Accent on affordability: Hyundai’s entry-level car gets a makeover

The 2018 Hyundai Accent Limited trim level includes Forward Collision-avoidance Assist, power sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels and a proximity key with push button start. Hyundai photo
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The 2018 Hyundai Accent Limited trim level includes Forward Collision-avoidance Assist, power sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels and a proximity key with push button start. Hyundai photo

Initial impressions are important. So, when it comes to first-time new-car buyers, it is likely they are going to be looking at the lower price-point options in an automaker’s lineup. For Hyundai, that puts the focus on the Accent, the least expensive vehicle in its showrooms.

Former Wheels editors Jimmy Dinsmore and Dave Mikesell are here to tell you what they see in the 2018 Accent.

DAVE: What I don't see is a hatchback. Hyundai has opted to clean the slate with this compact car that is now available only as a sedan. A bit larger than the previous edition, the Accent checks in at 14.3 feet in length, with more room inside for front seat riders. Most noticeable is a revamped exterior that leaves it closely aligned in appearance with the larger Elantra and Sonata sedans. Considering those two have begun to exude a little style, this seems like a good choice, don't you think, Jimmy?

JIMMY: I actually miss the hatch, Dave. I like hatchbacks. But I do really like the new styling on the sedan. There are three trims – the base trim SE, the middle trim SEL and the top-of-the-line Limited – which is a good thing for the consumer, keeping it simple and to the point. A simplified options package is available, too, depending on your wants and needs. Hyundai also kept it simple with the powertrain, as Dave will note.

DAVE: Only one engine is offered, a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that produces 130 horsepower. While that number isn't a head turner, neither is it a detriment as it moves the Accent along capably. We tested a Limited version and its 6-speed automatic transmission that comes with a Sport mode. The car handles well but the best parts of the driving experience are that the cabin remains relatively quiet and the EPA fuel economy ratings are a user-friendly 28 mpg/city and 38 mpg/highway. The interior has some friendly features, too.

JIMMY: Despite the Accent being in the subcompact category, that doesn't mean there isn't interior room, because there is. The Accent is rated as a five-passenger, but keep that number to four adults and there will be happy rear passengers as both legroom and headroom are ample for even adults. The Accent is a starter vehicle, so it isn't going to wow you with luxury and amenities. But what it offers is a solid, comfortable and respectable interior.

Hyundai’s Blue Link system is great for families and brand-new drivers as you can set boundaries and rules that basically function as a “nanny” system. Upgrade from the five-inch touchscreen to the seven-inch, and the infotainment system is clean and easy to use. It won’t blow you away, but it has enough and is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

DAVE: A luxury sedan driver might pooh-pooh the benefits of a car costing less than $20K (and especially at less than $16K), but the Accent shares lines with larger, pricier alternatives, has a strong list of amenities and carries Hyundai's noted warranty. That is more than all right with me.

JIMMY: As the new car industry continues to price itself out of many people's comfort zones, the Accent fills a need, offering an affordably priced car with enough things to get you from here to there. That may not sound like glowing praise, but the price is right and there are enough things right about the Accent, too


2018 HYUNDAI ACCENT LIMITED

  • Price/As-tested price………………………………………… $18,895/$19,905
  • Mileage…………………………………… 28 mpg/city; 38 mpg/hwy
  • Engine……………………………………… 1.6-liter 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower/torque…………………………… 130 hp/119 lbs.-ft.
  • Transmission…………………………… 6-speed automatic
  • Drive wheels……………. Front-wheel drive
  • Final assembly point……………. Nuevo Leon, Mexico

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