2018 Hyundai Accent: Prettier, safer, still pretty safe

Starting at $16,000

There's no radical choice in the subcompact segment. Everything is based around the idea of providing safe, reliable transportation that doesn't break the bank. The 2018 Hyundai Accent continues that legacy, hedging its bets and making small but appreciable updates.

In design it's not much different than every other new Hyundai. The front end is mostly Elantra, with its hexagonal grille and thin-ish headlights. The rear end keeps the Elantra theme alive, too, thanks to its wraparound taillights and rounded-off trunk lid.

Inside, things are a bit different. The infotainment system is tucked into the dashboard, as opposed to hanging out as a "floating" screen. Since it's an affordable car, it has a pretty no-nonsense interior, with limited contouring and only a few splashes of color. Heated front seats are available, which is a nice touch on cars at this price point. It gets cold out no matter how much money is in your pocket, after all.

If the buyer opts for the larger, 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, it'll come with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Under the hood is a 1.6-liter, direct-injection I4 gas engine. It produces 132 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque, and it mates to either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. The engine's revised power band improves acceleration, while new engine internals help improve efficiency by about 7 percent. Automatic-transmission models will come with a mode switch that swaps between Normal and Sport modes.

Autonomous emergency braking is also available on the subcompact Accent. Hyundai claims it's the first car in the segment to have this, but to my recollection, autonomous emergency braking has been standard on the also-subcompact Toyota Yaris iA (née Scion iA) since its introduction over a year ago, so I'm waiting to hear back from Hyundai about that.

The 2018 Accent will be available in both four-door and five-door variants, although it appears the five-door will not make it to the US. The sedan is set to enter the global marketplace in the third quarter of 2017.

You're not going to find any faux carbon fiber in this simplistic interior, which is very much a good thing.

Hyundai

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