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Hyundai’s new-gen Accent sedan uncovered

Heavily accented: Hyundai’s fifth-generation Accent light car has been revealed in Canada, but the all-new sedan is far from a shoe in for the Australian market.

New Hyundai Accent sedan revealed, but question remains over its suitability for Oz


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17 Feb 2017

HYUNDAI has uncovered its next-generation Accent sedan during the Canadian international auto show in Toronto, ushering in new looks, improved refinement and more safety equipment, but it still remains unclear if the new light car will be offered in Australia.

Sales in the niche light sedan segment have dwindled in Australia, leading Mitsubishi, Toyota, Kia and Ford to discontinue its Mirage, Yaris, Rio and Fiesta sedan offerings respectively.

The only remaining players in the booted light car market are the Honda City and Mazda2 sedan.

However, the yet-to-be-revealed fifth-generation Accent hatch could be a more likely starter for local showrooms to supplant the ageing fourth-generation version which launched in 2011.

The Accent was the top-selling light car in Australia last year with 18,703 units shifted, well ahead of the second-placed Mazda2 on 13,639. It became Hyundai’s sole light-car offering when the company decided the new-gen i20 was too expensive to import from Europe.

Front-end styling and equipment levels are likely to be interchangeable between four-door and hatchback Accents, with a prominent trapezoid grille and sleek headlights keeping it in line with the next-gen i30 small car range – due in Australian showrooms by mid-year.

However, the front of the Accent sedan eschews the i30’s vertical style daytime running lights in favour of round foglights surrounded by chrome.

At the rear, the new Accent sedan features slim wraparound tail-lights and a sculpted rear bumper, while the 29mm wider and 15mm longer body give the light car a squatter stance.

At each corner, Hyundai has tweaked suspension settings, along with steering settings, for “improvements to steering efficiency, enhancements to handling and comfort”, according to the brand.

The wheelbase has also been stretched by 10mm to give more space to occupants, who enjoy new soft-touch materials in a bid to lift the cabin for a more upmarket feel.

While the Accent five-door is yet to be revealed, Hyundai is also saying the new-generation hatchback will grow to be 70mm longer, 29mm wider and with a 10mm longer wheelbase to accommodate 2576 litres of passenger volume and 616L of cargo space.

A 5.0- or 7.0-inch colour screen is also tucked between new instrumentation behind the steering wheel to feed information to the driver, and the new-gen Accent will debut keyless entry and start as well as a redesigned centre console stack.

A 7.0-inch colour touchscreen crowns the new infotainment system, complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, reversing camera functionality, voice-control capabilities and a suite of USB, audio, iPhone connectivity solutions.

Under the metal, the new Accent will be powered by a 1.6-litre petrol four-cylinder engine, outputting 98kW of power and 161Nm of torque – 24kW/28Nm more than the 1.4-litre engine found in the current-gen Australian-spec car.

In overseas markets, the engine will be mated to either a manual or automatic transmission, both with six gears, and is said to improve fuel efficiency by seven per cent compared with the outgoing version.

Automatic-equipped Accents will also gain a drive select function, able to switch powertrain and steering settings between normal and sport on the fly.

Hyundai has also upped the Accent’s crash-safety technology, with improved front side members and inner side sills for better collision protection, as well as a larger front crumple zone area, upgraded front side air bags and more liberal use of high-strength steel in the body construction.

Other safety features include six airbags, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, traction control and autonomous emergency braking.

The new Accent sedan will roll out to global markets from the third quarter this year, with its hatchback sibling due to go on sale before year’s end.

Australian confirmation, specification, pricing and details are still yet to be confirmed on both sedan and hatchback Accent models.

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