Retro Cars Wiki

Designed to compete at the very bottom of the market, Hyundai's original U.S. entry since 1986, the Excel, was priced lower than everything except the Yugo. Based almost solely on several-year-old Mitsubishi technology, it was basically a Mirage with Italian-designed bodywork and made in Korea. On the surface it was an honest, basic car that promised to deliver more miles per dollar than most of its competitors, but warranty problems interfered with sales.

Year-to-year changes[]

1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 Discontinued
Excel Accent
Base 2DR Hatchback L 2DR Hatchback 2002
GS 2DR Hatchback Base 2DR Hatchback GS 2DR Hatchback 2002
Base 4DR Sedan N/A Base 4DR Sedan GL 4DR Sedan 2004
GL 4DR Sedan
N/A GT 2DR Hatchback GSi 2DR Hatchback N/A 1998


The Excel was available as a 2-door hatchback or 4-door sedan. The hatchback had two models (base and GS), while the sedan had three (base, GL and GLS).


The GLS sedan was removed from the lineup, leaving behind the other four Excel models.


Except for some slight styling revisions, no other changes were made to the Hyundai Excel in 1993. This was the last model year for the base sedan.


The 4-speed manual was dropped from the base hatchback, and in its place was a 5-speed unit. After 1994, the Hyundai Excel was replaced by the Hyundai Accent, though the Excel continued production through November 1994.


Ever since the Hyundai Excel was discontinuing in late 1994, Hyundai fought back with new products and improved quality control for the cars it has introduced since then. The new Accent, announced as Excel's replacement in April 1994, promised to be a complete break from the Excel, although it still competed with the Geo Metro, Mitsubishi Mirage, Ford Aspire and Toyota Tercel.

Hyundai has paid more attention to what Americans really buy and reduced Accent models to just a 4-door and an attractive notchback coupe that disguises the fact that it's a hatchback. Preliminary information is that the three trim levels on last year's Excel, base, GL, and GS, will be retained. The wheelbase is longer than the Excel's, but the suspension appears to be a refinement, with struts up front, but an independent multilink rear suspension has been retained, which is unusual in this price category.

The engine is part of Hyundai's new Alpha family, which is designed and built in Korea and is no longer a Mitsubishi hand-me-down. It has lower maintenance requirements, lower noise and over 11% more horsepower compared with the Excel. Despite improved performance, EPA fuel economy has remained about the same.

To this day, the Accent still remains Hyundai's entry-level car in North America.


Late in September 1995, a new GT hatchback was introduced for the 1996 model year. Pricing was announced in October 1995.


The base hatchback and sedan were rebadged the GS and GL, respectively, when the cars were introduced in November 1996.


The GT hatchback was replaced by the GSi for 1998. The cars went on sale in November 1997.


The GSi hatchback was discontinued for 1999. The other models went on sale in October 1998.

Retail prices[]

Date priced Model year Body style Trim level MSRP
January 26, 1994 1994 2-door hatchback Base $7,390
1994 2-door hatchback GS $8,299
1994 4-door sedan GL $8,399
January 5, 1995 1995 2-door hatchback L $8,079
1995 2-door hatchback Base $8,455
1995 4-door sedan Base $8,979
April 17, 1995 1995 2-door hatchback Base $8,579
1995 4-door sedan Base $9,079
October 6, 1995 1996 2-door hatchback L $8,285
1996 2-door hatchback Base $8,795
1996 4-door sedan Base $9,295
1996 2-door hatchback GT $9,909


Video Clips[]


Hyundai Excel 2DR Hatchback