Basic transportation isn’t what it used to be. In the past, if you wanted to save a few bucks you often had to make so many compromises to get under a certain price point, which basically meant you were stuck driving a bargain basement box on wheels – hence the term “econobox.” The good news is that the econobox is far better than it used to be. A prime example is the redesigned 2018 Hyundai Accent. The Accent has been the entry into the Hyundai lineup for years and now it’s finally hitting a point where it feels more like a regular car than just basic transportation.
The all-new 2018 Hyundai Accent has grown up, added a lot more features and still has a starting price that’s easy to swallow when you’re signing on the dotted line. To start, the biggest change to the Accent lineup is the deletion of the versatile hatchback version. The 2018 Accent is now only offered as a sedan, which seems like an interesting decision, given the fact that the sedan segment in general is declining. Also that means that the Accent is no longer a total rival to the hatchback only Honda Fit.
For the fifth generation Accent, Hyundai decided to inject a bit more style into the Accent for its latest makeover, which gives a look that’s similar to the larger Elantra and Sonata models. In some ways it looks just like a scaled down version of the midsize Sonata, which isn’t a bad thing. The 2018 Accent now looks more sophisticated and upscale than before. The Accent is now slightly bigger than its predecessor with its length being stretched 0.6-inches to 172.6-inches. It’s also 1.2-inches wider at 68.1-inches wide and its wheelbase is 0.4-inches longer. All those slight increases mean one thing that you should care about most – more interior space.
Open the door and you’ll notice that the more sophisticated theme continues with higher quality materials and a design that again mimics the larger Hyundai models. The dashboard has a clean, straight forward layout with an available 7-inch touchscreen mounted in the center. The infotainment system includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and the Hyundai Blue Link system integrates with Amazon Alexa and Google Home. While the interior is still not what we’d call luxurious, it also doesn’t feel as “bargain basement” as previous Accents. Maybe one day Hyundai will throw in leatherette seats, like Mazda does with its lower trim levels, which would go a long way at making the interior feel more luxurious.
The 2018 Accent is only available with one engine, a 1.6L four-cylinder with 130 horsepower and 119 lb-ft. The updated engine can be mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The six-speed manual is rated at 28/37 mpg, while the automatic is rated at 28/38 mpg. Driving around town the Accent feels a little peppy and there’s a Sport mode that amps up the performance by a smidge. While the Accent is not nearly as fun to fling around as the Honda Fit, it feels light on its feet and more responsive than in the past.
The Accent is available in three trim levels: the base SE, a mid-level SEL and the top Limited. The SE starts at $15,880 and comes standard with a 5-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, Bluetooth and 15-inch wheels. Step up to the SEL and you get a 7-inch touchscreen and 15-inch alloy wheels. The top Accent Limited adds Forward Collision-avoidance Assist, a power sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels and a push button start.
The fifth-generation 2018 Hyundai Accent has gone to finishing school and now looks and drives more like a regular car than ever before.