The 2018 Hyundai Accent brings sophisticated exterior styling that’s rare in the bargain-bin subcompact class.
LOS ANGELES — In a nod to the impending arrival of the new Kona crossover, Hyundai’s fifth-generation Accent will drop its hatchback version when it goes on sale in the U.S. this fall.
The Accent is Hyundai’s subcompact, entry-level car, though it’s technically classified as a compact car based on its interior space. The redesigned 2018 model was unveiled Thursday at the Orange County Auto Show in Southern California.
Previous versions of the Accent came in sedan and hatchback body styles. While Hyundai will continue to offer the hatchback in other markets, the brand axed it in the U.S. because of low demand at the retail level, a company spokesman told Automotive News.
With U.S. consumers increasingly flocking to crossovers, Hyundai is hoping to steer them to the Kona, a subcompact crossover due in early 2018. Insulating it from intra-brand competition from an Accent hatch will likely boost higher-margin Kona sales.
The outgoing Accent model has fared poorly in 2017. Sales are down 32 percent through August to 37,262 units, vs. Hyundai Motor America’s 13 percent dip. Hyundai has said part of its sales decline in 2017 is due to a drop in fleet sales, which particularly hurts the Accent, a mainstay of rental car fleets.
The 2018 Accent brings sophisticated exterior styling that’s rare in the bargain-bin subcompact class. The design borrows many cues from the recently refreshed Sonata, shrunk down to subcompact proportions. The Accent grows a bit for this generation; it’s nominally longer, wider and has a longer wheelbase. Inside, this means more room: Hyundai says it has more cargo and passenger room than Toyota’s Yaris iA and Ford’s Fiesta.
The Accent’s upscale bent is reinforced by features inside and out. On the exterior, options include LED daytime running lights and taillights and 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside there’s a standard 5-inch touchscreen with backup camera (a 7-inch screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is optional) and options like heated front seats, hands-free trunk release and pre-collision braking.
The Accent’s 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine carried over but is down a bit in power. It now makes 130 hp and 119 pounds-feet of torque; that’s down from 137 hp and 123 pounds-feet.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard while a six-speed automatic will be optional.
Fuel economy scoots up a bit for both powertrain options; the 2018 manual gets 28 city, 37 highway and 31 combined, up by one mpg for city driving. The automatic gets 28/38/32, up from 26/36/30.
Pricing will be announced closer to the car’s on-sale date this fall; the current sedan starts at $14,745 before destination.