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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For A decent town car that uses its limited space well

Against Can't handle the pace out of town. Ride is poor

Verdict It's cheap, but spend what you've saved on a better car

Go for… Plus models

Avoid… Standard trim

Hyundai Atoz Hatchback
  • 1. It's a roomy little city car with great visibility, so it's easy to manoeuvre
  • 2. Head gaskets can blow, which will be comparatively expensive to fix
  • 3. If the car begins to misfire, have the ignition coils checked out
  • 4. Water pumps can fail, but they're not so dear to fix
  • 5. If the gearbox is leaking oil, walk away
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Hyundai Atoz Hatchback full review with expert trade views

It's a funny-looking little thing, but if you're considering a Hyundai Atoz, then style may be pretty low on your list of priorities. More than likely, bargain-bin motoring is at the very top.

On that score, the Atoz isn't a bad idea. You can pick one up for next to nothing, and for your nominal investment you'll get a roomy little city car with great visibility that will happily buzz around city streets.

That's about where its merits end, though. The cabin is bland and uninspiring, while the out-of-town drive is worse than lacklustre. Body roll is very pronounced on B-roads, and the limited top-end power means that motorways should be no-go areas. The ride is poor at speed, too, and the word refinement isn't in the Atoz's vocabulary.

These limitations make it unrealistic as a family's sole transport, but it's fine for squirting through town on the way to the shops.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Practicality is the only good thing you can say about these. Cheap tall hatchback

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

There's only one engine available, a 1.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that develops a meagre 55bhp, but which is okay for town use.

Like many city cars of a similar output, the Atoz struggles once you get outside the city. You'll need to use every last drop of the engine's reserves of strength just to keep up with traffic, and all this does it make a lot of noise.

There are two trim levels to consider. The standard Atoz has a very basic level of equipment - power steering, a radio cassette and a rear wash-wiper are about all you'll get - so find yourself an Atoz Plus and you'll travel in relative luxury. For barely any more cash, you'll get alloy wheels, air-con, central locking, a driver's airbag and electric front windows.

The range was slightly revised in September 1999, so if you buy a basic Atoz built after this date, you'll get a driver's airbag as standard.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Sells on price but spec has to be Atoz+ to stand a chance

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Not many cars will come cheaper than the Atoz. It was dirt-cheap when it was new, and although resale values weren't as catastrophic as you might expect, the car is old enough now that you can pick up even one of the youngest examples for pennies.

Fuel economy isn't spectacular by today's standards, but compare it to cars of the day, and it's very good. The Atoz will return an average of 44.8mpg from its small engine, so it won't cost you much in fuel bills, especially as you won't want to drive it very far.

Whichever of the two versions you buy, you'll pay the same insurance premium. The good news is that this is also cheap because the Atoz is in group 2.

The car needs to undergo routine servicing every 10,000 miles, but unlike the Atoz's other running costs, servicing will prove a bit more expensive than you'll pay on other city cars.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Practicality is the only good thing you can say about these. Cheap tall hatchback

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Look at our regular reliability surveys, and you'll notice that Japanese manufacturers always top the table. However, for the past few years, Hyundai has been the best of the rest. Not only do Hyundais rarely go wrong, but when they do, it's always a quick and cheap process to fix them.

That said, the Atoz isn't one of the Korean firm's better performers, so you can't rely on it the same way as you can other Hyundai products. Head gaskets can blow, which will be a comparatively expensive fix. Water pumps can also fail, although this won't be anywhere near as costly.

If the car begins to misfire, check the ignition coils, because faults on these have caused such problems in the past.

Get any oil leaks attended to immediately. If the leak is coming from the transmission, then prompt action can save you from a very expensive repair.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Sells on price but spec has to be Atoz+ to stand a chance

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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