By on February 16, 2017


Does it look familiar?

If you haven’t seen a new product from Hyundai in the past year and a half, your answer is probably a half-hearted “maybe.” However, the 2018 Hyundai Accent borrows enough design cues from the larger Elantra that the answer should be a solid “Oh, definitely.”

Introduced today at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, the fifth-generation Accent promises more of the things that matter: interior room, length, width, acceleration and fuel economy.

It also breaks from the past in another way. Due to its growth spurt, the Accent — once among the most diminutive cars on the road — can now be classified as a compact.

So, how much did the Accent grow? Inside, volume is up by 1.27 cubic feet in sedan form, and 1.34 cubes in five-door hatchback guise. Cargo volume in the hatch increases by just over half a cubic foot. Not a huge increase, but vehicles have a way of nudging the size ceiling to compete in their respective segments. Many exist just inside the boundaries of their size class.

Outside, the Accent adopts the long bodyside lines of the Elantra, boosting the vehicle’s impression of length. The wide corporate grille has a similar effect, bringing a newfound sense of “serious car” width to the entry-level model. It’s not all in your mind, however. Overall length of the sedan is up six-tenths of an inch, while the hatch now stretches an extra 2.8 inches.


Both bodystyles see four-tenths of an inch added to the wheelbase and an extra 1.1 inches of width. Roof height has stayed put, thought ground clearance has shrunk by four-tenths of an inch.

Hyundai Canada claims the Accent’s newly stiffened body boasts 13 percent more high-strength steel than before, translating into a 32-percent increase in torsional rigidity. That helps eliminate noise/vibration/harshness issues and improve ride quality. The automaker has also installed new rear shocks and a motor-driven power steering system for improved handling.

Inside, the industry-wide trend of packing more content and premium cues into compact and subcompact vehicles continues. More soft-touch surfaces, a standard backup camera and upgraded touchscreen display — which maxes out at 7 inches — joins firmness-adjustable seats for comfortable long-range cruising. A proximity key and push-button start is offered on higher-end trims, as is automatic emergency braking.

Crash protection is also expected to top the previous generation, thanks to reinforcements added to defeat the small overlap crash test.

For 2018, Hyundai engineers fine-tuned the direct-injection 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine for economy and passing performance. Power output drops, from 137 horsepower and 123 lb-ft of torque in 2017 models to 132 hp and 119 lb-ft in next-generation guise. While this would seem to make the new Accent pokier, it isn’t the case.

The automaker claims available torque at 1,500 rpm has increased 4.6 percent, which aids in launches, while acceleration times have been shortened by two-tenths of a second between 25 and 50 miles per hour, and by 1.3 seconds between 50 and 75 miles per hour. Hyundai is aiming at driveability with these improvements. Fuel economy should increase by 7 percent, Hyundai claims.

The same six-speed manual found in the current generation can also be found in the 2018 Accent, though the six-speed automatic has been reworked to shed weight. Automatic models also gain a Sport mode button to wring extra performance from the engine.

While subcompacts aren’t as hot as, say, anything with available all-wheel drive, Hyundai needs to stay competitive in a segment where the Accent currently ranks Number 2. The Accent finished behind the Versa in sales last year, but it did see its sales rise 30 percent to 79,766 units, occupying 17 percent of a segment that slid 3 percent in 2016.

The 2018 Hyundai Accent sedan arrives on dealer lots in the fourth quarter of 2017, with the five-door variant appearing on Canadian lots in early 2018. Sorry, America, only sedans for you.

[Images: Hyundai Auto Canada]

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33 Comments on “2018 Hyundai Accent – Familiar Lines on a Not-so-subcompact Subcompact...”

  • avatar

    Any photos of the hatch? Interesting if the dimensions were released without any pictures.

    • 0 avatar

      Was thinking the same. Only sedans for USA, 5 door option for you small car aficionados north of the border.

      I was hoping for a 3 and 5 door bodystyle. Maybe the Kia will offer it/them.

      Another (USDM) hatchback bites the dust.

  • avatar

    “Outside, the Elantra adopts the long bodyside lines of the Elantra, boosting the vehicle’s impression of length.”

    Might want to proofread before posting…

  • avatar

    This whole class looks awful. I get the upright packaging maximizes space efficiency, but what does that matter when an Elantra looks 150x better for maybe 10% more money?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams


    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I agree, the price delta between the B and C segments isn’t convincing for most of these cars. The Fit gets a pass because of its brilliant packaging and the Versa can at least be had as a dirt cheap limousine, but the others are a bit hard to swallow.

    • 0 avatar

      Subcompact vehicles look and work FAR FAR better as a box. Scion xB 1st gen, Kia Soul, JDM Toyota Tank.

      If you have never heard of the Tank, googalize it and you see what I mean. Its pure brilliance the way the original xB (bB) was.

      • 0 avatar

        Love the Toyota Tank, thank you for that!

        • 0 avatar

          Sure, I was searching for what ever happened to the bB (the first gen Scion xB) and found it a month or so ago. Toyota (ahem, Daihatsu) makes interesting small cars elsewhere, but just like the Mark X, they don’t feel we deserve them after buying the same boring Camrys forever now.

          discontinue Tundra, build Tacoma/HiLux exclusively. Dump the Avalon and put the Mark X at the top of your Toyota-brand sedan lineup (NO IT WONT STEAL LEXUS SALES the way the Venza stole RX sales…oh wait, it didn’t there either).

          Continue the Lexus ES as the somewhat-larger-than-Camry FWD car, it and aloaded Camry will make up for the few that find the RWD/AWD Mark X is too…um, exciting? Yeah. I think. Oh, and make a Mark X coupe. A large RWD Toyota coupe? Yes.

          Enlarge the 86 to form a RWD sedan and wagon sold as a separate model, with a TOYOTA I-4. No boxer. Sell the FWD Corolla on price/in fleets/to typical Toyota drones. The RWD sedan/wagon on fun to drive + utility of the wagon.

          Build a roadster based off the 86.

          Last but not least, bring over your interesting small FWD cars/MPVs like the Tank.

          Variety is the spice of life.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I agree. Boxes work. I like the looks of our 2014 Soul, even though I don’t like the way it drives.

        As for curvier cars, I like the Fiesta and maybe the Sonic, and that’s pretty much it. Other than that, it needs to be something truly stylish, like a MINI.

        • 0 avatar

          Kia’s drivability has consistently been behind the curve. Hyundai, too.

          But if the Soul was a manual, and was the same price as this Accent, sold. I’ll even take steel wheels painted silver with Kia center caps. Okay. I’ll have to add that myself. Lmao.

          Of course I’m not in the market but the Soul is my favorite Kia (currently). Probably my favorite Kia/Hyundai group USDM car. The Forte Koup is kinda cool

          I don’t know if you have seen where I’ve mentioned it before, but I’d make a Soul Seoul Edition concept. Black woodgrain floor with chrome accents. Unique (FAR upgraded materials wise) dash, console, door skins, etc. Four leather buckets, massage/heat/cool/built in infotainment options on each seat. Sound deadening to make it whisper quiet. Largest engine (turbo?) to move all that weight.

          A pint sized Executive transport car. Adorn the exterior with facias adapted from the K9. Upgrade the suspension for a comfortable, drama-free ride quality.

          They will sell tens of them. But the concept might be an answer to a question not yet asked.

          • 0 avatar

            Expect the next gen Soul to be a better driver (one that could make good use of the turbo now offered) as the engineering work on the Elantra Sport (even sans IRS) makes its way down to other H/K models.

    • 0 avatar

      @sportyaccordy: To add to your argument, any purchase price difference between compacts and subcompacts is offset by the poorer resale value of subcompact cars. The fuel economy numbers are also nearly identical.

      No wonder Ford and GM and reconsidering their subcompact offerings in the US.

      • 0 avatar

        Everybody said, BRING OVER SMALL CARS! Stupid domestics HATE SMALL CARS because they’re in bed with BIG OIL.

        So, GM totally revamped the Aveo, making it so much better that it needed a new name. And if that isn’t covering all of your bases, it gets a freaking MiniMe parked next to it, the Spark!

        Ford took the consistently best selling car in Britain and modified it enough for the USDM, and now…

        STUPID FORD DUMPING INTO RENTAL FLEETS! Maybe because NOBODY is buying Fiesta sedans except Hertz and Avis (etc). Great car series in Europe. Gets great MPG and is a lot more fun to drive than a Yaris. Lot poisin in the U.S., their small size coming in handy only as the customer makes his way past them to the F-150s on the other side of the lot.

        The DCT isn’t the only thing holding it back. The Escape is. A used Edge is.

        Damn. Didn’t somebody (STUPID DOMESTICS) say they are throwing good money after bad when building small cars for USA? That people don’t want them? That it makes more sense to concentrate on what DOES sell: light trucks including pickups, commercial vans and passenger utilities. They pretty much dominate that segment.

        Sedans, small cars, and sports cars, they’re in decline pretty much across the board.

        So why would STUPID FORD want to build a profitable vehicle line (Ranger/Bronco) in higher-wage US, and build its slow selling, unprofitable compacts in low-wage Mexico?

        If you ran Ford or GM with the ideals many of you hold up on here, you’d bury the companies in a month or so.

        “Okay, guys, lets divest ourselves of these profitable trucks and utilities, and shove small cars down the throats kicking and screaming for anything else. Furthermore build them where our labor costs are higher so we can bleed out faster.”

        With that in mind, who else markets cars built in Mexico? Toyota, Nissan, VW, Honda…

        I don’t get Trump on this. My hope is that they compromise on the border tax based on the car’s MSRP. The tax on a Jetta is considerably less than on a Q5, as an example. I don’t know. I don’t believe the country will implode either way it goes, but I hope his Trumpness is willing to make deals instead of ultimatums.

        *this semi-rant wasn’t focused on any particular fellow commenter, just me stating my mind.

    • 0 avatar

      A smaller, more bland looking version of the Elantra.

      For those who can afford the increase in monthly payments, mind as well just get the Elantra (albeit, the Sport trim with the IRS is the one to get and that has a premium over the rear-beam Elantra).

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    That looks *really* stupid with the plastic bezel in place of the fixed glass at the rear of the DLO.

  • avatar

    The old Accent looked cheap and cheerful, this just looks cheap.

  • avatar

    Peter Schreyer and Luc Donckerwolke were both with VW/Audi so the “one sausage” design is coming to fruition at Hyundai

  • avatar

    The front 3/4 view reminds me of the current Nissan Versa. The rear looks better, though.

  • avatar

    I’m very surprised that they dropped the Accent hatch. I guess we’re back to the early 2000s with the Accent in the U.S. when it was sedan only. The sedan looks kind of Dodge Dart-y in the back.

  • avatar

    “boasts 13 percent more high-strength steel than before, translating into a 32-percent increase in torsional rigidity.”

    I love how every new car boasts so much more torsional rigidity.

    If you add up all the improvements over decades of press releases, these tin cans are more robust than a nuclear submarine now.

  • avatar

    I see big huge triangles of DLO fail.

  • avatar
    Old Scold

    No one who buys one of these is allowed to make fun of my Scion iA.

    • 0 avatar

      iA by Mazda or iA by Scion?

      The only part of the iA by Mazda that I can’t deal with is the front, but I like the rest. I’ve always into basic designs and clean angles.

  • avatar

    No hatch for US? That’s unfortunate. But I must say, for a compact sedan, it looks pretty good. So many of the small sedans have an awkward appearance – especially from the rear. Thinking of you, Sonic and Fiesta. And Mitsubishi Mirage.

  • avatar

    The [personal] problem I always have with subcompacts, is that the interior design, to me, looks like it’s been penned by design school grads. The “motorcycle-inspired” gauge pod of the Spark, being a glaring example.

    The interior of this Accent, looks much more mature, and obviously an Elantra-in-Training.

    Exterior wise, it looks better. But I too bemoan the loss of the hatchback for the US. These smaller cars are ALWAYS more practical as a hatch.

    But there are certain design cues that make this car appear, to me, like it’s still the bottom rung of the ladder. The usual suspect: small wheels, or I should say, reduced tire-to-body-size ratio. But also the curve to the lower grille, and the extension of the rear tail lamp cluster. Maybe if they angled it up a little more? A la Optima?

    I think it’s an overall improvement. Much how I feel that despite the loss of a bit of design character from the last generation to the current one, the Elantra looks more grown up and upscale with straighter lines and less overwrought swoopiness. The interior design definitely stepped it up.

  • avatar

    The same old sausage in differing lengths is now running strong at Hyundai. So predictable.

  • avatar

    Why buy this new over a far better engineered 1-2 YO used car?

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