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2018 Hyundai Accent Review - A Sensible Sedan

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2018 Hyundai Accent
A Sensible Sedan

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

I was scheduled to make a solo road trip from my Chicago home to Southeast Michigan to participate in an automaker product event. A 2018 Hyundai Accent would be my conveyance.

A road trip is a great opportunity to measure fuel consumption, get a good feel for the vehicle’s drive train, as well as explore the features and equipment in the cabin especially the seat comfort.

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The Accent is entirely new for 2018 and made its debut at the 2017 Orange County Auto Show in Anaheim, CA. A couple months after the debut I got a first hand look and product briefing on the new Accent at a presentation to the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

Michael Evanoff, Hyundai’s manager of product planning, provided MAMA members an overview of the fifth generation Accent, Hyundai’s lowest priced sedan. The five-seat compact sedan (there is no hatchback for 2018) has a new exterior design that’s longer and wider resulting in more interior room. The wheelbase is a touch longer that makes for a more comfortable ride.

With new exterior sheet metal, the Accent features Hyundai’s new, signature cascading grille and is offered with projector headlights with LED daytime running lights and available fog lights. New LED taillights are also available. Overall, with a quick comparison to the outgoing 2017 Accent one can easily discern the more refined exterior that presents a more up-scale look to the 2018.

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Below the skin Hyundai has made extensive use of high strength steel and correspondingly increased torsional rigidity, improved NVH as well as ride comfort and overall safety.

There’s just one engine, a 1.6-L direct injected I-4 producing 130-HP and 119 lb.-ft. of torque. Hyundai says, compared to the previous generation Accent, the engine’s powerband has improved, with increased low end torque to make drivability easier. This engine is paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel efficiency has been improved by an estimated 7 percent overall.

EPA test-cycle fuel economy ratings are 32 mpg combined with 28 city mpg and 38 highway mpg for the automatic. The manual transmission is rated one mpg lower in the highway test.

In the cabin, along with more room, interior materials have been refined a bit. Centered in the IP is a 5-inch or optional 7-inch display with a standard rear back-up camera and available Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Hyundai Blue Link and SiriusXM satellite radio.

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A hands-free Smart trunk senses the driver is near from at least three feet away and the trunk automatically opens. I had a laughable moment with this trunk feature as I paused behind the Accent to use my mobile phone and the trunk then decided to pop open.

On the safety front, Accent has available Forward Collision-avoidance Assist that utilizes a front forward facing radar to detect a vehicle and warn the driver of a potential collision. If the driver does not react to avoid the impact, the system will apply emergency braking.

The 2018 Accent Trim is offered in SE, SEL and Limited trims. Base prices for the three are $14,995, $17,295 and $18,895. The SE comes with the 6-speed manual and the automatic is $1,000 additional. The SEL and Limited are automatic only.

My road-tripper was the Limited trim. I probably put about 600 mostly-highway miles on the Accent. Its on-highway behavior was what I had expected. For a low priced sedan it has decent road manners and acceptable interior noise levels. It does drive quite nicely. The 1.6-L engine delivers decent acceleration and highway merging and passing ability. The suspension is adequately compliant and provides good overall vehicle ride control. The 17-inch wheels mounted with P205/45 proved comfortable on the highway.

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On my road trip I easily exceeded the EPA highway rating by over 10-percent, achieving an average of 42 mpg while at the same time cruising at spirited highway speeds. The Accent has an 11.9 gallon fuel tank and with the nice highway fuel economy was able to make each direction on my trip without the need to stop and refuel.

More information, specifications and details on the 2018 Hyundai Accent can be found at

The Accent is a very affordable compact car and budget-constrained buyers should give it a good look. Also, it’s a great choice for a city dweller who will appreciate its compact dimensions. I wouldn’t rule it out for a new teen driver, however my recommendation would be the Limited trim with forward collision braking.

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2018 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy