Having undergone a major restyling in 2003, and with a completely new version in the wings that will launch for 2006, Hyundai’s entry-level Accent two-door hatchback (Accent 3 Door) and four-door sedan versions undergo very minor changes for 2005. The most significant difference is a price drop over 2004 – as much as $300 less for the hatchback, even though it now contains a better stereo.

The other big news is the Accent5, a four-door hatchback added for 2005 that brings extra practicality to a line already known for its value and usefulness.

All Accents are powered by a 1.6-litre inline four-cylinder that’s almost sporty in the light (992 kg) two-door, although it’s noisy in all models to the point that its constant drone on the highway becomes very annoying, very quickly. The Accent’s lack of cruise control, even as an option, makes a long-haul trip even less appealing.

The base Accent 3 Door GS receives a new AM/FM/CD for 2005, along with its standard dual remote mirrors, power steering, 60/40 folding rear seats, tachometer and digital clock. A “Comfort Package” including air conditioning, upgraded 14-inch tires, rear washer/wiper, power locks, heated mirrors, power windows and MP3 capability on the CD player can be added for $1,525.

The upper-line Accent 3 Door GSi gets the CD/MP3 player as standard equipment for 2005, along with upgraded tires on 14-inch aluminum alloy wheels, rear wiper, power locks, manual sunroof, rear spoiler, fog lamps, white-faced gauges, leather-wrapped wheel and “sporty-tuned” suspension.

Accent 4 Door GL also gets the CD/MP3 player as standard equipment for 2005. It shares all features with Accent5 (except the hatchback’s standard rear washer/wiper), including remote mirrors, power steering, deluxe floor covering, 60/40 folding rear seats, and 14-inch steel wheels.

Accent 4 Door GL can be optioned with stand-alone air conditioning, or the “Comfort Package” of air, power locks and windows, and heated mirrors. Accent5 can also be ordered with either package; when ordered on Accent5, the “Comfort Package” also adds keyless entry and security alarm.

In any configuration, the Accent is a decent little car for the money; its five-speed manual is one of the smoothest at this price point (a four-speed automatic is available), fit-and-finish is good, and while everything is plastic inside, it’s all textured and doesn’t look chintzy. Controls are simple and intelligently placed, save for a cupholder arrangement that blocks the heater dials when a cup is inserted.

One questionable marketing decision is ABS, which is available as an option in the United States but is not to be had, at any price, on cars sold in Canada. Even the base Kia Rio four-door sedan comes with ABS as standard equipment, and at $12,995, it’s the same price as the rock-bottom Accent 3 Door GS. It would also be nice to get the 10-year powertrain warranty American buyers get. The Canadian powertrain warranty was scaled back from 7 years/120,000 km in 2004 to 5 years/100,000 km in 2005.

The Hyundai Accent is built in Ulsan, Korea.

Connect with Autos.ca