The subcompact, four-door Hyundai Accent enters its fifth generation in the 2018-MY after making its debut at the 2017 Canadian International Auto Show. The new car sheds its hatchback variant while making gains in fuel economy and debuting a panoply of new infotainment and safety features.
The 2018 Accent was built to steal sales from the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, and Toyota Yaris iA. It boasts class-competitive power, fuel economy, and sophisticated styling that is largely borrowed from the compact Elantra and midsize Sonata. The wheelbase grows by a hair under a half-inch and makes incremental gains in width and passenger volume, but the dimensions are largely the same as the outgoing model’s.
The prior generation’s 1.6-liter inline four returns with slight downgrades to 130 horsepower (hp) and 119 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque. No optional engine upgrade or performance-oriented model had been announced at press time. Equipped with a standard six-speed stick, the retuned engine gets 31 miles per gallon (mpg) in combined city and highway driving; opting for a six-speed automatic ups the combined mpg to 32, including an enviable 38 mpg in highway driving.
A more rigid chassis carries the Accent’s much-improved sheet metal, starting with a smart-looking grille-and-projection-beam-headlight combo and finishing with available LED taillights. The new car rides atop available 17-inch wheels, a rarity in the economy arena.
The redesign continues into the cabin, which sports a clean, modern, uncluttered look. Analog gauges are replaced with a 7-inch LCD display; a 5- or 7-inch center console-mounted touchscreen displays the Accent’s first-ever rearview camera. Sporty imitation-leather seats offer room for five, but rear middle-seat passengers must be narrow of hip to squeeze in comfortably.
The base SE comes equipped with 15-inch wheels and a 5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, and power windows and locks with keyless entry. Opting for the mid-level SEL brings the larger touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, four-wheel disc brakes, auto headlights, and more; the top-of-the-line Limited edition adds power sunroof, emergency braking, heated front seats, and auto climate control.
The new-for-2018 Hyundai Accent is due to hit showrooms before the end of 2017. MSRPs will start at $14,745 for the base SE with manual transmission. Pricing for the upmarket trims had not been announced at press time; the outgoing Limited starts at $22,350.