Hyundai Excel was also sold as Hyundai Pony, Hyundai Presto and Mitsubishi Precis. It was a front-wheel drive vehicle manufactured by Hyundai. The Excel remained in production from 1985 to 1994. The Hyundai Pony, a rear wheel drive vehicle by Hyundai was replaced by the Excel lineup, though the Excel was also marketed as Pony in some markets. All the front-wheel drive Pony models were in fact belong to Excel lineup.
The Excel was offered as hatchback and 4-door models. At first, Elantra was supposed to be the replacement vehicle for the Excel and supposed to be launch in 1990, but the Excel continued to be produced till 1994 when it was eventually replaced by Hyundai Accent. It was regarded as the first car from Hyundai that was launched in United States. In 1990, a coupe version called the Hyundai Scoupe was introduced in the market which was then replaced by Hyundai Coupe in 1996. Depending on the market and model year, the Excel was marketed with either a manual or automatic transmission paired with a 4-cylinder engine carburetor-aspirated or with fuel-injection system.
In Europe along with certain other markets, the Excel had a brand name of Hyundai Pony, although it had nothing to do with the regular Hyundai Pony produced in 1980s. In South Korea, the sedan version of X1 model was marketed as Hyundai Presto.
Between 1987 and 1994, the Excel was marketed by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation in the United States under the engineered badge of Mitsubishi Precis. Mitsubishi sold Precis as 3- or 5-door hatchback. It remained in Mitsubishi lineup for a long time as ‘price leader’ and ranked just below the Mirage till 1992 when it was ceased.
Hyundai Pony was replaced by the Excel it was the first and only model introduced in the United States by Hyundai. It was sold in United States at US$4,995 and declared as the ‘Best Product # 10’ by Fortune Magazine that helped the car to set a record for a first-year import by making a sale of 168,882 units. These figures further helped the company to boost its cumulative production over one million by 1986. Some similar figures were achieved in the Australian market as well where it was offered at Aus$9,990. However, the sales of the car dropped substantially following some quality issues.
Different versions available in North America include: a 1.5 base, 1.5 GL, 1.5 GLS (4-door and 5-door only) and 1.5 GS (3-door only). The Australian versions were: 1.5 L, 1.5 GL, 1.5 GLS and 1.5 GT, while the versions available in United Kingdom were: 1300 L/Sonnet, 1300 GLS, 1500 GL and 1500 GLS.
In 1989, the second generation Excel was introduced as a slightly enlarged facelift equipped with sequential fuel injection and a new 4-speed automatic transmission. The different trim levels available in South Korea were CX, LX and CXL. The different versions offered in South Korean home market were: 1.3 CX (3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback, 4-door saloon), 1.3 LX (3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback, 4-door saloon), 1.5 CX (3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback, 4-door saloon), 1.5 LX (5-door hatchback, 4-door saloon) and 1.5 CXL (5-door hatchback, 4-door saloon).
In Eurasia, the Excel was sold under Hyundai Pony or Pony X2 name where X2 represents the second generation. The versions offered in some European markets including United Kingdom include: 1.3 S (3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback), 1.3 Sonnet (3-door hatchback) – replaced 1.3 S base model, 1.3 LS (3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback, 4-door saloon) and 1.5 GSi (5-door hatchback, 4-door saloon).
There were European markets that didn’t receive 1.3 version rather the range available there comprised of: 1.5 L (3-door), 1.5 LE (3-door), 1.5 GL (3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback), 1.5 LS (3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback, 4-door saloon), 1.5 GS (3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback, 4-door saloon), 1.5 GT (3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback) – note, not all markets got this version and 1.5 GLS (3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback, 4-door saloon). After 1991, the 1.5 was replaced with 1.5i to indicate fuel injection.
Base (3-door hatchback, 4 door sedan), GL (3-door hatchback, 4 door sedan, 5 door hatchback in 1989 only), GLS (3-door hatchback, 4 door sedan) and GS (3-door hatchback) were all the North American versions offered with 1.5-L engine mated to a automatic transmission.