With over 27 percent market share in 2016 it’s safe to say the Hyundai Accent is the heaviest hitter in the sub-compact segment. Hyundai sold 19,198 Accents last year, more than double the next-best Honda Fit’s 8,622.
But this refresh could see the Accent leave the segment it has dominated and move up into an entirely new weight class.
At 29 mm and 15 mm longer the 2018 Hyundai Accent sedan has developed a bigger footprint and managed to look tougher courtesy of a retained roof height. The wheels have been pushed out a further 10 mm, increasing interior volume to a compact-car level of 2,555 l in the sedan and 2,576 l in the five-door – a gain of 36 and 38 litres respectively.
The Canada-only five-door is a whopping 70 mm longer, resulting in a 16 litre increase in cargo volume. The sedan will hold 387 l in the boot while the five-door will swallow 616. We won’t see the hatch in Canada until early 2018, but the sedan will be on sale through an update Hyundai website as early as October 2017.
Styling wise the Accent gets some very Elantra-esque cues in the corner lights and headlights, as well as the new Hyundai signature grill.
The 1.6L four-cylinder will produce an improved 132 hp and 119 lb-ft of torque with Hyundai also claiming a seven percent increase in fuel economy. Official figures are not yet announced, but the existing Accent is rated at 8.9/6.6/7.9 l/100km city/highway/combined. So expect about a half a litre off the combined figure when they come.
That’s despite a 10kg jump in weight for the Accent, courtesy of the growth in size. Weight gain has been kept in check by use of Hyundai’s much-touted “superstructure” high-strength steel chassis.
That same structure is aimed at improving NVH and sound intrusion, while the rear roll centre has been raised slightly to aid handling and ride comfort.
The interior demonstrated on the show floor featured an alluring red accent on the seats, a feature we will likely only see here on the five-door model according to a Hyundai rep. The interior is well-styled and will please fans of the current Elantra layout.
Materials feel high quality and fit, finish and design all look like an improvement over the outgoing model.
Exterior styling has been touched up along the current Hyundai design language, but this writer preferred the curvier, funkier look of the outgoing Accent to this angular, European-styled replacement.
An available seven-inch touchscreen will be fitted to all but the base model – which gets a 5.0 inch unit. All trims will come with Apple Carplay and Android Auto integration plus a back-up camera.
Accent’s fitted with the seven-speed automatic will have a drive mode button which will switch steering weight and throttle/transmission response between Normal and Sport modes.
Perhaps the most impressive tech addition is Forward Autonomous Emergency Braking, which will first warn the driver and then intervene to mitigate or present a collision. The side airbags have also been redesigned and upgraded, along with the front crumple zones.