Hyundai’s new Accent sounds better than ever thanks to a host of new touches

An automaker could reveal a new car just about anywhere, but most choose a popular stage like one of the major auto shows  — Los Angeles, Detroit, New York, Frankfurt, Geneva, Paris, Tokyo …you get the idea — to make the biggest splash. Instead of being a small fish in a big pond, however, Hyundai chose to reveal its 2018 Accent at this year’s Orange County Auto Show in Anaheim, California.

In the backyard of Hyundai’s U.S. headquarters, the fifth-generation Accent shows off its revised styling, updated interior, and new convenience and safety features. The 2018 Accent uses a high-strength steel platform to improve torsional rigidity 32 percent over its predecessor, while a revised suspension and adaptive steering system improves ride and handling.

Exterior design cues are borrowed from larger Hyundai sedans like the Elantra and Sonata, including a new “cascading” hexagonal grille, LED daytime running lights, a defined beltline, LED taillights, and fog lights. Hyundai expanded the 2018 model by 0.6 inches in length and 1.2 inches in width for a more elegant stance. The new Accent also rides lower than its predecessor, sitting tight on its available 17-inch alloy wheels.

The 2018 Accent is one of most handsome subcompacts around – a segment which includes the Honda Fit, Chevy Sonic, Nissan Versa, and Ford Fiesta.

Inside, the latest Accent moves further upscale in terms of design and materials. Highlights include a standard 5-inch color display or optional 7-inch LCD monitor, available heated seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual USB ports, a standard rearview camera, and a range of driver aids. Hyundai BlueLink is also on offer along with remote start and some other app-specific functions.

Passenger volume grows to 103.9 cubic feet, which technically bumps the Accent into the EPA-classified compact class. Whatever you want to call it, the Accent is spacious and benefits from a 60/40 split folding rear bench to maximize its 13.7 cubic-foot cargo hold.

Under the hood is an updated version of Hyundai’s 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder, which makes an improved 130 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual is standard and a six-speed automatic is available, with both sending power to the front wheels. Hyundai says fuel economy improves 7 percent over last year’s estimated 27 city/37 highway mpg.

Following its debut, the 2018 Accent will arrive at dealerships this fall. Pricing information has yet to be announced.

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