Promoting a automobile within the subcompact/compact courses is an train in stability.
For one factor, automobile consumers will no tolerate a penalty field, even at low-cost worth factors (the Mitsubishi Mirage however). There’s a baseline of expectations that’s larger than it as soon as was. Working example: A previous-generation Hyundai Accent rental practically drove one among our writers to tears on a latest trip.
Enter the redesigned 2018 Hyundai Accent. Content material issues now on this class, and two of the three trims provide the options most consumers have come to count on lately.
Hyundai retains it easy with the brand new Accent. There’s simply three trims, one engine, and two transmissions. Choices are grouped by trim stage.
That one engine is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that makes 130 horsepower and 119 lb-ft of torque, and it pairs with both a six-speed guide transmission or a six-speed automated.
Full disclosure: Hyundai invited Chicago-area media to their regional workplace and fed us a pleasant lunch as a part of the drive occasion.
Earlier than you get too enthusiastic about #savethemanuals, please notice that the stick is just out there on the bottom automobile, which is the SE trim. The opposite two out there Accents are the mid-level SEL and top-trim Restricted.
My drive was temporary and consisted merely of suburban floor streets, and Hyundai didn’t deliver any SELs to the occasion. So I spent my time within the fully-equipped Restricted and the stripped-down base mannequin with the guide.
First up, the Restricted. Hyundai equips this trim with fog lamps, LED headlights, hands-free distant trunk launch, sunroof, heated entrance seats, push-button begin, automated local weather management, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and its BlueLink “telematics” system. These options are all not out there on the SEL or base mannequin. Oh, by the way in which, leather-based seats aren’t out there on any trim stage.
Even when well-equipped with lots of fascinating content material, the Accent has laborious plastic trim in all places, together with in any respect the important thing contact factors. Which may be the largest letdown right here – even at this worth level, laborious plastic the place one rests his or her elbows makes for a significant annoyance.
That apart, the Accent delivers on different fronts. Certainly not is it fast, but it surely retains up with site visitors effectively sufficient. Passing punch is missing, however the engine is stout sufficient for traditional commuting obligation, and the six-speed auto was unobtrusive.
Hyundai has really dialed in some really feel to the steering – it’s participating sufficient for this class, and never far off that of the Toyota Yaris iA (previously Scion iA) or the Honda Match. The journey can greatest be described as “competent.”
Shifting to the stick-shift base mannequin (pun meant) was illustrative. The clutch is dialed-in properly with an ideal take-up level, and the gearbox is satisfying to row, however the automobile remains to be not fast. To not point out that the inside feels even cheaper. When you do get a USB port and Bluetooth, you get only a 5-inch display within the heart stack, versus the 7-inch unit within the two higher trims. You do a minimum of get air-con and energy door locks, nonetheless.
The SEL could find yourself being the quantity vendor, pending pricing. Whereas it comes with not one of the particular Restricted-only options talked about a number of paragraphs up, it nonetheless gives the 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and tilt and telescope steering wheel (the wheel within the base automobile tilts solely). If you happen to can forego a sunroof, heated seats, and automated local weather management, this may very well be the trim for you.
Different key options of notice: The bottom automobile has rear drum brakes (sure, in 2017) and 15-inch metal wheels, whereas the SEL has 15-inch alloys and the Restricted has 17-inch wheels. I didn’t discover an enormous distinction between the 15s and 17s, however once more, the pattern dimension was small.
Driver’s help tech is restricted to automated emergency braking (solely out there on Restricted), hill-start help management, and an ordinary rearview digital camera. After all, rearview cameras will change into customary by authorities decree beginning subsequent calendar 12 months.
From a appears perspective, the Accent is apparent however good-looking, with a pleasant stance and a roofline that flows properly into the again deck. There’s a touch of Ford Fiesta sedan in the way in which the physique seems to rise from entrance to rear.
The inside is cleanly drawn and purposeful, with knobs and buttons the place they need to be. Hyundai stored it easy right here, to its profit. But attractiveness doesn’t undergo for the sake of simplicity. The cabin can also be spacious sufficient for many adults.
Street noise is a matter – the Accent isn’t quiet, particularly when the engine is working laborious. That’s commonplace for the decrease finish of the value spectrum, however the noise is intrusive nonetheless.
The Accent, virtually by default, is now one of many strongest buys within the class, together with the iA and Match. However there’s a pricing drawback – the Accent prices a tad greater than its Toyota brethren. It begins at $14,995, including $1,000 for the automated (SE fashions). The SEL is available in at $17,295 and the Restricted at $18,895. Vacation spot and supply is $885.
So you could have the iA and the Fiesta checking in for much less cash, and Hyundai’s personal Elantra/Elantra GT costing not way more. Sure, these are base costs and the Elantra will value extra when extras unavailable on the Accent are tacked on – but when the month-to-month fee isn’t way more, why not stroll as much as an Elantra?
To not point out the Honda Match hatchback is true there on the identical worth level. And you will get a guide with out sacrificing as a lot content material on the Match and iA.
By itself deserves, the Accent is well-done – a good-looking little runabout with a good content material combine and driving dynamics that don’t punish, even when they aren’t greatest in school. It’s no penalty field. However it doesn’t stand out both for being enjoyable to drive or as a worth proposition.
In the long run, you get a fairly good automobile that doesn’t rise above the remainder. For lots of consumers, that’s greater than adequate.
[Images: © 2017 Tim Healey/The Truth About Cars]