2018 Hyundai Accent Review

2018 Hyundai Accent - Prices: $14,995-$18,895


The small economy car market isn't doing very well, as most vehicle buyers opt for SUVs and crossovers. But the revamped 2018 Hyundai Accent is worth a look for those searching for an attractive, fairly roomy economy car.

The 2018 fifth generation fuel-stingy Accent has an improved interior, variety of features and improved ride and handling.

The new styling is highlighted by Hyundai's new "cascade"grille, and it has a sweeping roof profile and sharp character lines that run the length the car, along with slim LED wraparound taillights. The new Accent is 1.2 inches wider and is a bit longer overall, with a slightly longer wheelbase.

The $14,995-$18,895 front-drive Accent is the entry level Hyundai. It comes in base SE, mid-level SEL and top Limited form. It's sold only as a front-drive sedan with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission.

Last year's hatchback version has been dropped. Most ordered the 2017 sedan despite the hatchback's versatility, although the sedan's trunk is roomy, and the split 60/40 rear seatbacks fold flat to enlarge the cargo area.

My test SE with the automatic transmission had "frost white pearl" paint, which looked great. I just don't know how much of a chore it would be keeping it decently clean.

Standard for the SE are air conditioning, cruise control, rearview camera, AM/FM system with four speakers, 5-inch color touchscreen, tilt steering wheel, split-folding rear seat backs and 15-inch wheels. The SEL adds 17-inch wheels, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and a center armrest. The Limited has heated front seats, power moonroof, a 7-inch color touchscreen, push-button start and automatic climate control. It also offers optional automatic emergency braking-unusual for an economy car.

The dashboard screens have small but handy buttons and controls beneath them for such things as the climate controls.

All Accents have a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 130 horsepower and 119 pound/feet of torque. That's down from 137 horsepower and slightly less torque from the 2017 engine. Hyundai says the changes result in better drivability with more low-end torque and superior fuel efficiency.
Estimated economy is 28 miles per gallon in the city and 38 on highways with the responsive automatic, which has a quick-acting manual shift feature. That's a regular automatic, not a CVT as some might expect. The manual transmission delivers the same estimated economy in the city, but 39 miles per gallon on highways.

I found 65-75 m.p.h. passing in Chicago's fast-moving freeway traffic to be fairly swift, and the engine was still pulling strongly above 75.

The new Accent's added interior room has led it to be classified as a compact car, not a subcompact. Its quieter, interior is more attractive, although there's lots of hard plastic and I missed the center armrest in the SE. Gauges can be quickly read, and front seats provide good support.

The Accent is called a five-seater, but only four adults fit comfortably because the center of the backseat is too stiff for comfort. However, a tall person behind a tall driver will want a bit more more knee room. And a long-legged driver will wish his seat moved back more. Also, some motorists will wish the steering wheel telescoped instead of just moving up and down.

My test Accent SE trunk lid had no interior indent or grab handle to help close it without getting hands dirty on outside sheet metal. The Limited has an available hands-free trunk release, activated by placing a foot under the rear bumper. I've found that similar "smart trunk" releases in other vehicles have worked only part of the time, and I wear large shoes.   

The quick steering has a firm feel, and the Accent feels as solid as a rock, thanks partly to a new rigid chassis and an improved suspension. Stability and traction controls also help. Handling is remarkably good, with the car firmly gripping the road on curves at higher-than-normal speeds. The anti-lock brakes with brake force distribution are strong, and their pedal has a nice linear action.

However, the ride may be too firm for some, and raised highway expansion strips are felt.

There's a six-air-bag system, and advanced high strength steel improves collision energy management.

Hyundai is being smart is offering improved economy cars such as the Accent because nobody knows when gasoline prices will rise again, and a car such as the Accent will make the Hyundai name more visible to more people. And not everyone wants a mid-size sedan, SUV or crossover.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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