Launch review: Hyundai Atos
Last week Hyundai launched their latest version of the Atos after a few years’ hiatus. The car comes in at a competitive R159 900 for its segment. Additionally, it comes standard with a number of features that make it an appealing buy for those in the market for an economy car.
Hyundai’s move to reinforce their presence in the entry-level market was a strategic one. They have taken cognisance of the struggling economy, particularly in South Africa, and identified that the need for budget cars will grow.
I am not a fan of the 3-cylinder vehicles. I find the noise annoying and reminiscent of the clumsy kid in class. This is one of the reasons that the Atos appealed to me so much. It comes standard with a 4-cylinder, 1.1 litre engine which is slightly higher than the lowest spec Grand i10, which also comes with a 3-cylinder engine.
The route we travelled provided plenty of opportunities for overtaking, trucks in particular. The Atos had no trouble gaining speed allowing us to pass easily and quickly. The Atos has a power output of 55 kW and torque of 99 Nm. Claimed fuel efficiency is set at 5.7L/100km. Yet, when I had a quick glance at my consumption halfway through the journey, it was at 5.2L/100km.
The exterior design is the biggest upgrade to the car. I was quite curious to see the new Atos because I was not a big fan of the previous model’s box shape. Today there is still a fair amount of them on the road but they look behind time, especially with the changes to vehicle design in recent years.
Now, however, there is a definite improvement. The design, particularly from the back, clearly distinguishes it from any other car on the road. Hyundai has upgraded to a more modern and stylish design, which they have labelled the ‘tall boy design.’
The interior has a clean and simple design. It also has a 7’’ infotainment system with a port for Apple Carplay, multi-function steering controls, Bluetooth and electric windows. Even though it is the entry level vehicle in the Hyundai range, it was spacious enough that you never felt crowded with two people in front. Hyundai says the cabin allows a lot of head space and leg room, with good visibility and ergonomics that ensures a comfortable ride and I could not disagree.
Interestingly, Hyundai is producing the Atos in India rather than Korea or Europe. It is the first model to be developed for Hyundai there and they expect to move as much as 80% of their production to India in the coming years.
I was particularly impressed with the veracity of the air-conditioner. I jokingly said that the AC was made in a hot country for a hot country. It is also impressive that Hyundai did not scrimp on the fully digital infotainment system that often tends to get less priority in this segment.
ABS and ISOFIX child seat anchors come standard. Thus, the specs are more than fair for the segment. There is also a USB charging port and onboard computer.
For me, most appealing of all, was that all of this comes standard with the Atos at a competitive price. Even an entry level car buyer wants a vehicle that actually has the technological perks of the 21st century. The Atos gives you that without breaking the bank.
Good to know
Engine: 1.1 litre, 4-cylinder engine
Transmission: 5-Speed manual
Power: 55 kW
Torque: 99 Nm
Claimed fuel efficiency: 5.7L/100km
Price: R159 900
Warranties: standard with a 7-year/200 000 km warranty and a 1-year service plan, with services scheduled at 15 000 km intervals.
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