The aging subcompact swam upstream in 2016 to a surprisingly strong sales year.
Chris PaukertFormer executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015.
Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Prevailing auto industry wisdom would have you believe that small car sales have absolutely cratered, having been mortally wounded by a glut of new small SUVs. By and large, that's accurate, but there are exceptions.
The Hyundai Accent, a model you barely hear about anymore, is one of those special cases. Last year, Hyundai Motor America managed to shift 79,766 examples of the subcompact, a massive increase over the 61,486 units it cleared in 2015. Even if fleet sales were a factor in its improvement, that's still a particularly impressive development for a model that bowed way back in 2011.
Perhaps hoping to capitalize on that momentum, Hyundai has just announced it will reveal its new fifth-generation Accent at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto on February 16. Inexpensive, fuel-sipping cars still sell particularly well in Canada, so the model's reveal location should come as no surprise (in fact, its predecessor bowed at the 2011 Montreal Auto Show).
Even so, it does feel a bit odd that the official confirmation comes on the very same day the automaker is showing off a new big brother for the Accent, the 2018 Elantra GT, at the Chicago Auto Show.
Based on what's visible in the teaser photo and video below, the next Accent will look like a Mini Me of today's Elantra sedan, and I'd expect to see an increased smattering of cabin and safety tech to go along with the exterior's "cascading grille" and "sweeping roofline" mentioned in a press release.
No word yet on whether the Accent will once again be offered in a five-door hatchback format, or what pricing will start at. Today's 2017 SE five-door starts at $14,995, making it one of the more affordable -- if basic -- cars on the market.