusiasts point of view but on its own it has been making its point silently through the sales figures.

Last edited by deepaktpatil : 22nd July 2009 at 16:45.
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Old 22nd July 2009, 18:05   #10
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Superb and well defined step by step report of your ownership of your Accent. Btw, i noticed you mentioned 2500kms as the distance between Del-Hyd whereas, it is around 1600kms or so.

Me too being an Accent owner ( though a Viva CRDi) i agree with most of points that you highlighted. I have done 42,000 kms in 2.9 years and not a single problem related to engine or body part has cropped up till date ( touchwood). Even i experienced phenomenal change after changing to fatter and better rubber. With a bit of hard driving, i still get about 14kmpl

Getting stuck with the throttle cable on the ghats of srisailam must have been a harrowing experience. Nice to know that you were in Hyderabad for 2 years and but surprised you never logged into the meet section to see the action happening out here?

Cheers and continue to have fun with your blacky
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Old 22nd July 2009, 18:53   #11
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That was one hell of a review! Well written with the various phases spelled out!

Great going, HighwayStar!

Wishing you and Blacky many more miles to come!

So many KM's, with such rough runs and still no rattling? Says a lot of the build quality!
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Old 22nd July 2009, 18:59   #12
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Very well written. The description of the car and of how you used it, is an excellent blend! What ICE do you have?
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Old 5th November 2009, 12:59   #13
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Kudos to the well written piece.

Your write up is very similar to the emotions I have for my Accent GLX 2001. Very faithful and very agile like a cheetah. Great car and the chasis does take a lot of load. The only minus is the ground clearing which like all humans do, we have to make sure the steerings and the wheels move well to avoid the heartburn of a underbelly scrapping. Some speedbreakers in mumbai are nothing short of a car breaker but my Betsy manages well.

Cars love the highways a lot.In my earlier Nissan car, of the 30000 miles, almost 26000 came from interstate driving. The baby was smooth as silk. The guy at the dealership just could not believe the ride quality. Sniff, I miss her.

But Betsy, all black and chic, does give many other cars a run. I often have these duels with the higher end cars at the signals on my commute and often the chase is won on the higher engine displacement. Ordinary cars like the city/ford/swift, are quite convincingly pulped many a time.

I just put her new shoes Michellin XM1+ about two months ago at 45000 odo replacing the aged 8 year old OEM S322s which by the way still had some rubber. The dealer actually gave me 300 bucks for them!

My FE used to be around 13-14 now hovers around 12. Must be because my average speed of drive moved up from a safe 70-80 cruizing to a 90-100 kmph menacing chaser

Love my car and hope to see you get the 150000 mark together. I am at 50k and will race you there and we can exchange notes then ;-)
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