It’s been a long minute since we’ve seen a new Hyundai Atos. Five and a bit years of minutes to be precise. The Atos was the super-mini to have when it launched in South Africa in 2005 and ran as a new car until 2013, selling 45 092 units locally. Hyundai have heaped praise on this model, stating it helped cement them as a quality and trustworthy brand.
In the Hyundai model line-up the new Atos replaces the i10, fitting in under the Grand i10. Before you think of holding out for the new i10 due in 2020 be aware that it’ll be more expensive, Hyundai are beefing up the options on it and it’ll step a foot out of the entry-level category.
The Atos is built on an all-new platform with production headquarters in India, the bigger dimensions than the previous versions means there should be some wiggle space between you and your neighbours shoulder, at its widest point it measures 1 645 mm. Luggage space is 235-litres in the boot with all the seats in play.
The guiding pillars for the new Atos include styling features, headroom in cabin, visibility out of the cabin, ergonomics for occupants and a reliable powertrain. Testing for the South African market involved a road trip over 1 100 km, from high-altitude to sea-level against the competitors in class. It’s fair to say they’ve scoped out the market.
Power comes from a 1.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, producing 50 kW at 5 500 rpm and the full 99 Nm available at 2 800 rpm. Yes, it’s not exactly going to launch like a rocket ship off the line though you need to be mindful of science here; the science of power to weight ratio. The Atos is light, super light, a curb weight of 866 kg. This lightness matched to a wheelbase of 2 400 mm means there’s not a lot of weight to be powering, so the pairing is well matched. A five-speed manual gearbox gives the driver freedom to determine how much they want to wrangle out of the engine, change early in the revs, out of peak power or torque bands and you’ll get a gentle drive, string the revs out a little higher and you get a responsive run around the size of a shoe.
The claimed fuel consumption on the combined cycle is 5, 7 l/100 from a 35-litre fuel tank, theoretically returning roughly 600 km per tank.
Technology is ample for what is termed an entry-level car; a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment unit, trip computer and the big-kicker over the competitors, a multi-function steering wheel that has Bluetooth audio controls. The USB charging socket can connect Apple Carplay/Android Auto and the 12V power socket is good as a secondary charger through an adaptor. Front windows are electrically operated while the back gets ye ol’ manual variants.
Inside there is certainly the space that was promised, headroom is plentiful, my 6’0” frame had plenty of room, as promised my shoulder wasn’t rubbing against that of my passenger either. ISOfix anchorage points on the rear seat are standard, and a big deal in this section of the market. Additional active-safety features include two airbags and ABS with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution).
Hyundai expects the entry-level car market to grow rapidly given the economic challenges and has positioned the Atos to satisfy customer needs. We like a small car, we like a car with safety features, we love a car that doesn’t break the bank. Atos, welcome back.
Short and sweet:
Hyundai Atos 1.1 Motion
Safety features, price tag
Fixed steering column
Engine: 1 086 cc, petrol
Power: 50 kW @ 5 500 rpm, 99 Nm @ 2 850 rpm
Performance: 0-100 km/h 14.4 sec (claimed)
Top speed: 155 km/h
Tyres: 165/70 R14
Economy: 5.7 l/100 km (claimed)
Transmission: 5-speed manual
CO2 emissions: 127 g/km
Warranty: 5-year/150 000 km, additional 2-year/50 000 km Manufacturer’s Powertrain warranty
Service plan: 1-year/15 000 km (can be upgraded for additional cost)
Price: R159 900
*Prices correct at time of publishing