2018 Hyundai Accent

2018 Hyundai Accent Review

Smart, sensible and stylish, the Accent offers a little bit of everything for everyone.
7.2 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Dan Frio
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

Freshly overhauled, the 2018 Hyundai Accent sedan is roomier, safer and more fuel-efficient than before. That's the good news. The bad news? The versatile hatchback is gone, a victim of Americans' lack of interest. The sedan is good enough to make you forget, though. It's a sensible and stylish choice.

For 2018, Hyundai made the Accent a little longer and wider. The interior is now a bit roomier, with more front and rear legroom and more space between the driver and front passenger. Cargo space hasn't changed but remains among the best in the class. The Accent's updated four-cylinder engine makes less maximum power (7 horsepower less), but Hyundai says it makes more usable low-end torque and yields better fuel economy. With an automatic transmission, the Accent returns a very good 32 mpg in combined city/highway driving.

This is a handsome car that will endure the daily grind with minimal fuss. Passenger space is generous is even better with the 2018 model's roomier size. Impressive handling is equaled by a comfortable ride. What's more, the Accent is surprisingly quiet and comfortable on the road. Even people with longer commutes won't regret choosing this Accent over a larger, more expensive car.

Although today's new cars and SUVs are getting bigger every year, there's still a place for a smartly packaged small car that can perform tricks like its larger brethren. The 2018 Hyundai Accent is a top choice in this category thanks to a satisfying combination of performance, utility, comfort and style.



What's new for 2018

The 2018 Hyundai Accent is all-new. It rides atop a new chassis that is a half-inch longer than before, yielding slightly more interior space and passenger room. Increased use of high-strength steel in the frame and the body promises improved handling dynamics, and the revised four-cylinder engine delivers better fuel economy. A new front-end design integrates the Accent's look with that of Hyundai's other cars, and the Accent now offers more convenience, tech and modern safety features.

We recommend

While much of the appeal of the Accent is affordability, we think the jump from the base SE to the SEL (both automatic transmission) is worth it even if the price increase is significant. For the extra money, the SEL offers upgrades such as alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, automatic headlights, and smartphone integration. You'll appreciate having these features over the long term.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Hyundai Accent is a four-door sedan that straddles the line between subcompact and compact. It's offered in base SE, SEL and Limited trim levels. The SE covers the basics, while the SEL adds more style (alloy wheels) and functionality (7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto). Limited trims add conveniences including a sunroof, heated front seats and advanced safety features.

All Accent models use a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine (130 horsepower, 119 pound-feet of torque) and either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The Accent is front-wheel-drive.

The SE sedan comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, 15-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, power accessories, a tilt-adjustable steering wheel, cruise control, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, a 5-inch touchscreen display, and a four-speaker sound system with a CD and USB/auxiliary inputs. The six-speed automatic transmission is optional.

The SEL adds 15-inch alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, automatic headlights, heated side mirrors, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a center-console storage box with a sliding armrest console, dual USB charging ports, Bluetooth with voice commands, a 7-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay-Android Auto smartphone integration, and an upgraded six-speaker sound system.

Moving up to the Limited brings 17-inch wheels, foglights, projector-beam headlights with LED accents, side mirror-integrated turn signals, a sunroof, a hands-free trunk, keyless entry, push-button start, automatic climate control, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and a three-year subscription to Hyundai Blue Link Connected Services. (It includes features such as app-based remote start and locking and unlocking, vehicle diagnostics, and emergency collision notification.) The Limited also features forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, which aren't available on the two lower trims.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Hyundai Accent (1.6L inline-4 | 6-speed manual | FWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.2 / 10

Driving

7.0 / 10

Acceleration7.0 / 10
Braking6.5 / 10
Steering6.0 / 10
Handling8.0 / 10
Drivability8.0 / 10

Comfort

7.0 / 10

Seat comfort5.0 / 10
Ride comfort7.5 / 10
Noise & vibration7.5 / 10
Climate control7.5 / 10

Interior

8.0 / 10

Ease of use8.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out7.0 / 10
Driving position7.0 / 10
Roominess8.0 / 10
Visibility7.0 / 10
Quality8.0 / 10

Utility

7.0 / 10

Small-item storage7.0 / 10
Cargo space7.5 / 10

Technology

6.0 / 10

Audio & navigation6.0 / 10
Smartphone integration5.0 / 10

Driving7.0

Economy cars aren't known for their performance, and the Accent doesn't break the stereotype. That doesn't mean it's bad to drive, though. Aside from stiff steering, the car is communicative, and although weak, the engine is responsive. The manual shifter is intuitive, with positive shifts.

Acceleration7.0

The engine may sound like it has a frog in its throat, but it has good response. From a dead stop, the Accent can accelerate up to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds, which is fair for this segment. But the engine feels labored at higher rpm, making highway-speed passing anemic unless you downshift a gear.

Braking6.5

The Accent slows easily thanks to a firm pedal, predictable response and a communicative chassis. There's a mild amount of brake dive, and aggressive braking from high speeds can invoke a mild dose of tail wag. Our measured panic-stop distance from 60 mph of 129 feet is slightly longer than average.

Steering6.0

Steering is an Accent weakness. On the plus side, it responds predictably to steering inputs, larger bumps don't generate kickback, and we can feel the road while cornering. But there's simply no on-center feel when driving straight, and it always feels bound-up with excessive friction.

Handling8.0

Despite vague and bound-up steering, our Accent SE feels nimble and stable. Turn-in is quick, making it feel light on its feet, and it remains stable even when cornering on bumpy surfaces. Its skinny tires become the limiting factor when the car's pushed hard, but overall grip is respectable.

Drivability8.0

The Accent's precise and linear throttle makes it easy to maintain speed or make minor speed adjustments without thinking. While the clutch pedal is light and vague at the top of its travel, the bite point is easy to feel. Likewise, the shifter isn't buttery smooth, but the notches are easy to find.

Comfort7.0

The Accent is generally pleasant from a comfort perspective, but the flat seats are a notable demerit. The ride strikes a good balance between too hard and too sloppy, though road noise increases with speed, particularly on coarser surfaces. The climate control system is easy and effective.

Seat comfort5.0

The very definition of basic car seats: They're cloth and feature virtually no bolstering. They absorb heat and lack support, too, so long trips on hot days may get uncomfortable. But the relative lack of side bolstering does have one benefit: It facilitates in-seat stretching and moving about.

Ride comfort7.5

The Accent's body can move about on wavy surfaces, but never in amounts that feel floaty or bothersome. The suspension tends to do a good job of absorbing the shock of obvious sharp-edged bumps, such as potholes, but it is less adept at filtering out smaller irregularities and coarse surfaces.

Noise & vibration7.5

At idle, the engine is smooth and quiet. The only way to tell the engine is on is to give the throttle a little blip or look at the tachometer. The road and tires produce a modest level of noise when under way, with wind noise a close second. Bumps and coarse road textures make themselves heard.

Climate control7.5

It's no surprise that the budget-priced Accent SE features old-school, three-knob controls, but the layout is obvious and easy to use. The fan gets a bit loud above the midlevel setting, but there's enough cold air that you probably won't need to use the hurricane setting very often.

Interior8.0

Like other subcompacts, the Accent's small size comes with sacrifices to comfort. Front seaters can get in and out just fine, but taller rear seaters will be challenged by a low roofline. And of course, be prepared to get cozy with your seatmates. We wish for a telescoping steering wheel.

Ease of use8.0

The Accent SE is a budget-priced car that lacks some of the advanced systems found at higher price points. That works in its favor because the controls are simple and straightforward. There's no guesswork, no learning curve. The Accent is one of the easiest cars to simply get in and drive.

Getting in/getting out7.0

The front seats are easy to access because they're close to the door opening, but those with limited flexibility might find them too low. In back, a wide rear door opening gives full access to the rear seat, but the sleek roofline may prompt some occupants to duck on the way in.

Driving position7.0

The driver's seat is height-adjustable, so short and tall alike should find a good setting. The layout feels ergonomically correct and favors drivers of low to average height. Taller drivers will fit comfortably but may have to reach for the wheel because the tilt-only adjuster does not telescope.

Roominess8.0

The Accent may be small, but it feels fairly large inside thanks in part to a dash that slopes forward to create a roomy feel. Headroom is excellent up front, but the same cannot be said of the back seat where tall rear passengers and those with long torsos may have issues with the sleek roof.

Visibility7.0

Forward visibility is excellent thanks to a low hood and cowl, but the nicely sized door-mounted mirrors do create mild front-quarter blind spots. Rear visibility is satisfactory because the trunk isn't terribly high. The SE also has a rearview camera that helps when backing up.

Quality8.0

Befitting the Accent's low price, its interior features hard plastics, synthetic cloth, and hard rubber. But we heard nary a squeak or rattle, and all interior pieces and exterior panels fit together surprisingly well, with gaps and surface finishes rivaling those seen in cars many times pricier.

Utility7.0

Small sedans aren't known for cargo space, but the Accent's decent-sized trunk is efficiently shaped and expandable by folding the rear seatbacks. Cabin storage is fairly agreeable but nothing special. It's easy to install car seats, but rear-facing ones may not fit because the Accent is small.

Small-item storage7.0

The door pockets are thin, but they can hold a small water bottle. The cupholders behind the shift console are low and sized for regular cups, and there's a single larger one in between the front seatbacks. The storage nook in front of the shifter is deep, but some plus-sized smartphones don't fit.

Cargo space7.5

On numbers alone, the Accent's 13.7 cubic feet of space is middle of the pack. But it's better than average because the trunk opening is large, the loading height is low, and the trunk floor is lower still. It also has 60/40 split-folding seatbacks, but they don't fold flat as in some other cars.

Child safety seat accommodation7.0

The rear seat features three easy-to-access top tethers and four LATCH anchors located between the bottom seat cushion and seatback. The anchors are labeled, but they are set deep in the seam. Rear-facing seats may well require the front seats to scoot forward due to the limited rear kneeroom.

Technology6.0

We expect limited technology features on a budget model. The SE's mediocre sound quality is unimpressive, and we're not OK with a USB outlet that doesn't provide enough current to charge today's crop of smartphones. Other Accents trim levels (SEL and up) have a somewhat better audio system.

Audio & navigation6.0

We didn't expect much from the low-buck Accent SE, so we weren't overly disappointed by the four-speaker stereo's soft and muddy audio quality and lack of punch. The radio is strictly AM/FM, though it can play music from external devices through USB, Bluetooth and the auxiliary jack.

Smartphone integration5.0

Phone pairing is fairly easy, if a little slow. The USB port allowed us to import music and select songs, but the power it provides was too weak to lift the charge of the phone while it was serving music or navigating. Listening via Bluetooth while charging with the cigarette lighter worked best.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.