Hyundai Atos

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Hyundai Atos (FF)
Hyundai Atos 1.0 facelift.JPG
Original Hyundai Atos 1.0 (Europe)
Also called
  • Hyundai Santro
  • Hyundai Amica
  • Hyundai Atoz
  • Hyundai Santro Xing (India)
  • Dodge Atos (Mexico)
  • Inokom Atos (Malaysia)
  • Inokom Atos Prima (Malaysia)
  • Kia Visto (South Korea/Indonesia)
Body and chassis
ClassCity car (A)
Body style5-door hatchback
LayoutFront-engine, front-wheel-drive
PlatformHyundai-Kia FF
RelatedKia Picanto[2][3]
Hyundai Getz[2][3]
Wheelbase2,380 mm (93.7 in)
Length3,495 mm (137.6 in) (1998–2004)[6]
3,565 mm (140.4 in) (2004–2007)[7]
Width1,495 mm (58.9 in) (1998–2004)[6]
1,525 mm (60.0 in) (2004–2007)[7]
Height1,615 mm (63.6 in) (1998–2004)[6]
1,570 mm (61.8 in) (2004–2007)[7]
Curb weight845 kg (1,862.9 lb)
SuccessorHyundai Eon (India)
Hyundai i10
Kia Picanto

The Hyundai Atos is a city car that was produced by the South Korean manufacturer Hyundai from 1997 until 2014. It was also marketed under the Atoz, Amica and Santro model names. From 1999, the Atos with a different rear fascia and restyled rear side doors is marketed as the Atos Prime and in South Korea and Indonesia as the Kia Visto. It has been available only with a five-door hatchback body style.

It was replaced in most markets by the i10 in 2007, but production continued in India until late 2014. The Santro nameplate, used in India, was revived in October 2018.[8]


Debut of original Atos[edit]

The development project for a Hyundai minicar started in October 1995 after the main Korean competitor Daewoo had already put in place the production of a compact compact car, exposing numerous concepts in various international car showrooms that would have foreshadowed the production model (which would become the Matiz designed together with Italdesign Giugiaro). Hyundai thinks of a city car extremely compact and economical to sell not only in South Korea but also in Europe (market with high sales in the city segment seen the successes of cars such as Fiat Panda, Cinquecento, Renault Twingo and Peugeot 106) and in India. In just 23 months, with a total investment of 155 million dollars,[9] the car passes from the blank sheet to the production in September 1997, it is presented the Atos, less than 3.50 meters long, characterized by a soft design but a very spacious interior thanks to the shape of the mini-vans body, five doors and five seats. At the debut the engine was a four-cylinder petrol 800 cc Epsilon that was approved according to the new restrictive emission standards entered into force in South Korea. For export markets, the Atos adopted a larger 1.0-litre four-cylinder Epsilon engine.

The rear end of the first Atos introduced in 1997

Production in the Ulsan plant (South Korea) started in September 1997. The European version was presented at the International Motor Show Germany in Frankfurt the same month and sales began in March 1998.[10]

Hyundai for the Atos created a specific base platform, very simple in the mechanical and economic setting to produce because the car had to be sold in emerging markets and therefore have a low price list: the front wheel drive scheme was adopted, with MacPherson front suspension, and a torsion-beam suspension at the rear, front disc brakes and rear drum brakes. The design of the Atos is characterized by a front with circular headlights and bumpers in raw plastic, the rear lights are in an upright position near the rear window, and the tailgate is very large to facilitate access to the luggage compartment.

The Atos was one of the first compact city cars (A-segment) to be sold in Europe with the five-door body. The trunk has a volume of 263 liters that rise to 1064 by breaking down the back sofa. The dashboard had a simple design, with a large shelf in the dashboard in front of the passenger side and two central vents with the levator climate controls. Safety devices (driver and front passenger airbags and ABS) were paid or standard only on top models.[11]

Introduction of Atos Prime (1999–2003)[edit]

2002 Hyundai Atos Prime

In India, the Atos Prime was launched under the name Hyundai Santro, the production started in October 1998; the car was a success but the design of the minivan body was not much appreciated by the public and began to study a makeover. At the same time, the parent company Hyundai had acquired the other Korean manufacturer Kia Motors and had implemented a revitalization program sharing engines and platforms (the Kia has long used in crisis and used to produce old Mazda cars and engines). So Hyundai redesigned Atos to adapt it to the tastes of the Indian market, both to obtain a utility to sell with the Kia brand. The Atos Prime was born: specifically, the bodywork was completely redesigned by lowering the roof by 4.5 centimeters and redesigning the tail with new headlights, new tailgate and new bumpers also available in body color. The front remained similar to that of the previous Atos, the grille was changed and now also available with a chrome plating. The interiors remained the same. The car was presented at the Busan Motor Show on 17 May 1999 as a Kia Visto and was to be sold in Europe through the sales network of Kia Motors, alongside the old Atos that would remain in production and sold by Hyundai dealerships but, thanks to the success obtained from the model, the European dealers Hyundai opposed the decision of the parent company to distribute the Visto through the Kia network as the car would have caused competition within the same range of Atos as well as damaged the same; the Hyundai then renamed the car as Atos Prime in the end of 1999,[12] which went to support the previous Atos remained in production and at the same time updated through the adoption of new lights, bumpers and new interior materials. In Europe then there were Atos positioned as the base model with the lowest price and the Atos Prime with standard equipment enriched and higher price list. In Korea, however, Atos Prime was sold as Kia Visto, as originally planned, while Atos remained in production sold by Hyundai dealers.

The Atos Prime compared to the original Atos has a less spacious interior, but better aerodynamics due to the lower roof. The trunk is smaller, the capacity is reduced to 219 liters up to a maximum of 889 liters with the rear seats reclined. The engine remain the 1.0 litre petrol.

In December 1999, the Atos Prime was introduced in Europe, while in the same month Atos underwent a slight facelift with modifications to the calendar that introduced the Hyundai brand of larger dimensions and new fog lights made of transparent plastic (before they were yellow).

In September 2001, there is a further facelift that concerns both Atos and Atos Prime, the changes concern the front with new graphics for the headlights (the direction indicators are now an orange color), a larger mask and new bumpers, the Atos Prime also introduces new graphics for the taillights. New coatings for interior upholstery also make their debut.[13]

Facelift (2003–2014)[edit]

2007 Hyundai Atos Prime
Hyundai Atos Prime (rear view)

Introduced in September 2003, compared to the old Atos Prime, the new version has the front and the tail totally new, with new headlights, bonnet and bumper from the most angular style. On the back is adopted a new hatch and new headlights. Only the doors, the side panel and the interior remain of the old Atos Prime.[14]

Also new is the engine that retires the old Epsilon four-cylinder 1.0 (and the 0.8 Epsilon sold only in Asia). The Epsilon 1.1 four-cylinder 12-valve engine delivers 59 hp (44 kW; 60 PS), 5 more than the previous 1.0. The gearbox remains the five-speed manual or four-speed automatic option.

In 2005, there is a slight facelift that introduces the new mask with the most essential design and new wheel covers with a new design. In addition, the engine in Europe is updated to the Euro 4 standard and the power rises to 63 horsepowers.[15]

Other names[edit]

The Atos Prime is marketed as the:

The original Atos was sold under the Hyundai brand but rebadged as the Atoz (or "AtoZ") in some markets, including the United Kingdom. The Hyundai Santro is a rebadged version of the city car Hyundai Atos sold in some Asian markets.

Kia Visto is a re-badged Hyundai Atos Prime.




Hyundai entered the Indian market in 1997 with the Atos, marketed under the name Santro and various variants as Zip Drive, Zip Plus etc. Produced at Hyundai's factory in Chennai, its primary competitor at that time was the popular Maruti Suzuki Zen. The distinctive styling of the first generation had mixed reviews, but the car was a success primarily due to its power steering feature and price.

In the years since, the Indian version has undergone a number of upgrades in styling and technology to respond to consumer preferences. In 2003, the first generation (Zip) was replaced with the second generation Atos Prime, marketed in India as the Santro Xing, which enjoyed great sales success. The car was also exported from India in large volumes to the Asia and Oceania region.

In its final few years, Santro had become a popular option as a hatchback taxi, and the car was still selling close to 30,000 units per year when Hyundai made the decision to discontinue production.[16]

Variants in India

The Hyundai Santro was first released in India in 1998.It came with three variants:

  • Santro base, with AC and black bumpers, priced at 2,99,000 INR ex-showroom
  • Santro DX 1, added with front power windows, central locking, high quality fabric upholstery an fabric inserts on door trims, body colored bumpers, rear wiper/washer/defogger, front fog lamps, waistline moulding and full wheel covers, priced at 3,49,000 INR.
  • Santro DX 2, added with power steering and first in class rear seat belts, priced at 3,69,000 INR. These were often criticised for their appearance.
  • In 2000, a new version called Santro Zip Drive was introduced. Changes included were things such as every variant got a power steering and a new grille.
  • In 2002, a refreshed version called Santro Zip Plus was introduced. Changes included Clear Lens headlamps and taillamps and a better engine and performance.
  • In 2003, the car underwent a complete facelift and was introduced as the Santro Xing. Pictures are given below alongside technical data.


The Santro was launched in Pakistan in 2000. As of December 2009, Pakistan is the only country where the Atos is still being sold and the model has received no upgrades. But it was discontinued in 2012. Now, Hyundai is again being relaunched in the country and is going to release the latest model of Atos.

Inokom Atos Prima (Malaysia)


In Indonesia, the Hyundai Atoz and Kia Visto was launched in 2000 with the 1.0-litre G4HC engine and initially sold as a complete built-up unit from South Korea (Atoz) and India (Visto). In 2001, Hyundai began production of the Atoz as a complete knock-down unit, which were assembled by Hyundai Mobil Indonesia in Bekasi, West Java, while the Visto continued to be imported from India. The Atoz and Visto received an update in 2002 with crystal multireflector headlamps and taillamps. The Atoz received a redesigned front mesh grille. In 2004, the Visto was replaced by the Picanto. In June 2005, the Atoz received a facelift with the new Atos Prime front while maintaining the original Atos rear, and the engine was replaced with the 1.1-litre G4HG engine with multi-point fuel injection (the same engine as the Picanto). The Atoz was discontinued in 2008 and replaced by the i10 in March 2009.

The Atoz was available in two trim levels: the base GLX and higher-level GLS, while the Visto was available in Que trim, and later replaced with the zipDrive trim in 2002.


In Malaysia, the Hyundai Atos is locally assembled by Inokom carrying the badge Inokom Atos. The Inokom Atos Prima was later introduced in 2006 which has the new Atos Prime front while maintaining the original Atos rear.


Figures as listed for the 2000-2003, 5 door, 1.0i model with GSi trim as sold in the UK (as the Amica), with standard options.

Technical data
  • Fuel Delivery: Multi-Point Injection
  • Transmission: 5-speed manual
  • Engine size & layout: 996 cc, I4, 12 valves
  • Peak Power: 40 kW (54.4 PS; 53.6 bhp)
  • Peak Torque: 82 N⋅m (60 lb⋅ft)
  • 0-60 mph (97 km/h): 14.6 s
  • Top Speed: 160 km/h (99 mph)
  • Fuel economy: 6.4 L/100 km (44 mpg‑imp; 37 mpg‑US)
  • Emissions: 151 g CO2/km, other emissions below Euro III standard.[4]

Atos EV[edit]

Hyundai unveiled at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show an electric vehicle based on the Atos, the Atos EV. The Atos EV weights 2,585 lb (1,173 kg), including the battery pack, which holds 24 nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) batteries. An on-board 6.6 kW conductive charger can fully recharge the Ni-MH batteries in seven hours. The Atos EV can travel more than 120 miles (193 km) in stop and go city driving and can reach a top speed of 80 mph (129 km/h).[17]



  1. ^ Raj, Amrit (2015-01-15). "Hyundai phases out Santro after 16 years". Mint. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  2. ^ a b "Preview: Kia Picanto". Drive RSA. 25 July 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Hyundai Amica - 1.0 GSi 5d - Facts & Figures". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2011-06-22.
  4. ^ "Hyundai Amica 1.0 Si 5d Auto – Facts and Figures". Retrieved 2012-07-28.
  5. ^ a b c "1998 Hyundai Atos 1.0i GL (model for Europe ) specifications & performance data review". Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  6. ^ a b c "2004 Hyundai Atos 1.1 (model since mid-year 2004 for Europe ) specifications & performance data review". Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  7. ^ "The demise of a star brand". Business Standard.
  8. ^ M. Steers, Richard (21 August 2013). Made in Korea: Chung Ju Yung and the Rise of Hyundai. Routledge. pp. 89–90. ISBN 0-415-92050-7.
  9. ^ "Hyundai launches Atos". Automotive News. 2 March 1998. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Primo contatto: Hyundai Atos". 17 February 1998. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Hyundai Prime polvere di lusso". La Repubblica. 3 January 2000. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  12. ^ "Hyundai Atos Prime (2002): pregi e difetti della citycar coreana". Panorama-Auto. 2 April 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  13. ^ "Hyundai Atos, si cambia tutto". La Repubblica. 22 September 2003. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  14. ^ "India source for the Atos". Automotive News. 16 June 2003. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  15. ^ "Santro drives into sunset". Forbes India.
  16. ^ "Hyundai Introduces All New Atos Electric Vehicle at Frankfurt Motor Show". Retrieved 2007-12-14.
  17. ^ "Milestones: 2001". Retrieved 2 April 2016.

External links[edit]