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Hello, world! 2018 Hyundai Accent debuts at Toronto auto show Add to ...

Calling it a “milestone day for Hyundai,” the South Korean auto maker’s fifth-generation Accent made its global debut Thursday at the Canadian International AutoShow.

“It may be a subcompact, but it is a big player in the segment with nearly double the sales of the nearest competitor,” said Don Romano, president and CEO of Hyundai Canada. “Nobody has dominated a segment like the Accent, with eight consecutive years leading in sales.”

(Tom Maloney/The Globe and Mail)

So, it’s no surprise then, that Hyundai has made significant changes to the 2018 model. This, after all, is one of its money-makers, and those who snooze, lose. About 70 per cent of vehicle sales in Canada are light trucks and SUVs, but Romano said “the passenger car market remains a huge segment.”

The new Accent is a significant departure from the outgoing model. The remodelled car’s “SuperStructure” chassis is composed of 54.5 per cent high-strength steel – up from 41.5 per cent in the previous generation.

It features more space – “it’s large enough to be classified as a compact,” said Romano – and will be available as both a four-door sedan and five-door hatchback. The hatchback version won’t be offered in the United States.

Hyundai has reworked the Accent’s powertrain to improve fuel efficiency by 7 per cent. Its 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine – paired to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission – produces 132 horsepower and 119 lb-ft of torque.

Looks-wise, the 2018 Accent features Hyundai’s signature cascading grille, flanked by wrap-around headlights and available LED signature daytime running lights.

It has a sweeping roof profile, and a sharp character line runs the length of the car where it meets slim and sporty rear combination lamps at the rear. The underside of the car is sculpted for aerodynamics, and a new front lip spoiler, together with reduced ground clearance, contribute to the car’s efficiency.

(Hyundai)

Inside, Hyundai says it has raised “the standard for subcompact vehicles” through the use of high-quality materials and premium technology. The instrument panel features a standard backup camera, with either a five-inch or optional seven-inch touch-screen infotainment display. The seven-inch display will also be equipped for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Accent comes equipped with Autonomous Emergency Braking, which can warn a driver of a potential collision. If the driver does not react, the system will apply emergency braking.

The 2018 Accent four-door sedan will arrive in showrooms late in the year, followed by the Accent five-door early in 2018. Pricing hasn’t been announced.

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