2018 Hyundai Accent sneak peek

    2018 Hyundai Accent (Sinclair Broadcast Group / Jill Ciminillo)

    There are very few vehicles these days that hover around the $15K mark. As technology advances, prices increase.

    But with the introduction of the 2018 Accent, Hyundai proves you can have a small slice of cake and eat it, too.

    This all-new subcompact will come standard with a rear camera, Bluetooth phone pairing and cruise control. Base price for a 2018 Accent with a 6-speed manual transmission is $15,880, about $200 more than the outgoing model.

    For 2018, Hyundai has also decided to streamline the trim strategy with just SE, SEL and Limited models. Each trim adds content, and there are no options available.

    What you’ll see as you move through the trims:

    SE: 5-inch color infotainment screen with rear camera, steering wheel audio controls, cruise control, Bluetooth phone pairing, 60/40 split folding rear seat and a temporary spare tire.

    SEL: 7-inch audio display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 15-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamp control, two USB charge ports and 4-wheel disc brakes.

    Limited: forward collision avoidance, power sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels, proximity key with push-button start, heated front seats and BlueLink Connected Services with a 3-year subscription.

    What you won’t see: A hatchback. Michael Evanoff, product planning manager for Hyundai Motor America, said only 15 to 20 percent of Accent sales were hatches. So axing the 5-door cuts down on costs and helps keep the trim strategy simple.

    The 2018 Accent is equipped with a 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder engine that delivers 130 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque. A manual transmission will be standard at the SE trim, with an automatic as an option. Currently the automatic adds $1,000 to the bottom line. SEL and Limited will both come standard with the automatic.

    Fuel economy is rated at 32 mpg in combined driving.

    During a recent Midwest Automotive Media Association meeting, we had the chance to take the new Accent for a quick spin, and first impressions are generally favorable.

    Keeping in mind the price point is below $16K, Hyundai has done a great job making an entry-level car look more premium. The cloth seats are simple and attractive, and the exterior lines are clean and elegant.

    There is some engine and road noise that creeps into the cabin, but it’s a vast improvement over the previous generation, and it’s about what you can expect from a vehicle in this class.

    We only did a 15-minute loop on surface streets in the Accent, so it’s hard to say how it will stand up to highway drives and more aggressive maneuvers. But we played around with the Sport mode a bit and found that it gave a quicker-off-the-line start and made the car generally more pleasant to drive.

    The all-new Accent started to hit dealers in late 2017 and is currently on sale.

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