Hyundai decided to skip the major auto-show circuit and debut its redesigned Accent subcompact sedan at a relatively minor auto show.
The Korean automaker revealed the 2018 Hyundai Accent at the Orange County Auto Show in California, which boasts a new design, more interior space, and an updated powertrain.
Most importantly, the 2018 Accent no longer looks like the odd man out in Hyundai’s lineup, as it now takes its design cues from the larger Hyundai Sonata.
Hyundai’s signature “cascading grille” leads off the front fascia and the headlights continue to evoke those of the Sonata.
At the rear, the taillights are thinner and boast LEDs, which signal an effort to give Hyundai’s affordable sedan a more premium look.
If the Sonata had a youngest sibling, it might well be the 2018 Accent (with the Elantra as the middle child, of course).
The 2018 Accent grows wider by 0.6 inches and longer by 1.2 inches; Hyundai says this provides compact-car roominess within the footprint of a subcompact.
Interior volume checks in at 90.2 cubic feet for passengers, up from 89.7 cu.ft., though cargo volume remains the same at 13.7 cu. ft.
On the powertrain side of things, Hyundai says an updated 1.6-liter GDI inline-4 engine resides under the hood.
The brand estimates it produces 130 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque, actually a decrease in power from the current Accent at 137 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque.
However, the powerband has been improved, according to Hyundai, and more torque is available at a lower RPM—the 2018 Accent may be down on power, but it may not feel like it is.
Like the current Accent, a 6-speed manual gearbox and a 6-speed automatic transmission are available.
The automatic has been redesigned to boost efficiency, however, and now weighs 4 pounds fewer.
With the powertrain improvements, Hyundai says the 2018 Accent achieves a 7-percent increase in overall fuel efficiency, though it did not provide projected fuel-economy ratings.
The outgoing 2017 Accent returns an EPA-estimated 31 MPG with the 6-speed manual transmission, and an EPA-estimated 30 MPG with the 6-speed automatic.
Engineers worked to improve handling, stability, and comfort by utilizing high strength steel and redeveloping the suspension components.
Hyundai also says the power steering system adjusts to changing driving conditions for greater precision and steering feel.
Technology is plentiful for a subcompact car, and the Hyundai packed the 2018 Accent with optional connectivity features.
Those include a proximity key with push-button start, two USB ports, a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Hyundai’s Blue Link connectivity service is standard for three years.
Despite the car’s numerous improvements, the 2018 redesigned brings one casuality: the Accent Sport Hatchback will no longer be offered—the 2018 Accent will solider on solely as a 4-door sedan.
Pricing and fuel economy figures will follow closer to the on-sale date, but Hyundai says the 2018 Accent will arrive at dealerships this fall.