(Originally published on August 21, 2010.)
It’s come to my attention that many TTAC readers are extremely disturbed by my willingness to share the lurid details of my Technicolor lifestyle with all of you. Some of you don’t believe anything I say; others believe it all and are simply horrified. After some quiet counseling with my spiritual advisor, I’ve decided to confine myself to traditional auto-writing for a while. Unfortunately, I made this decision after completing the review you’re about to read. For your comfort, I’ve redacted the ridiculous jargon, shocking sexual audacity and repulsive images of the ghetto. Whenever you see a word in brackets, like this –> [Wildflower] < -- it means that I've changed the text from the original. Please read on in total bliss, knowing you will not be offended - JB
As previously discussed, I’m a little short on cars at the moment. Therefore, when I heard that there was a spot open for the 2011 Ford Edge preview, just 403 miles away in Nashville, TN, I didn’t know how I was going to get there. Luckily, I know a [fellow] who was more than willing to help. [He] is a former exotic [animal trainer] who now works as a hair-[spring winder at a major Swiss-watch company]. Somehow [he] escaped from [his] last relationship with a free 2005 Hyundai Accent GL automatic. I’m not sure how [he] got it; when I asked [he] said something about a particularly vigorous reverse [cowboy]. No matter. We decided to head down to Nashville for some auto reviewing and an all-night [recording] session.
If you’re really interested in what a 2005 Accent is like, I can answer in one sentence: it’s what the Chevrolet Aveo was supposed to be. Want more? Sure. It’s no-nonsense, competent Korean transportation. The paint is very thin and it’s not unusual to see these cars begin to rust before their fifth birthdays. They are reliable but not particularly durable, if you understand the distinction. This 50,200-mile example had noticeable surface wear everywhere the owner touches the car in normal operation. The dashboard and door panels have faded to different shades of grey. The driver’s seat fabric is very well-worn and the carpet is unraveling. I’ve observed this particular Accent simply wear out over the past 35,000 miles, and I’ve also performed all the required maintenance, which has consisted of nothing more than front brakes, oil changes, and swapping out the original garbage tires for Goodyear Integrity no-seasons.
Rolling down Interstate 71, the little Hyundai floated pretty well up to eighty miles per hour, which placed the tach needle squarely on the halfway point to the 6500-rpm redline. Every car has a “comfortable” freeway velocity range, at which it feels neither particularly stressed nor particularly underworked, and for the Accent that’s between about 70 and 82mph. You can run it past ninety on the speedo — I did, just to see what would happen — but it doesn’t want to be up there and neither do you. To begin with, the brakes are mushy at best, even with decent pads installed, and the suspension is amazingly soft. As a consequence, the Accent actually rides well on an American interstate. In terms of vibration isolation and pothole resistance, it’s easily on par with a modern Chevy Cruze, although the NVH situation is much more like that of an ’83 Honda Civic.
Did I mention that it’s loud? Oh yes, enough so to more or less drown out the aftermarket stereo. On the plus side, even on the “2” fan speed the HVAC system could actually make us cold in the ninety-one-degree, ninety-percent humidity heat. “God, this is a long ride,” my passenger said. “Let’s pull over at that dark rest stop and you can run your hands all over [the roadside marker welcoming us to the state of Tennessee]. I hope the people in the room next to us at the hotel tonight don’t mind hearing us [discuss the novels of Orson Scott Card] for a solid hour.”
“Seriously,” I replied, “I can’t wait to rip your [bag of cheddar Bugles open], toss you up against [a velcro wall at a local gymnasium] and bang [out the intro to “Four Sticks” with a pair of carbon-fiber Montblanc pens].” More than that, however, I really wished that Hyundai had specified cruise control in the “GL” trim level. It’s been a long time since I had any useful cartilage in my right knee. Add in the relatively cramped driving position and narrow footwell, and I was in agony long before we actually rolled into Music City.
The combination of a small four-cylinder engine, a torque-converter transmission, and blocky styling rarely results in fuel-economy headlines, and for that reason I wasn’t surprised to see that we’d averaged just 32.5 miles per gallon on the way down. On the other hand, that’s apparently what Civic Hybrids get, and we’d made the 403-mile drive in just five hours and twenty-two minutes including two fuel stops.
Honestly, I was impressed by the little Accent. It’s solid basic transportation, and if it’s only a 100,000-mile car, it’s an extremely affordable one. I would take it over the current Aveo in a heartbeat, for the same money. If you’re shopping new, the current Accent is noticeably nicer than our 2005-model tester. For the same money, however, you can have a Nissan Versa, and most people would probably agree that’s a better idea.
After a long day of driving free cars, eating fabulous meals, attending a Larry Carlton trio show at the Belcourt Theatre, and sending the bartender back to the stockroom for a second bottle of Ketel One Citroen, I was pleased as punch to see my friend had brought one of [his] friends back to the hotel. [He] is reliable like that. A whispered aside in my ear informed me that the three of us were good to go for a three-way [game of Magic: The Gathering]. I excused myself to head upstairs and prepare for their arrival. My Godin 5th Avenue archtop guitar had been laid on the bed by the hotel staff. I began playing “Harvest Moon” and passed out somewhere during the second verse.
When I awoke, I had two annoyed-looking [dudes] staring at me. “Don’t worry,” I said, “we are still totally going to [play this card game] despite the fact that I feel like throwing [most of the ‘Fallen Empires’ expansion set directly in the trash].” I opened up my [card case] and summoned my [“Sengir Vampire” card] into action. Unfortunately for me, I was so loaded I couldn’t even get the [counters which symbolize the expected +1/+1 boost from killing opposing creatures] on. “Uh, I think the two of you are going to have to [use carefully constructed decks of cards to cast magic spells on] eachother,” I opined, and fell into the couch with sufficient velocity to knock it over.
The next day I learned that the interior of the 2005 Hyundai Accent resonates at exactly the same frequency as the blood vessels in my aching, aching head. THE END.