Hyundai Pony

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This article refers to the rear-wheel drive Hyundai Pony. For the front-wheel drive car that was sold in Europe from 1985 as the Hyundai Pony, see Hyundai Excel.
Hyundai Pony
Hyundai Pony 1984 Utrecht.jpg
Manufacturer Hyundai
Production 1975–1990
Assembly Ulsan, South Korea
Body and chassis
Class Subcompact
Layout FR layout
Successor Hyundai Excel

The Hyundai Pony (Hangul: 현대 포니), is a small rear-wheel drive automobile produced by the South Korean manufacturer Hyundai from 1975 to 1990. The Pony was South Korea's first mass-produced car,[1] with the name remained in use till 2000 as export versions of Hyundai Excel and Accent.


When Hyundai wanted to develop their own car, they hired George Turnbull, the former managing director of Austin Morris at British Leyland in 1974.[2] He in turn hired five other top British car engineers, Kenneth Barnett as body designer, engineers John Simpson and Edward Chapman, John Crosthwaite as chassis engineer and Peter Slater as chief development engineer.[3][4] With Turnbull's experience with the Morris Marina, [5] engines and transmissions from Mitsubishi, some parts from the Ford Cortina they were already producing, and a hatchback body styled by Italdesign Giugiaro, they developed the Hyundai Pony.

First generation (1975–1982)[edit]

First generation
1982 Hyundai Pony GLS (11868204214).jpg
Production 1975–1982
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupé utility
3-door hatchback
4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Wheelbase 2340 mm (92.1 in)
Length 4029 mm (158.7 in)
Width 1566 mm (61.7 in)
Height 1355 mm (53.3 in)
Curb weight 910 kg (2,006 lb)

The Pony was presented at the Turin Motor Show in October 1974, and the car was introduced in December 1975 as a four-door sedan to compete with the Saehan Gemini and Kia Brisa. A pickup version was added in May 1976, an estate in April 1977, and a three-door hatchback in March 1980.

Hyundai began exporting the Pony to Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Egypt in 1976. European exports began in 1978 with Belgium and the Netherlands, with Greece added shortly thereafter. Sales of the sedan began in the United Kingdom in February 1982, making it the first Korean car to be sold there. The pickup version was added in October that year, only available with the smaller, 1.2 litre, engine and a 380 kg (838 lb) payload.[6]

An estate version joined the range in April 1977

The 1.2 L (1238 cc) four-cylinder engine claimed 55 PS (40 kW) and the 1.4 L (1439 cc) produced 68 PS (50 kW). The 1.4 GLS was tested by the British car magazine Motor and top speed was 92 mph with acceleration from 0–60 mph in 15.3 seconds.[7]


  • 1200:GLS/GL/Standard (UK: T, L, TL, GL)
  • 1400:GLS/GL (UK: TL, GL, TLS, GLS)
  • 1600:GLS/GL/Limited (not in all markets)
The three-door hatchback arrived in 1980 (rear)

Second generation (1982–1990)[edit]

Second generation
1986 Hyundai Pony L, with optional "Pony GT" front spoiler.jpg
Canadian specification 1986 Hyundai Pony L, with optional "Pony GT" front spoiler.
Production 1982–1990
Body and chassis
Body style
Transmission 4-speed manual
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
Hyundai Pony Pickup

In January 1982, the Pony II was presented. It was a facelift from the previous model. Quoting a sales brochure: You'll see New Pony luxury in such things as rectangular halogen headlamps, fitted in a smart new radiator grille. You'll see it in the wrap-around indicators, completely re-styled rear lamp clusters and neatly designed instrument panel with easy-to-read gauges. These new refinements are just part of many distinctive features of the New Pony. The Pony II was originally available in the same bodystyles as the previous model Pony (three-door hatchback, four-door sedan, five-door wagon, and two-door pickup), but the wagon and sedan were replaced by a new five-door hatchback during 1983.

With the Pony II, export also began to the UK in 1982. The Pony was also exported to Canada from 1983, but not to the US because it did not pass federal emissions standards. Canadian sales greatly exceeded expectations, and it was at one point the top-selling car in that market, as they were among the most inexpensive cars sold there. The Pony II was notorious for poor quality, although it afforded a much higher degree of quality and refinement in the lowest price auto segment than the Eastern-bloc imports of the period then available, which helped Hyundai to get a foothold in that market.[8]

Engine types[edit]

For 1984, the Pony came only with a 1439 cc (88ci) 4G33 engine inline-four, rated at 70hp (52kW) and 82 lb·ft (111 N·m) of torque. This engine was available with either a four-speed or five-speed manual or a three-speed automatic transmission. The 1238 cc (74ci) 4G36 engine was not available in Canada. This engine was retained across the line until 1986, after which only the 1597 cc (97ci) 4G32 engine (74 hp (55 kW), 93 lb·ft (126 N·m) torque) was available. In mid-1985, the door handles were blacked out, chrome was removed from the windshield wipers, and the "HD" badge was removed from the centre of the grille and replaced with the lettering "Hyundai" off to the left side. A 1.6-liter model 4G32 engine became available in 1985, with optional air conditioning. These powerplants had hemispherical crossflow cylinder head, two valves per cylinder (chain-driven SOHC), a two-barrel downdraft carburetor (manual choke) and breaker point-type ignition.

Trim levels[edit]

From 1984 to 1986, trim levels were L(standard), GL (deluxe), and GLS (glorious). The L featured vinyl seats, a fold-down rear bench seat, and usually a four-speed manual transmission mated to a 1.4 L I4 engine. The GL included vinyl-cloth seats, a standard clock (which was mounted in the instrument cluster) rear wiper, passenger-side mirror, tinted glass, lockable fuel door, standard door guards, upgraded interior trim, and (from 1985) an available 1.6 L engine. The GLS included the above with the option of a tachometer, passenger-side vanity mirror, full cloth seats, 50/50 fold-down seats, and (from 1985) a standard 1.6 L engine.

Only the L and CX were trim levels for 1987. The L was the same as the previous L, however the clock was now digital and the CX had a standard tachometer. From 1986 to 1987, interior colors available were tan or blue. From 1984 to 1985, it was grey.

Options included rear window louvres, a front air dam, rear spoiler, GT package (which included a leather-wrapped Momo three-spoke steering wheel), tachometer, different trim and badging, fog lamps, and extra lights in the rear. All GTs came with the more powerful 1.6 L engine. The Pony pickup was sold in Europe (only) until the end of the 1980s.

The second generation Pony remained on sale until 1988 (until 1990 in South Korea). In some markets the Pony was replaced by a re-badged Hyundai Excel from 1985, particularly in Europe.


  • 1200:GLS/GL/Standard
  • 1400:GLS/GL/CX
  • 1600:GLS/CX

Canadian-spec (Non-ECC LHD)[edit]

The Canadian version of the Pony had to be changed slightly to meet standards of that country. The Pony was released for sale in Canada for the 1984 model year and ended in 1987. Differences between the Canadian Pony versus its European counterparts were 8 km/h bumpers, sealed-beam headlights, side marker lamps instead of indicator repeaters (also in a lower position), and slight alterations in interior instrumentation and trim application. Initial projections for 1984 called for 5000 sales, but the final total was an astounding 25,123,[9] making the Pony one of Canada's best selling cars that year. The Pony was sold until 1987, even while Excels were for sale alongside.

Aftermath (1985–)[edit]

In Europe, the front wheel drive Hyundai Excel were sold under the Pony name from 1985 as a replacement of the rear wheel drive version. In other markets, the second generation Pony continued on sale alongside the new Hyundai Excel. Until discountation, Excel carried the Pony name.

Final usage of the name was first generation Hyundai Accept, which was sold as Pony in France. The Pony name was last used by Hyundai in 2000.

Super Pony[edit]

For second and third generations, some taxi models of the Hyundai Accent were called as "Hyundai Super Pony". Fourth generation uses the name "Grand Pony" instead.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hyundai Pony — Koreas First Mass-Produced Car in 1976". 2010-02-21. Archived from the original on 2013-12-26. Retrieved 2011-12-06. 
  2. ^ Wood, Jonathan (24 December 1992). "Obituary: Sir George Turnbull". The Independent. Retrieved 15 February 2012. 
  3. ^ The Times July 4th 1974
  4. ^ The Engineer. Jan 30th 1975
  5. ^ Korean connection
  6. ^ Kennett, Pat, ed. (September 1982). "What's New: Budget-price pick-up". TRUCK. London, UK: FF Publishing Ltd: 11. 
  7. ^ Motor March 1982
  8. ^ Cheney, Peter. "10 worst cars chosen by our readers". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2011-12-06. 
  9. ^ "Import sales up on Pony express". Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. January 12, 1985. p. D12. In 1984, Hyundai delivered 25,123 models