NOT that those buyers weren’t initially left slightly confused by the odd name… Hyundai decided to change the name of its already tricky-to-pronounce-correctly runabout, the Atoz (for “A to Z”), to Atos. This coincided with the new model, introduced in our April 2005 issue, and the one featured here. The 1,0-litre engine of the Atoz was replaced with a 1,1-litre unit with 45 kW and 87 N.m of torque. Although air-con, central locking and electric windows were standard, audio, ABS and airbags weren’t. Apart from a five-speed manual, the Atos offered a four-speed Jatco JF405E unit. The boot is small at 176 dm3, but the rear seats fold down to open up a much more useful 888 dm3.
A loose gearlever can be quite easily fixed after checking the mounting plate, but on the automatic gearboxes, gear shifting problems may require a full overhaul of the planetary gears.
If you hear scraping noises from the cambelt cover, have the crankshaft pulleys checked for play. Both cambelt and tensioner should be replaced every 80 000 km. Intermittent cutting out of the engine points to a faulty crank sensor.
Apart from rather flimsy metalwork, the news is good.
The usual few electric-window and central-locking failures occurred, mostly at high mileages, as well as rear-bulb failures. Some faults such as bad starting or low power can be traced back to ECU faults. This may be diagnosed using an OBD (onboard diagnostics) scanner.
SUSPENSION, BRAKES AND WHEELS
The wet-weather grip of the original-equipment Hankook tyres were criticised by owners. This is something we also experienced on a Kia Picanto in 2004. A few years later, these tyres were greatly improved, so poor grip will be an issue only if you land up with a pre-2007 car on the original rubber. Remember that no ABS is fitted. One owner experienced excessive front-tyre wear.
A small car makes a lot of sense considering the rise in traffic congestion and fuel prices. We’d recommend buying a small runabout like this and then adding roof racks and a luggage box for those occasions when you need extra luggage room. Stick to manual versions to avoid those problems plaguing automatic units.
Also look at:
Citroën C1, Peugeot 107, Toyota Aygo, Chevrolet Spark Lite, Kia Picanto, Daihatsu Charade, Fiat Uno, VW Citi Golf