Melinda Ferguson believes the new Hyundai Atos 1.1 Motion MT is a serious contender in the new entry-level hatchback segment and has outsmarted its rivals with the launch.
Hyundai Atos 1.1 Motion MT
Price: R159 900
As the cost of living increases, South Africans are having to dig deep into their pockets to afford new cars. For many an extra R1 000 is a deal-breaker when deciding on a new car to buy.
With the launch of the new Hyundai Atos, budget-conscious consumers have just been offered an affordable, entry-level hatchback that ticks a number of boxes.
Weighing in at just 866kg, the little Korean hatch, now manufactured in India, comes in just one version – the 1.1 Motion MT – a 1.1-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, five-speed manual, which produces peak outputs of 50kW and 99Nm. On paper the package looks rather teeny but due to its light weight I soon discovered on the test drive that its power and torque were perfectly adequate.
The Atos is clearly an urban car, nifty to park in the smallest of spaces and surprisingly sprightly once it gets up to speed. I was also impressed by the noise reduction that’s due to improved vibration insulation in the new model. Fuel consumption is a bonus at just 5.7 litres/100km.
Where I think the Atos really shines is in the tech terrain with its seven-inch touch-screen infotainment system that’s Bluetooth compatible and can sync via both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
There are also satellite controls on the steering wheel where you can operate the toggles to answer incoming phone calls without distraction. Safety wise there are two airbags as well as the ABS.
My gripes include side mirrors that can only be adjusted manually and seats that are not height adjustable at all.
The rather cramped 235 litres of luggage space might be another concern if you’re looking for space. Bear in mind the Datsun Go has 265 litres while the Renault Kwid leads the load race with 300 litres.
Hyundai has a proven track record in South Africa, however. Between 2005 and 2013, more than 45 000 units of the Atos were sold locally, cementing the Korean manufacturer’s reputation here in the entry-level hatchback segment.
Hyundai has strategically launched the new Atos a few weeks before its segment rivals, the Datsun Go and Renault Kwid, that will launch their latest models later. The two brands have had impressive sales over the past year, often exceeding 1 500 combined units.
With the Atos already off the starting block, the budget hatchback race is on.