A new generation for Hyundai’s staple commuter compact

First introduced in 1994 as a replacement for the Hyundai Excel, the Accent has seen a total of four previous generations, selling under a variety of names across several markets worldwide. Also known as the Verna in India and China, the Solaris in Russia, and the Grand Avega in Indonesia, among other names, the Accent has always been a staple of the subcompact segment, offering both a sedan and hatchback body style. Measured against its peers, the Accent is known for offering solid features and a smooth, comfortable ride, as well as slick styling on later model years. Now, the Accent just broke cover at the Orange County International Auto Show, entering its fifth generation. With the changeover, Hyundai says it focused on sharpening the design and aesthetic, upgrading the technology for entertainment and safety purposes, increasing the efficiency of the powertrain, lowering NVH levels, and a increasing driver engagement.

Essentially, Hyundai hopes to improve the Accent in just about every way possible with this latest refresh. And with a plethora of competing models waiting to go head-to-head with Hyundai, it makes sense that the South Korean brand wants to bring it’s A-game. Read on for the details on what that entails.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Hyundai Accent.

  • 2018 Hyundai Accent
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    six-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    130
  • Torque @ RPM:
    119
  • Displacement:
    1.6 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    7/10

Exterior

2018 Hyundai Accent High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 735552
The Hyundai is a breath of fresh air. It definitely takes a more premium approach to exterior styling, and that’s a very nice thing to see in this segment.

For starters, any generation changeover must naturally bring with it a new styling update, and the new Hyundai Accent is no exception. As such, the South Korean brand gave the subcompact a new aesthetic, and long story short, we think it looks great. At first glance, the new Accent looks a whole lot classier than many of its subcompact competitors, namely thanks to sharp edges, crisp lines, and proportions that give it the appearance that it’s actually larger than it really is.

While most subcompacts get bulbous, rounded styling elements (the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris both readily come to mind), the Hyundai is a breath of fresh air. It definitely takes a more premium approach to exterior styling, and that’s a very nice thing to see in this segment.

2018 Hyundai Accent High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Hyundai Accent High Resolution Exterior
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The grille is part of an X-shaped design scheme, which also incorporates wraparound headlight housings offered with available LED daytime running lights

Taking a walk around the car, we find a new fascia that adds a larger Cascading grille design. This plus-sized intake is fitted with a multitude of horizontal slates that add to the car’s visual width, while also recalling similar front-end designs utilized by the luxury German brand Audi. The grille is part of an X-shaped design scheme, which also incorporates wraparound headlight housings offered with available LED daytime running lights. Chrome surrounds are used throughout, while fog lights are mounted in the corners of the bumper.

Moving to the flanks, we find the Accent equipped with large 17-inch wheels. These look great in the wheel wells, and come wrapped in low-profile tires that once again make the Accent appear even more high-end. More chrome trim was added to the window line, plus the door handles as well. A lower character line is formed by an indentation just above the side skirts, while LEDs are used for the turn signals mounted into side-view mirrors.

Further towards the rear, the tail gets equipped with a wraparound design for the taillight housings. These V-shaped housings lead the eye into the trunk with checkmark graphics, while the trunk gets a rounded lip that extends the line for a spoiler-like effect. The lower trim gets a matte black finish, while options once again include LED lighting elements for the taillights.

2012 - 2015 Hyundai Accent High Resolution Exterior
- image 577037
2018 Hyundai Accent High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 735552

Note: The new fifth-generation Hyundai Accent (pictured right) offers a big aesthetic improvement over the outgoing fourth-generation model (pictured left).

Not only does it look good, but Hyundai also managed to improve the aerodynamics of the vehicle. The more slippery shape is a result of a new front lip spoiler and a lowered ride height, both of which contribute to a drag coefficient of 0.28. To put that in perspective, the aero-obsessed, fuel-sipping Toyota Prius gets a comparable Cd of 0.25.

Finally, the new Hyundai Accent is larger than before, adding roughly 1.2 inches to the overall width, plus an extra 0.6 inches to the length and an extra 0.4 inches to the wheelbase. The car is set at the same height as before.

Exterior Dimensions

2017 Accent Change 2018 Accent
Overall Length (in.) 172.0 +0.6 172.6
Overall Width (in.) 66.9 +1.2 68.1
Overall Height (in.) 57.1 - 57.1
Wheelbase (in.) 101.2 +0.4 101.6

Competing Exterior Design

2015 Toyota Yaris High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Ford Fiesta High Resolution Exterior
- image 697335

Note: Toyota Yaris pictured on the left, Ford Fiesta pictured on the right.

The Toyota Yaris is another popular subcompact, and for good reason. Offered as a five-door hatchback, the Yaris is definitely a very practical option in this segment. Outside, higher trim levels come equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, while the large front grille sit between sharp headlights. The profile reveals just how bulbous the car is, and while we think the Accent is the better-looking option, some could consider the rounded Yaris to be kind of cute.

The next competitor we’ve got lined up is the Ford Fiesta, which arrives in the 2017 model year boasting some equally sharp new bodylines. Compared to the rather elegant-looking Accent, the Fiesta is definitely much more sporty looking. The front end gets a hexagonal intake and pointed, drawn-back headlight housings. Higher-end models get a solid dose of WRC-inspired pieces as well.

So basically, it breaks down like this – the Yaris is cute, the Fiesta is sporty, and the Accent is elegant. Sounds simple enough.

Interior

2018 Hyundai Accent High Resolution Interior
- image 735560
The Accent gets a driver-oriented layout for the interior, plus a wide instrument panel and horizontal design scheme for the controls

As is often the case with the subcompact segment, interior space can be at a premium, but the new Accent addresses that concern with extra passenger volume going into the 2018 model year. A lot of it comes down to the increase in exterior dimensions, with the extra length, width, and wheelbase all contributing to more space inside. Total passenger volume was increased to 103.9 cubic feet, which, Hyundai points out, makes the Accent more of a compact rather than a sub-compact vehicle, and beating out competitors like the Toyota Yaris and Ford Fiesta in the process.

In terms of looks and layout, the Accent gets a driver-oriented layout for the interior, plus a wide instrument panel and horizontal design scheme for the controls. There’s also a 60/40 split for the rear bench that ups the convenience and practicality of the vehicle.

2018 Hyundai Accent High Resolution Interior
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2018 Hyundai Accent High Resolution Interior
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To complement the premium exterior appearance, the interior of the Accent gets a few very nice features, including additional soft-touch materials added here and there, plus a standard backup camera.

To complement the premium exterior appearance, the interior of the Accent gets a few very nice features. These include additional soft-touch materials added here and there, plus a standard backup camera. There’s also an available heating function for the front seats. Further chassis improvements help to iron out noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH), while a push-button starter and a proximity key system add extra convenience as well.

As is customary in any next-gen vehicle these days, upgraded infotainment was also a major concern for the Accent. Standard spec throws in a 5.0-inch display in the center dash, although a 7.0-inch unit is also offered. Both use a TFT LCD configuration for the screen. Go for the larger 7.0-inch screen, and you get support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which means all the usual good stuff you’d expect (app support, navigation, calling, etc.). There are also dual USB chargers, plus niceties like an auxiliary input jack and optional SiriusXM radio.

2018 Hyundai Accent High Resolution Interior
- image 735564
Further tech features include the Hyundai Blue Link Remote Start system, which will essentially integrate with Amazon Alexa and Google Home for voice command from within the home.

Further tech features include the Hyundai Blue Link Remote Start system, which will essentially integrate with Amazon Alexa and Google Home for voice command from within the home. Basically, the system allows you to tell your digital assistant to start the car and set the climate control at a certain temperature. Remote start is useful in that it’ll pre-condition the cabin through the car’s climate control system, a feature that’s particularly well-suited to those living in a hot or cold climate. If it’s cold weather that you must deal with, the system also tosses in a rear defroster and heated side mirror function with the remote heating feature.

Moving on to safety improvements, the 2018 Hyundai Accent gets new front side members and inner side sills, both of which help add extra layers of collision protection. There’s also larger front crumple zones, a new set of front side airbags, and greater small overlap crash performance. The Accent comes standard with six airbags, ESC, Vehicle Stability Management, Traction Control, and ABS.

Finally, the Accent is also offered with new safety technology, such as Forward Collision-avoidance Assist that utilizes a new front radar system. If an obstacle is detected and the driver does not respond, the system will engage an emergency braking feature to either stop short or lessen an impact.

Interior Volume (cu. ft.) 2018 Accent 2017 Fiesta 2017 Yaris iA
Passenger 90.2 85.1 85.9
Cargo 13.7 12.8 13.5
Total 103.9 97.9 99.4

Competing Cabins

2015 Toyota Yaris High Resolution Interior
- image 561652
2017 Ford Fiesta High Resolution Interior
- image 699487

Note: Toyota Yaris pictured on the left, Ford Fiesta pictured on the right.

Inside the Toyota Yaris, there are lots of grey, soft touch plastics, while the dash rises above the central tunnel without much in terms of a central console. A screen is placed front and center above rotary knobs for the climate control, while a grippy steering wheel with large side bolsters is in front of the hot seat. We like the feel of it, but think there is still something to be desired in terms of ergonomics. For example, there are not enough cup holders, and the cup holders that are there are a bit too small. Furthermore, the touchscreen is a tad slow in reacting to inputs. On the practicality side of things, the hatchback does offer tons of space.

Up next is the Ford Fiesta, which recently got a significant overhaul inside the cabin with the latest model year changeover. And that’s a good thing, as previous models were definitely less than desirable when it came to interior appointment. Space was also increased, although larger individuals will still struggle to find comfort when sitting on the rear bench. A 6.5-inch screen is standard and an 8.0-inch screen is optional, both of which mount to the top of the dash in a floating, tablet style. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and the onboard Bluetooth connection provide smartphone support.

In terms of look and layout, we’d probably go for the Ford Fiesta, especially when talking about the higher trim levels. The other two are nice, but Ford really seems like it did its homework with the latest refresh.

Drivetrain

2018 Hyundai Accent High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 735577
The engine spec is a 1.6-liter Gamma four-cylinder engine with GDI, which makes as much as 130 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque

Making the Accent move into 2018 is a few nice upgrades to the engine and drivetrain. Understandably, the big focus was on increasing overall efficiency, which means the improvements include low-friction piston rings, a variable fuel pressure module, and new engine software tuning. The upgraded chassis also helps with mileage thanks to a lower curb weight. The result is fuel efficiency sees a 7-percent bump.

The engine spec is a 1.6-liter Gamma four-cylinder engine with GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection), which makes as much as 130 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque. The new lump gets a broader power band when compared to the outgoing model, with more low end torque overall. And that’s great for around-town scooting, especially when it’s combined with greater overall fuel efficiency.

2018 Hyundai Accent High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 735578
The new lump gets a broader power band when compared to the outgoing model, with more low end torque overall. And that’s great for around-town scooting.

The 1.6-liter can be matched with either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed automatic. The auto box gets a 4-pound weight reduction compared to the previous unit, which isn’t much, but helps when combined with other weight savings made elsewhere. The automatic transmission also provides a couple of drive modes, including Normal and Sport. Switching between these adjusts the settings for the powertrain and steering, and can be adjusted via a button in the center console.

Competing Drivetrains

2017 Ford Fiesta High Resolution Exterior
- image 699510

Providing motivation in the Toyota Yaris is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. With natural aspiration, output is rated at a relatively humble 106 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque. Routing it to the front axle is either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. And while those peak numbers aren’t all that impressive, the car’s low curb weight means its still pretty interesting to drive, especially with max power hitting at a lofty 6,000 rpm. The Yaris is efficient too, posting mileage figures of 30 mpg in the city, 36 mpg on the highway, and 32 mpg combined.

By contrast, the Ford Fiesta offers a bit more excitement under the hood thanks to a turbocharged three-cylinder engine making as much as 123 horsepower. The base model makes a decent 120 horsepower from four cylinders. Making the cog swaps is a five-speed manual transmission as standard, although a six-speed dual-clutch automatic is also on the table. And for those living overseas, a variety of diesel powerplants are also on the table.

Against competition like this, the Accent is looking the more muscle bound option, while the Yaris is the way to go if efficiency is a major concern.

Chassis And Handling

2018 Hyundai Accent High Resolution Exterior
- image 735582
More High Strength Steel leads to an improvement to the car’s torsional rigidity, with a 32-percent increase in twist resist overall.

For the 2018 model year, Hyundai updated the Accent’s chassis, incorporating a good deal more of the brand’s Advanced High Strength Steel in the construction. Specs include up to 54.5 percent of the chassis using the stuff, which is an increase of 13 percent compared to the previous generation.

This result is an improvement to the car’s torsional rigidity, with a 32-percent increase in twist resist overall. This has the net result of making the Accent more interesting to drive, not to mention more comfortable as well. Further improvements were made to driving dynamics and comfort via suspension refinement, with a higher rear roll center and a higher leverage ratio for the rear shocks, plus steering enhancements as well. Hyundai says the standard Motor-Driven Power Steering will adjust to the given driving conditions, with sportier settings offered.

Competing Chassis And Handling

2015 Toyota Yaris Exterior
- image 561651
2017 Ford Fiesta High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
- image 703194

Note: Toyota Yaris pictured on the left, Ford Fiesta pictured on the right.

Like we mentioned before, we think the Toyota Yaris is a very entertaining car to drive. While it’s not exactly a head-snapping muscle machine, it does have the low weight and plucky suspension tuning we love so much in a hatchback. The steering and front end are communicative, and while it’ll wash out if pushed too hard, the Yaris is still a relatively decent choice if taking a winding back road.

The same can be said for the Ford Fiesta. The car will grip when asked, and the nose turns in if you aren’t totally ham fisted about it. And at a little over 2,500 pounds, there isn’t too much heft to shift around.

Prices

2018 Hyundai Accent High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Hyundai Accent High Resolution Exterior
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The 2018 Hyundai Accent is set to arrive in U.S. dealers in the fall of 2017. Hyundai didn’t give us any official pricing numbers, but it’s expected to slot in at pretty much the same spot as the current model. The current MSRP starts at $14,745.

Other Options

Kia Rio

2017 Kia Rio High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 686967
2017 Kia Rio High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Kia has been making pretty impressive strides as of late, and the Rio reflects that with updates across the board. The exterior looks great, with a tiger nose grille and LED lighting signatures, plus larger exterior dimensions. The interior is also a big improvement, and looks great with its floating touchscreen in the dash. The top-rated engine is a 1.4-liter four-cylinder which makes as much as 98 horsepower and 98 pound-feet of torque. Routed through a six-speed manual transmission, and the 0-to-60 mph sprint is done in 11.8 seconds.

Read our full review on the 2017 Kia Rio.

Honda Fit

2015 Honda Fit
- image 719699
2015 Honda Fit
- image 719700

The Honda Fit is another standard in this segment, and looks the part with a broad, rounded nose bookended by a pair of horizontal headlights. The interior is functional and big, and comes with an available 7.0-nch touchscreen. Leather upholstery is also on the table. Under the hood you’ll find a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which produces as much as 130 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual and a CVT route the power to front axle.

Read our full review on the 2017 Honda Fit..

Conclusion

2018 Hyundai Accent High Resolution Exterior
- image 735549

The strength of the 2018 Hyundai Accent lies in its ability to do most things well. It doesn’t really stand out in any one particular area, but rather, provides a good deal of interior space, lots of nice features both standard and optional, enough power to get by, and a good looking exterior style. It’s also well priced.

The only real criticism is that it’s a bit slow. Of course, that’s to be expected, even for a car that boasts previous competition duty in the World Rally Championship. Regardless, if you’re looking for a solid little commuter, you could do worse than the Accent.

  • Leave it
    • * Lots of competition
    • * Pretty slow

References

Hyundai Accent

2012 - 2015 Hyundai Accent High Resolution Exterior
- image 577038

Read our full review on the previous generation Hyundai Accent.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq - Driven High Resolution Exterior
- image 733919

Read more Hyundai news.

Press release

Hyundai Motor America debuts the all-new 2018 Accent at the 2017 Orange County International Auto Show. The 2018 Accent enters its fifth generation by building on the strengths of its predecessors with Hyundai’s modern engineering prowess. The result is a car with an expressive design, a high-tech interior, a more efficient powertrain, reduced cabin noise and remarkably improved driving dynamics. The company also infused its newest subcompact car with the latest safety and convenience features. The 2018 Accent will arrive in Hyundai dealerships in the fall of 2017.

Advanced High Strength Steel at the Core
The all-new Accent was developed to be the segment benchmark for driving dynamics and safety while delivering outstanding fuel efficiency and maintaining Hyundai’s unbeatable value position. Key to achieving those goals was the car’s use of Advanced High Strength Steel. Accent is composed of 54.5 percent Advanced High Strength Steel—up 13 percentage points from the fourth generation—from the company’s captive Hyundai Steel plant. In addition, Accent’s torsional rigidity improved by 32 percent.

This new, rigid chassis improves noise isolation and overall driving dynamics. The application of Advanced High Strength Steel also improves collision energy management without adding weight, helping to reduce fuel consumption and deliver better driving feel.

Improved ride comfort, handling and stability are achieved through key developments in the suspension. Accent’s steering feel has been refined with improvements to steering efficiency, while enhancements to handling and ride comfort have been made by raising the rear roll center and increasing the leverage ratio of the rear shock absorbers. The standard Motor-Driven Power Steering (MDPS) system instantly adjusts to changing driving conditions for greater precision and steering feel while improving fuel economy.

Striking Exterior Design
The design of the new Accent exhibits confidence and sophistication with sculpted body forms and smoothly contoured lines delivering a new interpretation of Hyundai’s signature design language.

The car features Hyundai’s cascading grille, a visual signature integral to the company’s identity. The grille is flanked by wraparound headlights and available LED signature daytime running lights.

Accent’s sweeping roof profile and sharp character lines run the length of the car. These character lines meet available slim LED wraparound taillights. Features such as 17-inch alloy wheels and side mirror LED turn signal indicators add to the upscale feel of the car. The car’s form is also functional, achieving balance between design and engineering for standout styling with aerodynamic improvements. The underside of the car is also sculpted for aerodynamics, and a new front-lip spoiler, together with a lower ride height, contributes to Accent’s efficient design. All of these attributes allow the 2018 Accent to slip through the wind with a 0.28 coefficient of drag.

Compared with the last generation, the 2018 Accent is larger and has more interior room. Accent is wider by 1.2 inches, and the overall length has increased by 0.6 inches, yet its height remains unchanged, giving the car a more grounded stance. The wheelbase has also increased by 0.4 inches, pushing the wheels farther to the corners and improving interior roominess.

Modern Interior Design
Accent’s interior continues the modern, confident, sophisticated look seen on the exterior. A driver-oriented layout with intuitive controls combines with improved interior roominess, high-quality materials and premium technology features to raise the standard for subcompacts. Premium, soft-touch materials in key points create an inviting and comfortable environment for the driver and passengers.

A wide instrument panel prominently features a standard backup camera system with a 5-inch or optional 7-inch color TFT LCD display. Beneath the screen, the control panel is laid out in a horizontal design with buttons and controls logically grouped by function.

The seat frame is engineered to be lightweight but extremely strong, to help keep occupants safe in collisions. For added comfort and convenience, passengers enjoy available heated front seats, while the standard rear seats fold with a 60/40 split. Accent also offers class-above total interior volume. Accent sedan passenger volume has grown to 103.9 cubic feet. With this figure, Accent is actually classified as a compact car, versus a subcompact car, according to the EPA. In fact, Accent has more interior and cargo volume than the Ford Fiesta and Toyota Yaris.

Efficient Powertrain
For 2018, the new Accent receives an updated powertrain tuned for better fuel efficiency and drivability. The updated 1.6-liter Gamma four-cylinder Gasoline Direct Injected (GDI) engine produces 130 horsepower and 119 lb.-ft. of torque. Compared with the previous-generation Accent, the engine’s powerband has improved, with increased low-end torque to make drivability easier.

The 1.6-liter Gamma four-cylinder GDI engine is paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel efficiency has also been improved by an estimated 7 percent overall. In the engine, components such as low-friction piston rings, a variable fuel pressure module and upgraded software for the engine control module improve overall operation. Further, improvements to the return springs in the braking system have reduced drive friction. The automatic transmission has also been redesigned to reduce the unit’s overall weight by 4 pounds and improve operational efficiency.

In addition, Accents with automatic transmissions include the company’s Drive Mode Select feature to adjust both powertrain performance and steering calibration, allowing the driver to customize the driving character by selecting two modes—Normal or Sport—by simply touching a button on the center console.

Comprehensive Safety and Convenience Features
The 2018 Accent features several improvements to the front side members and inner side sill for improved collision protection. The front crumple zones have been increased, front side airbags have been upgraded and reinforcements have been added to improve the car’s collision energy management performance, especially in small overlap crashes.

A six-airbag system is standard, along with Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Traction Control and ABS.

New for 2018 and for the segment, Accent offers a wide array of advanced safety technologies to provide another layer of protection for passengers. For example, Accent offers available Forward Collision-avoidance Assist that utilizes a front forward facing radar to detect a vehicle and warn the driver of a potential collision. If the driver does not react to avoid the impact, the system will apply emergency braking.

Advanced Connectivity and Multimedia Systems
Most 2018 Accent trims will feature technologies ahead of the subcompact competition that enhance driver confidence and convenience. For example, Accent offers a proximity key with push button start, so drivers never need to pull out a key from their pocket or purse. Accent offers available dual USB charging and auxiliary input jacks and available SiriusXM satellite radio. New for 2018, Accent has an available advanced infotainment system that includes a 7-inch Display Audio touchscreen system and rearview camera. The 7-inch display also has both Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ for seamless and intuitive operation of the most commonly used smartphone functions, including app-based navigation, streaming audio and voice-controlled search capabilities.

Enhanced Hyundai Blue Link Remote Start and Blue Link Integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
Hyundai Blue Link customers have performed more than 25 million remote starts since Blue Link its debuted in 2011. Although remote start is a great feature for hot weather, most take place in cold climates during January, February and March. In fact, Blue Link Remote Start with Climate Control is three times more popular in the winter. With this in mind, Hyundai engineers have enhanced the Remote Start with Climate Control feature to include control of the rear defroster and heated side mirrors into the Blue Link mobile app.

For the ultimate level of convenience when it comes to remote-starting a car on a bitterly cold winter morning, Hyundai has its new Blue Link integrations for Amazon Alexa and Google Home. These integrations work by a customer simply asking an Alexa-enabled or Google Assistant–enabled device, like an Amazon Echo or Google Home, to start their car. The interaction actually sounds like this: “Alexa, tell Blue Link to start my car at 80 degrees” or: “Okay, Google, ask Blue Link to start my Accent and set the temperature to 72 degrees.” To send commands to Hyundai vehicles via Alexa or Google, users must enable the Blue Link integration in their Alexa or Google Home app, available on iOS and Android devices, and then link their existing Blue Link account within the Alexa or Google Home app. Voice commands will be sent to Hyundai vehicles only after Alexa or Google Home prompts owners for their Blue Link Personal Identification Number (PIN).

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