Hyundai Excel
First generation
Also calledHyundai Pony
Hyundai Pony Excel (X1 hatchback in South Korea)
Hyundai Presto (X1 sedan in South Korea)
Mitsubishi Precis
Hyundai X2 (UK)[1]
Body and chassis
ClassSubcompact car (B)
LayoutFF layout
RelatedHyundai Scoupe
Mitsubishi Mirage
PredecessorHyundai Pony
SuccessorHyundai Accent

The Hyundai Excel (Korean: 현대 엑셀), also known as the Hyundai Pony, Hyundai Pony Excel, Hyundai Presto, Mitsubishi Precis and Hyundai X2, is an automobile which was produced by Hyundai Motor Company from 1985 to 2000. It was the first front-wheel drive car produced by the South Korean manufacturer. The Excel range replaced the rear-wheel-drive Hyundai Pony.


The Excel was based on the second generation of the Mitsubishi Mirage,[2] but it received its own sheet metal design by Giorgetto Giugiaro. The Excel was available in three- or five-door hatchback and four-door sedan models.[3] The Excel was the first Hyundai car to be exported to the United States.

The Excel was available with either a manual or automatic transmission mated to a four-cylinder engine aspirated by a carburetor or fuel injection system, depending on market and model year.

Originally, the Excel was supposed to be replaced by the Elantra in 1990, but it ended up being sold for four more years until being replaced by the Hyundai Accent in the model year 1995. From 1990, there was a coupé variant called the Hyundai Scoupe, which was replaced by the Hyundai Coupé in 1996.


Some markets, including Europe, had the Excel branded as the Hyundai Pony, although it is not directly related to its rear wheel drive predecessor of the same name. In South Korea the hatchback version was known as Hyundai Pony Excel, and the sedan version was known as Hyundai Presto.

Mitsubishi Precis

1989 Mitsubishi Precis RS

The Excel was also sold in the United States by Mitsubishi Motors from the spring of 1987 as the badge engineered Mitsubishi Precis.[4] Mitsubishi chose to sell the Precis to circumvent the voluntary import quota which applied to the Japanese-made Mirage.[5] Available as either a 3-door (Base/LS) or 5-door (LS) hatchback, the Precis received the same 68 hp (51 kW) 1.5-liter Mitsubishi four as did the Excel, the Mirage, and most of the Dodge/Plymouth-badged Colts.[6] The car received "Precis" badging on the bootlid, grille, hubcaps, and steering wheel, with the only Mitsubishi logo being a small sticker at the rear which read "Imported by Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America Inc." For 1988, the more sporting RS model was added to the lineup, marking the introduction of a five-speed manual transmission which was also fitted to the LS.[7]

After Mirage production in Normal, Illinois commenced in 1989, thus circumventing the import quota restrictions, the facelifted 1990 Precis (equivalent to the Excel X2) did remain on offer in a limited lineup as a "price leader," slotted below the Mirage. Now only available as a three-door hatchback (no Precis sedan was ever offered) it came in either Base or RS equipment levels.[5] For 1991 the RS was discontinued (and with it the five-speed manual), although an RS trim package was still available this year. A new grille appeared in 1993 and the Precis was discontinued in 1994.[5]

First generation (X1; 1985–1989)

First generation (X1)
1989 Hyundai Excel GL 3-door (USA)
AssemblyUlsan, South Korea
DesignerGiorgetto Giugiaro at Italdesign
Body and chassis
Body style3-door hatchback
5-door hatchback
4-door sedan
Transmission4-speed manual
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
Wheelbase93.7 in (2,380 mm)
Length160.9 in (4,087 mm) (2-door)
168 in (4,267 mm) (4-door)
Width63.1 in (1,603 mm)
Height54.1 in (1,374 mm)

The Excel was introduced as a replacement for the Hyundai Pony. In the United States, it was the company's first and only model (the previous Pony could not be sold in that country as it did not meet federal emissions standards), but thanks to a price of $4,995 USD and being voted 'Best Product #10' by Fortune magazine, it set records for a first-year import by selling 168,882 units, helping push the company's cumulative production past one million by 1986.[8] In Australia, it was priced at A$9,990. While it did not enjoy sales success initially, in part due to the 87% import duty it attracted, it did become the top selling imported car in 1988.[9]

In Europe, the car continued the Pony nameplate. It was much more modern than its predecessor with new engines, front-wheel drive and an all-new design. Available engines were 1.3-litre (1298 cc) and 1.5-litre (1468 cc) inline-four engines, producing 66 HP (49 kW) and 71 HP (53 kW) respectively. On the South Korean home market, the hatchbacks were marketed as "Pony Excel" and the sedan was called Hyundai Presto. The 1985 Pony was only sold as five-door hatchback in Europe. Unlike the first Pony Sedan, the Pony/Excel X1 Sedan had the boot separated from the passenger compartment.

Versions available were:

North America


United Kingdom

On most European markets, the Pony X1 was available in six configurations:

1987 facelift

With the 1987 facelift, the Pony name got the XP suffix in Europe which was also found on the car itself. More important, this series saw the return of both the three-door hatchback and the four-door sedan in Europe. The 1.3-liter engine was discontinued, the 1.5-liter remained unchanged. In Europe, the LE was added as fourth trim level, this being the new entry level followed by the familiar L, GL and GLS models. All trim levels could be combined with all three body styles. An automatic gearbox was again available only on the GLS model.


Second generation (X2; 1989–1995)

Second generation (X2)
Also calledHyundai X2 (UK)[1]
1995–1998 (Philippines)
AssemblyUlsan, South Korea
Makati, Philippines (Francisco Motors Corporation)
Body and chassis
Body style3/5-door hatchback
4-door sedan
3-door panel van[10]
Transmission4-speed manual
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
Wheelbase93.8 in (2,383 mm)
Length1990–91 & 1993–94 2-Door Hatchback: 161.4 in (4,100 mm)
1990–91 & 1993–94 5-Door Hatchback: 168.3 in (4,275 mm)
1992 Sedan: 168.6 in (4,282 mm)
1992 Hatchback: 161.7 in (4,107 mm)
Width1990–91 & 1993–94: 63.3 in (1,608 mm)
1992: 63.1 in (1,603 mm)
Height1993–94: 54.5 in (1,384 mm)
1992: 51.4 in (1,306 mm)
1990: 51.6 in (1,311 mm)

Brought as a new generation, the 1989 Excel was more like a next facelift. A new version of the 1.5-litre engine was introduced, with electronic fuel-injection instead of a carburetor. This 1.5 MPI produced 85 HP (62 kW).

Most remarkable, the 1989 look was very short lived: with the 1990 model year yet another facelift appeared. Another notable fact was the renaming of the four-door Pony Sedan to Excel in Europe. This transition went gradually, for example in the Dutch 1989 brochure photos of a Pony badged sedan are shown while the text refers to Excel. The 1990 brochure shows an actual Excel.

The 1.5 MPI engine was not offered in the five-door Pony. On the other hand, both the Pony three-door hatchback as well as the Excel four-door sedan came in a vast amount of models.

The second-generation Excel was given a facelift and slightly enlarged from 1990 onwards, while its engine adopted multi-point fuel injection, and a new 4-speed overdrive automatic transmission was offered.

The 1.3 model and the Mitsubishi Colt also share the same engine and gearbox.

1991 facelift

The Excel's 1989 styling was closely related to the all-new Sonata, which was launched in Europe for the 1989 model year. The mid-sized Sonata underwent a near-immediate facelift for the 1990 model year. The styling of the Excel followed in late 1991 to keep the resemblance with the Sonata. Most noticeable was the front end, where all three cars' orange indicator lenses were replaced by clear ones and the headlamps became less rectangular.

From 1991, the 1.5 versions were badged 1.5i to denote fuel injection.


It was sold in CX, LX and CXL trim levels in South Korea. The South Korean (home market) range was:

All models sold in North America had the 1.5-liter engine producing 81 hp (60 kW) and 91 lb⋅ft (123 N⋅m), with automatic transmission as a freestanding option for any model. The lineup available at U.S. Hyundai dealers was;

The 5-door model may have been available in Canada for a longer period and in a wider variety of trims. The Mitsubishi Precis came as a 3-door only, in trim levels equivalent to the base and GL Hyundai-branded cars.

Hyundai launched the Excel in Thailand in the early 1990s. The lineup consisted of:

The Excel was marketed in Eurasia as the Hyundai Pony or Pony X2 (X2 representing second generation). In the United Kingdom and some parts of Europe, versions available were:

However, some European markets did not get the 1.3 version and the range was:

European lineup 1989

The 1989 European Pony and Excel lineup was the most extensive, although not all models were available in any single market.

European lineup 1990

For 1990, the trim levels were reduced and simplified.

Third generation (X3; 1995–1999)

Hyundai Excel (X3)

Further information: Hyundai Accent (X3)

When the Hyundai Accent was introduced in 1994 for the 1995 model year, it continued to be called Hyundai Excel in some markets, including the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia.

Also in Indonesia, the first, second and fourth generation Hyundai Accent sedans were sold as Excel, Excel II and Excel III. Based from lowest trim level and only sold for taxi companies.


  1. ^ a b HYUNDAI RANGE 1992-93 UK Mkt sales brochure - HCD-1 Scoupe Lantra X2 Sonata,, as archived at
  2. ^ Bedard, Patrick (1 March 1986). "Hyundai Excel GL". Car and Driver. Hearst Autos, Inc. Archived from the original on 9 June 2020.
  3. ^ "Hyundai Excel The Car Directory". 27 December 2007. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
  4. ^ Stark, Harry A., ed. (1987). Ward's Automotive Yearbook 1987. Vol. 49. Detroit, MI: Ward's Communications, Inc. p. 182. ISBN 0910589007.((cite book)): CS1 maint: ignored ISBN errors (link)
  5. ^ a b c "1990-94 Mitsubishi Precis Prices & Review". 4 October 2006. Archived from the original on 18 October 2006.
  6. ^ Ward's Automotive Yearbook 1987, p. 182
  7. ^ 1988 Precis: Imported by Mitsubishi (brochure), Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America Inc., 1987, p. 13
  8. ^ "Ssay it with SSUVs: Korea's SSangyong goes where the buyers are – sport/utility vehicles", Gwendolyn S. Knapp, Ward's Auto World, April 1996 (
  9. ^ Kohn, Peter, ed. (10 March 1989). "Hyundai plays its Sonata". The Australian Jewish News. p. 8.
  10. ^ Hyundai EXCEL van 1991 commercial 현대 엑셀 밴, Retrieved 13 February 2017