Hyundai Accent: Fifth-gen subcompact offers enhanced acceleration

SHARE Hyundai Accent: Fifth-gen subcompact offers enhanced acceleration
SHARE Hyundai Accent: Fifth-gen subcompact offers enhanced acceleration

Since 1994, the Accent has been a reliable car, but it was rarely referred to as one offering exterior distinction or interior comfort — as an economy-class car, that was perfectly fine — and that has been plenty for more than 1.2 million owners ever since.

The new Accent grows to 168 inches long and offers 90 cubic feet of space for passengers and a 14-cubic-foot trunk. Presenting as a 2,502-lb. compact sedan, there’s far more heft – though it remains the stable’s entry-level car.

The Accent’s larger size not only delivers a more substantial and stylish image, but it easily competes with the best-seller in the entry-level class, the compact Nissan Versa, which also is marketed as a subcompact.

Enhanced Versatility

This new Accent has dropped the versatile hatchback from the lineup. The 2018 Hyundai Accent is only offered as a four-door sedan. Fortunately, the new Accent sedan sports sleeker and more sophisticated exterior styling, a new signature cascading grille, improved ride comfort, a spacious cargo area, and available technologies like Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a 7-inch touchscreen display and automatic emergency braking.

The Accent now looks more like its larger Elantra sibling – and that should improve interest in Accent. Price is another plus for Accent. The 2018 Hyundai Accent is offered in three trim levels: SE ($14,995), SEL ($17,295) and Limited ($18,995).

Performance

All Accent models are powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 130 horsepower. The engine has been reworked to produce better acceleration from a stop and improved fuel efficiency, but its horsepower rating has dropped by seven over last year’s model.

Accent’s revised engine does deliver adequate acceleration when lightly loaded, but it does require a bit more push on the pedal when loaded down with four adults. The trade-off – greater engine noise in the cabin.

The base SE trim is the only version that can be had with a 6-speed manual transmission. A 6-speed automatic transmission is a $1,000 option for SE models, and comes standard in SEL and Limited models.

Accent’s fuel economy (28/38/32 mpg city/highway/combined with the automatic) is good, but it could be better. Interestingly, certain versions of the larger Hyundai Elantra and Honda Civic deliver higher fuel mileage.

Stylish Surroundings

Accent’s cabin is more stylish than before and offers plenty of room up front for tall folks. The seats are okay for commuting, but need a bit more support if you plan on taking road trips.

Taller folks may find it difficult getting in and out of the rear seating area, especially if the front seats are in their rear most position. Fitting four tall adults in Accent is difficult.

For a subcompact car, Accent has a large 13.7 cu. ft. cargo area. For added versatility, all Accent models feature 60/40 split-folding rear seats.

With the exception of full-throttle acceleration, Accent’s cabin remains surprisingly quiet for this segment. The ride feels slightly more refined than last year’s model, and Accent handles uneven pavement really well.

Standard Features

In base SE trim, the 2018 Hyundai Accent comes nicely equipped with features like power windows and locks, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, Bluetooth phone connectivity, 5-inch color touchscreen display, rearview camera with dynamic guidelines and more.

The SEL adds 15-inch alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, heated body-color power side mirrors, automatic headlights, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone connectivity with voice recognition, 7-inch color touchscreen display, Android Auto, Apple Carplay and more.

The Limited adds 17-inch alloy wheels, projector headlights, LED taillights, fog lights, hands-free automatic trunk opener, power sunroof, automatic emergency braking, heated front seats, proximity key with push button starting, automatic climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, Hyundai’s Blue Link Connected Services with 3-year subscription, and more.

With a long list of standard and available amenities and advanced technologies, pleasing looks, and improved driving dynamics, the all-new 2018 Hyundai Accent is a serious contender in this segment.

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