The comeback kid - Could the new Atos be a stroke of genius for Hyundai SA?

Image: Motorpress
Image: Motorpress

Hyundai has literally been selling hundreds of Grand i10 models every single month, along with its i20 model. 

In October, the automaker managed another stellar month of sales with a total of 2 860 passenger cars sold, to name the big hitters: 654 i20s, 607 Grand i10s, 418 Tucsons, and 403 Cretas. 

Now the Korean automaker has brought back the much-loved Atos which will replace the i10 in the local line-up.

Within its first month of reaching local shores, Hyundai already sold close to 300 of its new entry-level model, and the automaker says its numbers hardly even made a dent in i10 sales at all.

hyundai atos gen 1

Hyundai South Africa CEO, Niall Lynch, says the first generation Atos sold 45 092 models when it was launched here in 2005, right up to 2013.

The new model is driven by a gutsy little 1.1-litre engine, and is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox - there are no other derivatives in the range. It's good for 50kW and 99Nm, and built on a completely new K1 platform (BA).

It goes directly up against the Suzuki Celerio, Datsun Go, Renault Kwid, Toyota Aygo and the Kia Picanto in the A1-entry segment.

hyundai atos

So why is the Atos going to be a winner?

Because people want affordable cars from a brand they trust, and because the Atos had such a historic success during its 8-year span of sales, the new model will build on that legacy.

The new Atos is a lot more stylish, comes loaded with standard goodies and with the brand's trusted warranty and service plans, it offers peace of mind for any buyer. Hyundai says customers can upgrade their one-year service plan with an extension for only R5000.

The automaker says its trump card is certainly the new platform which offers bigger dimensions, a more spacious cabin, lower noise, vibration and harshness, and improved body rigidity. 

But how does it drive?

It's powered by a 1.1-litre unit with only 50kW, so it's great as a little city run-about, or a daily commute vehicle. It's compact, easy to drive, and even easier to park. It's not made for 'robot races' or high-speed driving, even though its pretty comfortable on the long road too.

Naturally, if you're going uphill, with the aircon on full blast on a hot day, the car will feel as if its going in to limp mode. But, it is an entry-level car after all. With that said, gear changes are smooth, and gear ratios are short, making for a sprightly drive.

Build quality has improved over the previous version, and it also feels more sturdy on the road.

hyundai atos

On the safety front, it has dual front airbags, a high-mounted rear brake light, Isofix fittings for child car seats, and an anti-lock brake system.

Other standard goodies include a manual aircon, power front windows, multi-function steering controls, and a USB and power socket to charge devices.

It comes in six funky body colours, including acid yellow, alpha blue and fiery red.

Pricing for the 1.1-litre Atos Motion manual model is R159 900.

It comes with a 7-year or 200 000km warranty, a one-year service plan with service intervals at 15 000km.

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