Hyundai has clearly shown its ability to go up market with luxury sedans like the Genesis G80 and G90, but don’t think this means the automaker plans to abandon its roots. That’s where the 2018 Hyundai Accent fits in. Although car prices have definitely gone up since the 1986 Hyundai Excel – the Accent’s predecessor – went on sale for just $4,995, the all-new 2018 Hyundai Accent aims to prove that affordability is still a core value at Hyundai. We recently drove the new Accent decked out in its top Limited trim level to see how this new-age economy car stacks up.
2018 Hyundai Accent Exterior
Despite being the smallest and most affordable offering in the lineup, the 2018 Hyundai Accent gets the same new digs that other Hyundai products have received recently. The Accent now sports a more stylish appearance starting with the signature cascading grille and the Sonata-like roofline. Hyundai has done an impressive job keeping its design language cohesive across a variety of vehicle types and sizes with the subcompact Accent looking just as good as the full-size G90. The biggest change, though, is the fact that the Accent is now only offered as a sedan – sorry hatchback lovers.
This Limited trim level gives the 2018 Hyundai Accent even more visual impact. Up front, the Accent Limited comes standard with projector beam headlights, LED daytime running lights, fog lights and a chrome grille, while the rear end is spruced up with LED taillights with stylish elements. The overall look is finished with the 17-inch alloy wheels and this tester’s Frost White Pearl paint job.
2018 Hyundai Accent Interior
On the outside, the 2018 Hyundai Accent is still a subcompact, but this sedan is longer and wider than its predecessor allowing it to boast improved interior space including more passenger and cargo space than the Ford Fiesta sedan and Toyota Yaris Sedan. More importantly, the overall cabin design is remarkable for a car that is priced starting under $15,000 with a clean, attractive and sophisticated layout. Unlike some of its more aspiring rivals (including the Honda Fit), the 2018 Hyundai Accent does not offer leather seating, but the Limited does have leather wrapping on the steering wheel and shift knob.
The Accent Limited doesn’t stop there as it also comes with Proximity Key with push button start, automatic temperature control, heated front seats, power sunroof, a 3.5-inch digital display in the gauge cluster and Hyundai’s helpful hands-free smart trunk with auto open. Another testament to how far subcompacts have come, all 2018 Hyundai Accent trim levels come standard with amenities such as power windows, power door locks and Bluetooth connectivity. The SEL and Limited trim levels upgrade the infotainment system to a seven-inch touch-screen display with SiriusXM satellite radio as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Connectivity. Yes, that’s right. You can get Android Auto in the most affordable Hyundai, but you can’t get it on a single BMW!
As far as comfort goes, the Accent’s small footprint provides a decent amount of space for occupants. Up front, there is a surprising amount of headroom and legroom, but the rear bench seat is probably best suited for just two adults, which makes it even more unfortunate that there is no rear armrest. There’s also room for 13.7 cubic feet of cargo in the trunk, and longer items are easily accommodated by the standard 60/40 split folding rear seat.
2018 Hyundai Accent Powertrain
The 2018 Hyundai Accent is powered by the same 1.6-liter four-cylinder carried over from the previous generation, but Hyundai says that it has been updated to return better fuel economy. This new tuning resulted in a slight decrease in engine output (now rated at 130 horsepower and 119 lb-ft of torque), while the fuel economy numbers have increased with EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 28 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway** – that’s a 2-mpg bump over the 2017 model year. A manual transmission is still standard equipment on the lower trim levels, but this Limited trim is only offered with the six-speed automatic transmission.
On the road, the new Accent rides nothing like economy cars of the past. It delivers a smooth, comfortable ride, and at highway speeds, the interior is relatively quiet interior devoid of engine and road noise. This is one area where automakers can’t fake quality, and Hyundai proves that affordable doesn’t mean cheap. All 2018 Accents come with electric power steering, while the SEL and Limited trim levels upgrade to rear disc brakes. It should go without saying that the 2018 Hyundai Accent is no sport sedan, but it does have decent acceleration due to its low curb weight of just 2,679 pounds (as tested).
2018 Hyundai Accent Safety
The 2018 Hyundai Accent has yet to be tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but Hyundai has incorporated plenty of safety features into this sedan. All 2018 Accents come standard with four airbags, backup camera and active front head restraints, and the Limited trim level ups the level of safety with Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist.
2018 Hyundai Accent Overall
Economy cars definitely aren’t what they used to be, and the new 2018 Hyundai Accent is a perfect example. This subcompact sedan checks all the right boxes for affordability, reliability and efficiency, while delivering the style, comfort and technology that modern buyers demand whether they’re looking for a first car, a commuter car or just something that gets great fuel economy. Bottom line, if you’re looking for a car that is safe, affordable and practical, you’re going to be surprised at how much car you can get for your money with a 2018 Hyundai Accent.
The 2018 Hyundai Accent is one of the most affordable new cars currently on the market with a starting price of $14,995*, and it is offered in three trim levels (SE, SEL and Limited). The Accent used for this review was the Limited priced at $18,895*, and since this trim comes fully loaded with no options, the as-tested price of $19,780 only factored in the destination charge.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Hyundai dealership and test drive the 2018 Hyundai Accent today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2018 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.