Update: Get our driving impressions in the 2018 Hyundai Accent First Review

Unveiled at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, the 2018 Hyundai Accent rolls onto the scene with a bolder look, enhanced technology and more sophisticated dynamics. Once again offered in 4-door sedans and 5-door hatchbacks, the fifth-generation Accent expands on the high-value formula that has served it well in the past while breaking some new ground. Although presented here in Canadian trim, expect most of what you see to turn up in U.S. showrooms.

Slightly longer and nearly an inch wider than the model it replaces, the new Accent also gains almost half an inch of wheelbase which helps improve interior packaging and brings it up to a technical “compact” size classification. Its more sculpted bodywork incorporates smoother contours set off by a sweeping roofline, edgier front/rear fascias and sleeker lighting elements. The car presents a new take on Hyundai’s cascading grille design and is available with 17-inch alloy wheels. While providing few specifics, Hyundai states that more extensive underbody fairings, a new front splitter and a lower ride height also help tidy up the 2018 Accent’s aero profile. 

Stiffer structure

This recast Accent is based around a notably stouter chassis than the vehicle it replaces. Now composed of 51 percent high-strength steel – up from 33 percent – it provides 32 percent greater torsional rigidity as well as improved passenger protection in front, side and front-offset impacts while helping reduce intrusive road noise. This more robust base anchors a revamped suspension that works with a new Motor-Driven Power Steering (MDPS) system to give the Accent more agility and responsiveness.

Also: Class of 2018: The New and Redesigned Cars, Trucks and SUVs

Inside, the Accent’s enlarged cabin features a more sophisticated look and feel, featuring a redesigned dash with 5.0-inch or optional 7.0-inch TFT instrument display, upgraded audio systems with 7.0-inch display and support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. There's also new soft-touch materials and revised front seats that offer enhanced long-term comfort and support as well as better protection in a crash. The 60/40 split-folding rear bench adds more utility to the Accent’s rear cargo area, which has increased to 13.7 cu ft in the sedan and 21.8 cu ft in the hatch.

More tech

Intent on upping the Accent’s competitiveness, Hyundai also greatly expanded its roster of tech touches and safety-oriented driver assists. While availability may vary with trim level, the new Accent will come with or offer a Proximity Key, pushbutton start and seven standard airbags as well as class-above items like Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Change Assist and a rear-view camera with dynamic guide lines.

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2017

Although U.S. powertrain details have not been released, the Canadian Accent family will be fitted with a revised version of the existing 1.6-liter direct-injected 4-cylinder engine that makes 132 horsepower and 119 lb-ft of torque. Despite both figures being slightly lower than in 2017, Hyundai says the engine’s broader power band and lower-friction internals make the car slightly quicker and help improve overall fuel efficiency by 7 percent. The engine can be paired with a 6-speed manual transmission or optional 6-speed automatic. The latter features Hyundai’s Drive Mode Select system allowing one to set the powertrain and steering in Eco/Normal/Sport modes at the touch of a button.

The 2018 Hyundai Accent sedan goes on sale in Canada during the 4th quarter with the hatch to follow in early 2018. No word yet on timing, packaging or pricing for the U.S.

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