By Mpho Mahlangu
We recently spent a week with the new Hyundai Atos which made its return to South Africa in November 2019. The Atos is an entry-level budget hatchback and it slots in below its sibling the Grand i10. The new Atos features a modern “tall boy design” and looks much better than its predecessor which many South Africans fell in love with. At the front, the Atos bears the prominent and distinctive Hyundai grille which we think certainly gives it a touch of flair.
Interior and safety
The new Atos is built on a completely new platform which results in bigger dimensions thus resulting in a more spacious interior. The rear is where this is noticeable as there is ample leg room for rear passengers. The seats of the Atos are decent in terms of comfort and are made of a durable cover which consist of a leather-like material and fabric. The cabin receives a 7.0-inch touchscreen which includes Apple Carplay as well as Bluetooth connectivity. The quality of the audio system is basic however we can forgive it as it does get the job done. To compliment the infotainment system, the steering wheel is multifunctional and includes different remote buttons to control the audio system as well as answering calls whilst a device is connected via Bluetooth. This feature is handy as there is no need to take your hands off the steering wheel.
The only gripe we had with the steering wheel was that it lacked any sort of adjustment. A USB port is also available as well as a 12V power socket. The Atos also features an air conditioner as well as electrically powered windows for the front. Safety features of the Atos include airbags for the driver and front passengers as well as ABS. The rear seat bench features ISOFIX points for child seats.
So how does it drive? The new Atos offers a comfortable and relaxed driving experience. It is a simple and easy to use car and gets you to your destination quite easily. It features low noise, vibration and harshness levels which certainly contribute to the relaxed driving experience. Under the bonnet is a 1 086 cc 4-cylinder engine which delivers a humble 50kW and 99Nm of torque. For everyday urban use, this engine is quite suitable. However, the Atos does take time to build up speed on the highways. The comfort of the Atos is not compromised when driving at the national speed limit for highways. The light steering feel makes for a pleasant driving experience in the city. As the Atos is a small hatchback, it makes for easy manoeuvrability which comes in handy in tight spaces as well as small parking bays. The clutch and gears are smooth and easy to be familiar with. A particularly nice feature we liked is the automatic reduction in volume of the audio system when the vehicle is reversing. This allows the driver to be aware of their surroundings. The volume automatically returns to normal once the vehicle is out of the reverse gear.
Over the course of our test period, we managed to cover 350kms with a mixture of highway driving as well as urban driving. After our test period, the Atos had just under half a tank of fuel left, making it quite frugal. This will certainly appeal to students or first-time car buyers shopping in this segment. What will also appeal to these prospective buyers is the R159,900 price tag. Included in the cost is a 7-year/ 200,000km warranty, a 1-year service plan as well as 7 years roadside assistance or 150,000km.
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