What The 2018 Hyundai Accent Is Bringing To The American Market And Why It Lost The Hatchback Option

Every model lineup has to have an entry point, and for Hyundai’s American offerings, that entry point is the Accent. Sure, it’s basic transportation, and sure, it competes -- and even Hyundai reps will acknowledge this -- with used cars for customers, at least to an extent.

But that doesn’t mean it has to be bad, and in the case of the upcoming 2018 Accent, the subcompact package actually looks pretty good. We spoke with Hyundai representatives after its debut at the Orange County International Auto Show in California to find out what to expect on the totally redesigned car.

For one, under attractive new sheetmetal, there’s a familiar powertrain: the new Accent retains a 1.6-liter inline-four direct-injection gasoline engine, now good for an estimated 130 hp and 119 lb-ft of torque, plus a standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic transmission. That horsepower number is actually down over the outgoing model’s 137, but Hyundai claims the motor’s output is more accessible; torque delivery is up roughly 4.5 percent at 1,500 rpm, we were told. Meanwhile, fuel economy increases slightly to 32 mpg combined.

While the car retains a basic twist-beam rear suspension setup, it should be a little more fun to drive. “This time around, we actually found some clever ways to reposition the shock mounting points on the rear axle, so we can now get better capability in terms of shock absorber tuning,” Hyundai VP of product planning Mike O’Brien told us. “And by raising the roll center, I think you’re going to find the car, while not a sports car by any means, is certainly going to be more enjoyable to drive.” We’ll have to wait until after we test the thing to see if the work paid off, but we appreciate the effort.

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Gallery: Inside the 2018 Hyundai Accent sedan

So where did the Accent’s hatchback option go? North of the border, it turns out; Hyundai will still sell the Accent five-door in Canada, but we expect U.S. buyers seeking hatchlike functionality will step up to something like the upcoming Hyundai Kona CUV. We know these ute-lettes are just slightly jacked-up hatches, you know they’re just jacked-up hatches and heck, the automakers know they’re just jacked-up hatches … but the market is what it is.

In any event, the non-sedan Accents weren’t big sellers in the States. The manual transmission/five-door combo has a certain enthusiast appeal -- in theory. In practice, almost nobody bought them, especially with offerings like the Elantra hatch hovering just a short step above pricewise. Last year, Hyundai says, the Accent sedan/hatchback mix was roughly 80/20. The automatic/manual transmission mix was even more lopsided than that. Those six-speed manual hatchbacks? Practically unicorns.

A basic 2017 Accent SE sedan starts at $14,745. Hyundai hasn’t revealed pricing for the 2018 model, but it has to be in the vicinity of the outgoing car. We’ll bring you more information and drive impressions as it becomes available.

Graham Kozak - Graham Kozak drove a 1951 Packard 200 sedan in high school because he wanted something that would be easy to find in a parking lot. He thinks all the things they're doing with fuel injection and seatbelts these days are pretty nifty too.

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Source : http://autoweek.com/article/car-news/what-2018-hyundai-accent-bringing-american-market-and-why-it-lost-hatchback-option


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