With this model year, the new Hyundai Accent begins its fifth generation. Launched in 1994 as a 1995 model, the Accent replaced the Excel, which was Hyundai’s first model to be sold in the U.S. The first generation lasted until the 2000 model year appearing initially as either a three-door hatchback or a four-door sedan. Subsequent generations followed suit, as far as body styles are concerned. For 2018, however, Hyundai decided to drop its hatchback and offer this Accent only as a sedan.
The new Accent comes in three trim levels. There’s the base model SE, which starts at $14,595. The more upscale, mid-level SEL comes in at $17,295. On the top rung, the Limited model comes loaded from $18,895 and up.
In terms of its appearance, the 2018 Hyundai Accent’s design displays sculpted body forms and smoothly contoured lines and edges resulting in a new interpretation of Hyundai’s signature design language. Up front is Hyundai’s signature cascading grille, which is flanked by wraparound headlights and available LED signature daytime running lights. In profile, the sweeping roof and sharp character lines traverse the length of the car. These character lines meet available slim LED wraparound taillights. Features such as 17-inch alloy wheels and side mirror LED turn signal indicators add to the upscale feel of the car. The car’s functional form achieves a balance between design and engineering with aerodynamic improvements. The Accent’s underside is also sculpted for aerodynamics. A new front-lip spoiler, combined with a lower ride height, contributes to its design efficiency. These features result in a 0.28 coefficient of drag.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
The 2018 Accent is larger, with more ample interior space than the previous generation. Overall, it’s 1.2 inches wider and 0.6 inches longer than before. Hyundai didn’t make the new car any taller, however, which helps deliver a grounded stance. The wheelbase has also increased 0.4 inches. That helps push the wheels out to the corners of the car, achieving 104 cubic feet of passenger volume.
The cabin showcases a pleasing simplicity that isn’t luxurious, but isn’t lacking in creature comforts either. If you move up from the SE, you naturally get a few more features. For instance, SEL and Limited trim levels provide an additional USB port for back seat occupants. The infotainment touchscreen bumps up from 5 to 7 inches, as well.
All models come with a 60/40 split folding rear seat and six airbags as standard. Wind noise has been reduced for a quieter interior, which enhances audio quality. SEL and Limited trims offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. Hyundai’s Blue Link system integrates with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, which lets you control certain features through voice commands. One of the more important tech features in the new Accent is the available Forward Collision Avoidance system. Even in your entry-level car, you can have this feature to help you out if you don’t brake in time yourself.
I tested a 2018 Hyundai Accent Limited in Silver Metallic. That silver exterior came coupled to a black and gray interior. A sober combination perhaps, but everything looked durable. This Accent’s base MSRP was $18,895, but that bumped up to $19,905 once you factor in the destination charge. There were no optional features on my test vehicle, as the Limited model comes with pretty much all available features and equipment for the Accent for less than $20,000.
This latest Hyundai Accent is powered by a 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine. It delivers 130 horsepower to the front wheels at 6,300 rpm along with 119 lb-ft of torque at 4,850 rpm. The sole powerplant mates to either a standard six-speed manual on SE models, or a six-speed Shiftronic automatic with Hillstart Assist Control. The EPA highway mileage estimate for the manual is 37 MPG, or 38 for the automatic.
Acceleration was adequate, although a tad more torque would have proved to be beneficial, since 119 lb-ft is pretty minimal. I’ve heard that the manual gearbox seems a little perkier than the automatic transmission, but I didn’t have the opportunity to compare the two. The Automatic provides a switch operated drive mode selector that transitions from Normal to Sport, which improves responsiveness a bit.
The Accent’s ride quality is compliant and comfortable. Its handling characteristics deliver a competent feel, if not sporty. Hyundai did work on making the Accent better to drive this time around, with a 32 percent improvement in torsional rigidity.
The 2018 Hyundai Accent Limited represents a sound choice for efficient, entry level transportation. This car is not likely to stir the avid auto enthusiast’s emotions, but it serves its purpose quite well. The Accent also comes with Hyundai’s Assurance program, which includes a 5-year/60,000-mile fully-transferable limited warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty. You even get five years of complimentary Roadside Assistance. Blue Link Connected Care provides owners of Hyundai models equipped with the Blue Link telematics system with proactive safety and car care services complimentary for three years.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Hyundai Accent Limited
|Price as Tested:||$19,905|
|Engine:||1.6-liter DOHC, dual-CVVT inline four-cylinder w/ direct injection|
|Drivetrain (Layout):||Transversely-mounted front-engine, front-wheel drive|
|Horsepower:||130 hp @ 6,300 RPM|
|Torque:||119 lb-ft @ 4,850 RPM|
|Transmission:||Six-speed automatic w/ Shiftronic, Overdrive lock-up torque converter and Hill Start Assist|
|Suspension:||Front: MacPherson strut w/ coil springs, twin-tube gas shock absorbers and 22.2 mm stabilizer bar Rear: Coupled torsion axle w/ coil springs, twin-tube gas shock absorbers|
|Brakes:||Power-assisted front-discs, rear drums w/ ABS, Electronic Force Distribution, Stability Control, Traction Control|
|Tires:||Continental ProContact P205/45 R17|
|Fuel capacity:||11.9 gallons|
|Fuel economy (EPA):||28 City/38 Highway/32 Combined MPG|
|Width:||68.1 inches (excluding mirrors)|
|Turning Circle:||33.46 feet|
|Curb Weight:||2,679 pounds|