Does Hyundai's new small car have what it takes to compete with Toyota and Nissan?

– Detroit, Michigan

 Cars that expect to serve as basic transportation actually have a pretty tough job. They must be fuel efficient, durable, safe, and ideally comfortable and at least a little cool. Oh, and they also have to pull of the trick of being cheap to buy, and somewhat profitable for the automaker to sell. Tough going.

Within those constraints, Hyundai’s Accent has proved an excellent starter car for years – one of the best selling subcompacts for the last few years. And now, with the new and more refined 2018 model, the company hopes to bring basic transport up to an even more elevated level.

Accent hits dealer lots with competitive power and torque, a good level of refinement, and enough in-cabin tech to steer budget buyers away from pre-owned options. But does the Hyundai’s relatively poor fuel economy, and vanilla driving character diminish its chances to end up in your driveway? Oh, and can a car in this size range accommodate our nearly giant-sized tester?  Check out this week’s Why Buy? to find answers to those questions, and more. 

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Hyundai Accent

Engine 1.6-Liter I4
Output 130 Horsepower / 119 Pound-Feet
Transmission 6-Speed Automatic
Fuel Economy 28 City / 38 Highway / 32 Combined
As-Tested Price $18,895