For 2018, the Hyundai Accent moves into its fifth generation with an all-new design that got its world debut in early 2017 at the Toronto auto show. While small cars aren't as important as they used to be in North America, Hyundai recognizes that Canadians remain fond of them and so the Canadian market will be the only one on this continent to get the hatchback body style of this good-looking little car.
But that won't come right away. The car will available as a sedan first, starting in early 2018, with the hatch to follow a few months later.
Technical specs include a 1.6L four-cylinder engine that's similar to that in last year's car, but making a bit less power at 130 hp and 119 lb-ft of torque. The new Accent once again comes with six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.
With this new car, Hyundai follows its corporate cousins at Kia, who launched a redesigned Rio -- based on the same platform and mechanicals -- last year. That makes these Korean cars two of the most modern subcompacts on the market right now. The Honda Fit arguably remains a more advanced design with its super-flexible interior, but we fully expect the Accent to be better suited to long-haul driving than the Honda.
We suspect the Ford Fiesta will still be a sharper driver, but it's also an old design that debuted in 2012 -- the same year the previous-generation Accent arrived.
We like how Hyundai's corporate styling language lends this small car a class-above look, especially in the top-end GLS trim, which is fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels. That version also gets a number of convenience features uncommon among subcompacts, like a hands-free trunk, heated steering wheel and passive keyless entry. And in the GL trim Hyundai expects to the volume seller, there's a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen that supports the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone platforms, along with automatic headlights and heated front seats.
At the time we wrote this, Hyundai hadn't published fuel consumption estimates, but the company promises an improvement compared to the 2017 model, whose ratings were 8.8/6.5 L/100 km (city/highway) with the stickshift and nominally lower with the automatic.