DETROIT — The 2018 Hyundai Accent was a pleasant surprise.
It was a subcompact sedan with a manual transmission. Normally, I’d say that would make it boring. But the Accent had some spunk.
Powered by a 1.6-liter direct injected four cylinder engine that made 130 horsepower and 119 pound feet of torque, this car was actually fun to drive. That may have had something to do with the six-speed manual transmission that transferred power to the pavement.
It got 28 mpg in the city, 37 mpg on the highway and 31 mpg combined. It had 15-inch wheels, Hyundai’s cascading grille, body colored outside mirrors and door handles and a one-touch triple turn signal.
This was the fifth generation of the Accent and it seemed like they poured all they learned from the previous generations into the latest version. For instance, the architecture was comprised of 54.5 percent advanced high strength steel, 13 percent more than was used on the last generation Accent.
The more rigid chassis provided better driving dynamics. The 2018 Hyundai Accent felt good. Noise, harshness and vibration, NVH, was almost imperceptible and that was saying something because of all the road construction.
I had what amounts to these days a basic car; it was the SE trim line. There was no satellite radio, Android of CarPlay, no navigation system and no voice controls just an AM/FM radio. However, the audio system would stream from the music on a smartphone like my Pandora app.
There was also a rearview camera which is mandatory as of May 2018 for vehicles weighing less than 10,000 lbs. Inside, there was a five-inch color touchscreen but there wasn’t much to control. That was okay.
The interior had enough in terms of USB and auxiliary jacks and two 12V sockets as not to look sparse. I’m sure that’s not why they were there; just beneath the centered climate control and media area. The front seats were manual but they were comfortable. Sightlines were good too.
The instruments were real, not TFT projections. They were black faced with white numerals. Its cloth seats felt good in terms of texture and the ambience of the Accent conveyed solidness.
I climbed into the backseats and found them relatively spacious. All be true six-footers would have ample head space. Because the car was a front-wheel-drive manual sedan there was not much of a tunnel running to the back wheels. Thus, three relatively large people could get in the back seat.
I don’t know if the six-speed automatic would have the pep of the manual but I found the 2018 Accent to be a slick little sedan. For $16,005 as tested it is a cost efficient buy.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com