2018 Hyundai Accent vs subcompact sedans: How it compares on paper

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Hyundai  first revealed the new 2018 Hyundai Accent a few months ago, but that debut was in Canada for the Canadian-market car. We didn’t get our look at the U.S. version until just recently, which is when we also finally got plenty of specifications on the little car. So as we did with the Genesis G70, we’ve brought you a breakdown of the Accent’s specs and some of the segment’s best and most popular: the Nissan Versa, Kia Rio, Chevrolet Sonic and Toyota Yaris iA.

Before we get to the chart, let’s give you a quick reintroduction to the 2018 Accent. The subcompact is completely new this year, and under the hood is again a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. It makes 7 fewer horsepower and 4 fewer pound-feet of torque than the outgoing model with totals of 130 horsepower and 119 pound-feet. This drop in power probably won’t be noticeable, though. It’s also available with either a manual or automatic transmission, both featuring six speeds. Fuel economy hasn’t been announced, but the Rio’s numbers below are probably a good indicator as they share powertrains.

The one thing that isn’t available with an Accent is a hatchback. According to Autoweek, the hatchback was canned with the assumption that hatch buyers would simply purchase an example of the upcoming Kona crossover. But if you want a traditional subcompact hatch from South Korea, Kia is happy to oblige, as the Rio is still available as a hatchback. Learning that the Kona may have killed the Accent hatch causes us to wonder if Kia brought the Rio hatch to the U.S. because it wasn’t planning on offering the Stonic.

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12 tips to tell if you’re buying a flood-damaged used car

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We’ve experienced two major hurricanes. Now Hurricane Maria is raking the Caribbean, storms are queued up in the Atlantic, and we’re only a bit more than halfway through the hurricane season. So now might be a good time to review the basics of how to avoid buying a flood-damaged used car.

First, understand that no good can come from flood damage. Cars today are rolling computer systems, laden with electronics, from engine control units to airbag circuitry to the heaters in your seats. That alone makes for serious trouble when a car has been immersed — engine, mechanical and body issues aside. And even if a car looks or performs well now, that might not be the case a year or two from now when corrosion sets in.

Second, in the age of Carfax, it’s easy to assume that the marketplace could never allow flood-damaged vehicles onto the used-car market. Sadly, that’s not always the case. The way the system is supposed to work: After an insurance company declares a car totaled, it gets branded with a “salvage” title, or in the case of some states, a “flood” title. It’s then wholesaled, parted out, salvaged, recycled. If it’s sold to a buyer, it’s with clear awareness of the compromised title.

But that’s not the way it always works. First, there’s the matter of cars that were never insured in the first place, so they are never totaled. Second, if someone buys a branded car at auction, puts some degree of repair into it and gets it reinspected, it can gain a “rebuilt” title status. But Consumer Reports says it has found cases where flooded cars regained a clear title, aka “title washing,” instates with lax regulations in that regard.

So buyer beware. Here is some advice, partly from Consumer Reports, for anyone buying a used car in the coming months:

1. Check: Is the car from out of state? Cars are often transported away from flood zones to areas where there is less awareness of the issue. Which is smart, right? A couple of months from now, you’ll have forgotten all about the hurricanes. Carfax offers a free flood damage check, based partly on where the car has previously been registered.

2. Use the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System to check a vehicle’s history. You can also try the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s VIN Check service.

3. Hire a mechanic to check out the car. The mechanic, or you, should do the following:

4. Use your nose. Does the car pass the sniff test? Does it smell of must, mold or mildew? Or of heavy deodorant?

5. Check the carpets. Musty? Stained? Signs they’ve been mud-caked? Or worse, do they look like brand-new replacements? Same goes for the upholstery. Any water stains? Go ahead, peel back some carpet in the car and in the trunk. Any sign of moisture or rust? While you’re in the trunk, be sure to check the spare-tire well.

6. Check seat mounts and bolts to see if they’ve been wrenched. Seats are often removed in the course of drying out a car. Look at the springs under the seat (you might need a mirror). Are the springs rusty?

7. Check under the hood. Does the crankcase oil look properly clear or dark? Or is it more the color of chocolate milk? That can be a sign of water intrusion. Does the paper air filter show a water stain? Any evidence of a water line on the firewall, inner fenders or components? Are there signs of silt in nooks and crannies of the engine compartment?

8. Inspect headlights and taillights. Is there evidence of a past water line inside? Are they foggy?

9. Check gaps and crevices. Places under the hood, or under the dashboard, or in the trunk, or along the backside of a body panel. Run your finger over hard-to-reach (and therefore hard-to-clean) places. Is there evidence of mud or silt?

10. Check screw heads and other bits of unpainted metal under the dashboard or in other hidden places for signs of rust.

11. Check to see if rubber drainplugs on the underside of the car appear to have been removed.

12. Take a test drive. Does it run well? Check to see if all electronics work. Do the stereo speakers sound right, or do they sound garbled or distorted?

Honda dreaming up Civic Type R variants – with more power, AWD

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The Honda Civic Type R has gone on sale in the US, and it promises a lot of entertainment for its eager fan base. On our recent drive, we found it to be impressively stable for a front-drive car boasting 306 horsepower. Making this more impressive, as Jalopnik reports, the Type R makes 295 hp at the wheel according to a dyno test. Compared to many vehicles, that’s a rather small loss between the engine and the wheels.

If, for some reason, the Type R isn’t powerful enough for you, or you don’t like the front-drive layout, Hondamight still find a way to make you a Type R customer. According to Automotive News, Honda is planning a number of variants to broaden the appeal and extend sales once the first enthusiasts have already made their purchases.

The first candidate for a special Type R would be a sportier, more powerful version. Honda’s chief engineer for the Civic lineup, Hideki Matsumoto, told Automotive News that a more civilized grand touring version is also under consideration. Perhaps most interesting is the possibility of an all-wheel-drive Type R that would compete more directly with the likes of the Volkswagen Golf R, Subaru WRX STI, and Ford Focus RS. So, while the wait is over for the Type R’s arrival in the US, the slow burn of the rollout is just beginning as Honda works to give the model staying power in the marketplace.

Honda Sports EV — performance-focused cousin of that cute Urban EV we all liked

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If you loved the retro-themed Urban EV concept Honda brought to the Frankfurt show, get ready for its sporty sibling — the Sports EV Concept. The coupe will be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show, where Honda will also show the Urban EV, and it’s a far sleeker affair than the retro EV hatch. If the Urban EV harked back to early Civics, could the Sports EV be a hint that Honda hasn’t forgotten the Prelude and the S2000, and those who bought and loved them?

The near-minimalistic styling is a welcome departure from, say, the current Civic Type R’s everything-at-the-same-time spoilerfest. Although Honda’s teaser sketch doesn’t reveal much more than sweeping, simple lines, the coupe promises to be a handsome thing, and in its press release Honda hints of an “unforgettable silhouette” and a friendly front fascia. Honda says it’s based on the same platform as the Urban EV, which most likely means it’s going to be a small thing, if not as positively diddly as the 1960s S600 coupé.

According to Honda, the Sports EV’s aim is to combine EV performance with artificial intelligence. That’s a step beyond Mazda’s “Jinba Ittai” philosophy inherent to the Miata, which refers to the feel of the rider and his horse being one. Similarly, with the Sports EV Honda says it’s all about a feel of unity with the car, accomplishing emotional attachment in owning it. Could AI tech make it a true automotive companion in the style of Knight Rider’s KITT? One good thing is that the Urban EV is apparently going to make it to production by 2019, so the Sports EV could also be production feasible in some form.

Hyundai and Rockstar team up to build Moab-inspired Santa Fe for SEMA

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We’re in the run-up to SEMA 2017, and the early looks at the show cars are rolling in. Hyundai is letting this render out early. It’s called the Rockstar Energy Moab Extreme Off-roader Santa Fe Sport Concept, and that mouthful shouts everything Hyundai wants this thing to communicate from the top of its lungs. Most of those words, however, aren’t likely on the minds of shoppers looking at this three-row crossover, but logic and SEMA do not always find each other.

Before we get into details of this build, we reached out to Hyundai and a representative clarified a few things. This Santa Fe hasn’t been out bouncing off rocks at Moab — yet. We were told it “will be HEAVILY tested at Moab and a special video prepared for SEMA.” We can’t wait.

While Hyundai says this is an all-new vehicle, it treads much of the same ground as last year’s nitrous-huffing Rockstar concept Santa Fe. The King coilovers, R1 brakes, AEM intake and Mishimoto plumbing are all present and accounted for. And yes, there’s another Nitrous Express system installed. New wheels and tires are present, as is a new wrap and more LED lights up front. (Can there ever be enough lights on a show truck?) It doesn’t look like a winch is fitted, but there’s a rooftop tent.

SEMA is coming up at the end of the month, so we expect more details on this and other concepts soon.

Hyundai and Rockstar team up to build Moab-inspired Santa Fe for SEMA

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We’re in the run-up to SEMA 2017, and the early looks at the show cars are rolling in. Hyundai is letting this render out early. It’s called the Rockstar Energy Moab Extreme Off-roader Santa Fe Sport Concept, and that mouthful shouts everything Hyundai wants this thing to communicate from the top of its lungs. Most of those words, however, aren’t likely on the minds of shoppers looking at this three-row crossover, but logic and SEMA do not always find each other.

Before we get into details of this build, we reached out to Hyundai and a representative clarified a few things. This Santa Fe hasn’t been out bouncing off rocks at Moab — yet. We were told it “will be HEAVILY tested at Moab and a special video prepared for SEMA.” We can’t wait.

While Hyundai says this is an all-new vehicle, it treads much of the same ground as last year’s nitrous-huffing Rockstar concept Santa Fe. The King coilovers, R1 brakes, AEM intake and Mishimoto plumbing are all present and accounted for. And yes, there’s another Nitrous Express system installed. New wheels and tires are present, as is a new wrap and more LED lights up front. (Can there ever be enough lights on a show truck?) It doesn’t look like a winch is fitted, but there’s a rooftop tent.

SEMA is coming up at the end of the month, so we expect more details on this and other concepts soon.

Why the Honda Urban EV concept is a success, and how Honda could replicate it in America

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One of the big surprises at this year’s Frankfurt auto show is the Honda Urban EV concept. Not only was Honda able to keep the car under wraps right up to the reveal, but the styling was a significant departure from what we expected of a future electric car designed for Europe. Instead of a funky, one-box urban pod, Honda gave the Urban EV sporty, retro looks. It looks like a cross between a first-generation Honda Civic (the thick, raked C-pillar and front fascia), crossed with a classic Mini Cooper(the tiny size, low stance and flared fender arches).

This design is such a success because it both bucks the trend of EVs primarily being ultra-futuristic and aerodynamic machines, and it does that with classically attractive design cues. It allows the Urban EV to stand out from slippery-looking amalgam of Hyundai Ioniqs, Chevy Volts and Bolts, Teslas, Nissan Leafs(Leaves?), and even Honda’s own Clarity line. And it shows that traditionally appealing elements like wide fenders and a low, forward-leaning stance that have been successful on internal combustion cars for ages can work just as well on an electric car.

We love the design, and many of us would love to see the car in the United States. It’s very unlikely to happen though, and, as hard as it is to admit, that’s probably the right move for Honda. Americans seem to be uninterested in subcompact hatchbacks, unless they’re lifted with cladding or have a Mini badge. But the thing is, there’s no reason Honda can’t transfer what it’s learned with the Urban EV to something with a more American-friendly body style.

At the bare-minimum, Honda could scale up the Urban EV to be sized similarly to a Civic, add a couple doors, lift it an inch or two, and paint the fender flares in a matte black. Then they could call it a crossover, but retain most of the Urban EV’s slick, old-school looks. Honda could also create a sedan with some of the same, crisp, squared-off lines of the Urban EV. Keep the C-pillar raked forward, leave the body as straight and unadorned as possible save for some aggressive wheel arches, and emphasize width in the front and rear fascias. It could be Civic or Accord sized, or somewhere in-between, and would make for a lean, mean sedan.

In the end, Honda has something really sweet in the Urban EV. It would be a shame if Europe was the only beneficiary, and there are clearly ways Honda can bring the same aesthetic here, too.

[Source: Autoblog]