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2018 Hyundai Accent debuts with new looks, roomier cabin

Driving.ca logo Driving.ca 2017-02-16 Nick Tragianis
2018 Hyundai Accent © Nick Tragianis, Driving 2018 Hyundai Accent

What is it? There will be a day where sales of crossovers and SUVs will eclipse cars, but that isn’t stopping Hyundai from breathing new life into its plucky and not-so-little Accent. The fifth-generation grows in almost every dimension and gains a snazzy new look inspired by its bigger brother, the Elantra.

Why does it matter? The 2018 Accent is one of Hyundai’s bread-and-butter models in Canada, dominating the subcompact segment with 23.7 per cent of the market and having sold more than 430,000 copies over the last two-plus decades. Like it or not, bargain-basement-cheap cars are here to stay.

Research the Hyundai Accent on MSN Autos

And yet, the Accent is so much more than a ‘bargain basement’ cheap compact. Underpinned by Hyundai’s Superstructure platform, the Accent is 32 per cent stiffer thanks to the use of more high-strength steel in the chassis. This translates to better driving dynamics and an improved sense of refinement – but we’ll have to wait and see how this translates to on-road behaviour.

2018 Hyundai Accent © Nick Tragianis, Driving 2018 Hyundai Accent

Powertrain options are familiar – a 1.6-litre direct-injected four-cylinder engine pumps out 132 horsepower and 119 lb.-ft. of torque, but it’s been retuned for better passing power and fuel economy. Buyers can have the 1.6L four-cylinder engine hooked up to a manual or automatic transmission, both with six gears.

The most impressive bit is arguably the looks, both inside and out. Coming across as something of a baby Elantra, the Accent is fetching for a subcompact, wearing Hyundai’s trademark cascading grile and optional LED daytime running lights up front. Under the skin, goodies such as push-button start, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, plus safety nannies such as automatic braking, are available.

When is it coming? The 2018 Accent sedan will launch later this year, followed by a hatchback in early 2018. That hatchback, by the way, will be exclusive to Canada.

Should you buy it?  Subcompact crossovers might be the next best thing since sliced bread – and automakers are already abandoning the subcompact car segment altogether – but Hyundai’s efforts to thoroughly revise the Accent is a smart move considering Canadians are still snapping up cars like these. The Accent is promising, but we’ll have to wait and see if it’s worth a spot on your short list.

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