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Discussion Starter #1
I requested a subcompact rental car for my trip to Detroit so I could get a better baseline for how these cars behave. I've never driven a subcompact for more than a few miles. The lady told me I could have a Cobalt for just $5 more, I stuck with the "Honda Accent" as she called it. Within moment of starting I thought "this is nothing like the Fiesta I test drove last year". It wasn't all bad, the was ample power for merging and passing, even on Detroit's 70-mph interstates. And the ride wasn't that bad. However, the engine boom at those speeds made me wonder when it was going to upshift again (it was a 4-speed). Things got even worse off the interstate, where the transmission became indecisive and the steering seemed to get thrown off by big bumps. The interior was miserable and drab. One big advantage, it only used 6 gallons of gas in my punishing loop around the Detroit metro.
On the whole, it was the worst car I've driven since giving up my K-car in '99. But the good news is that the things that I found most wrong with it (steering and transmission) are the things Ford has worked on the most with the Fiesta. Cars like this Accent give subcompacts a bad name, it's all the more amazing that 4000 people have decided to give Fiesta a chance ( unless 3999 of them are rental fleet owners).
 

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Hyundai's Sub Compacts are usually better than that though how many miles did the car have on it? Do you know what year it was also? Plus keep in mind rental fleet vehicles receive serious abuse no matter how well you keep it maintained. People beat the snot out of these vehicles because they just don't care since it isn't theirs.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
2009 model 21,000 miles. It's possible the condition of the car had something to do with the bad driving experience, but last year I had a rental Kia Spectra (one class bigger) which was a decent car all around and I've had many other good rental cars. So you can't blame it all on being a rental car. Hyundai has some good cars in its lineup, but the Excel/Accent has always been a bottom feeder. I just didn't know how low the bottom was.
 

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The Spectra is great, I drove my fiancé's to Georgia and back. The fuel mileage on that thing was just insane. I almost went 500 miles on a tank of gas doing 70 as the average speed. The seats sucked for comfort but the handling was well defined, only other beef with it was that she can't drive a stick so it was an automatic. That and I noticed for some reason Kia Speedos are five mph off so I had to use GPS to calculate the fuel mileage. Roughly 41 mpg to that tank.
 

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Going by all the reviews I've read and from sitting in the car, the Accent is perfectly competent A to B transport but nothing more than that. The Fiesta, meanwhile, is alot more than that.

The Spectra is great, I drove my fiancé's to Georgia and back. The fuel mileage on that thing was just insane. I almost went 500 miles on a tank of gas doing 70 as the average speed. The seats sucked for comfort but the handling was well defined, only other beef with it was that she can't drive a stick so it was an automatic. That and I noticed for some reason Kia Speedos are five mph off so I had to use GPS to calculate the fuel mileage. Roughly 41 mpg to that tank.
Wow. If you like the Kia Spectra I think you're going to love the Fiesta, I imagine it's in a whole different world.
 

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Not many people tend to like Kia but having driven the Spectra and Sportage I would invest in them. The 1.8L is a good engine and I know Fords 1.6L will be even better.
 

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Not many people tend to like Kia but having driven the Spectra and Sportage I would invest in them. The 1.8L is a good engine and I know Fords 1.6L will be even better.
Hyundai and Kia small offerings have come a LONG way in the past decade or so...Sure the Accent and Rio are rather bland..but they are really good products for what they are and the folks that buy these are only looking for reliable daily transport at a very inexpensive price....They are a GREAY value, but they are dull to drive and own....

I don't think I could EVER BUY one of these after being able to own the excellent VW products like the Golf and Rabbit over the past couple of decades...

I really don't think you can consider the Accent and Rio competitors for the Fiesta or even the FIT.
 

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You're right about bland and boring in driving despite great handling, it was all I could do to stay awake while driving. Energy shots, an audio book and chats with the lady were hardly enough to keep me going. Ten years ago I don't think anybody would dare buy a Kia, despite their radical deals and offerings. In the past five years alone Kia has made strong strides to give the people a better quality product not to mention help people into their first new car.

VW does give its bang for the buck, I have to admit having driven everything shy of a classic and new beetle. I think the Golf is tried and true one of VW's best small cars aside the Polo/Fox. Though I'm not thrilled about VW making an exclusive NA only lineup of cars.
 
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