In less than a year the world’s rowdiest soccer fanatics congregate on our shores and airports in droves. From there they’ll need to be carted to stadiums, hotels, restaurants and questionable entertainment spots. So then, 2010 is an important year for Hyundai as a World Cup sponsor; doubly so for its H-1 people mover with which it hopes to lure patrons from the long lines of Quantum, Vito and Caravelle faithful. Would they be making the right move? Consider my 1500km round trip to the south coast as a dry run.
Thunk! The massive bootlid shuts on enough kit and kaboodle to sustain two medium-sized families over a four-day circus to Plett. The boot is simply cavernous. The space effect is repeated throughout the cabin which belies its origins as a humble taxi cum tour bus, and bodes well for dads who have spawned a soccer or rugby team. Two large sliding doors make access easy, while the beige leather-alike seats are easy to clean and endow the cabin with a tiny touch of premium. There’s even MP3 CD compatibility and AUX connectivity from the head unit. On this trip the van endured eight filled seats (nine if you count the tray of snacks between driver and front passenger) and that included a bulky pair of baby seats. Each stowage area and rummage bin, door card and nook was filled with Oreos, Fizzers, diapers, pamphlets and cans of Red Bull – and there was room for more. The 2.4-litre petrol engine has all the grunt you need, a trait it revealed on more than one occasion but most notably when charging up the Outeniqua Pass. Off the paved road it got even better: nothing silly of course, just some good tractable rear-wheel drive fun on the winding dirt trails that ascend the hilly forests in Knysna, with the Hyundai never feeling outside its element. At R295 000 for the wagon (R236 000 in panelvan guise) it’s a real bargain too, undercutting the rivals by a good margin.
Don’t expect perfection, though. There are sliding doors on either side, but the third row is only accessible from the driver’s side door and the opposite door cannot be opened at fuel stops as the filler cap is in its way.
The wheels are horrid steel items, and the six lug system that keeps them bolted to your car means you’re pretty much stuck with them forever. Just two colours are available – I call them ‘Telkom White’ and ‘City Lodge Silver’ – indicating this vehicle has been positioned to suit the service and fleet industries. Also, the lack of a diesel engine means that while the 75 litre fuel tank gives it legs, the fuel bill might put you off. But those are really my only reservations. Purchase includes Hyundai’s 5-year/150 000km warranty and 5-year/100 000 km service plan. We like the value, applaud the boot space and the ride is sublime. Combine that with the fact it is affordable, capable and comfortable, and you could say the H-1 delivers a Hyundai hat trick.
|color:white”>ROAD TEST: HYUNDAI H1 2.4 WAGON|
|HOW MUCH||R295 900|
|ENGINE||2359cc 16v 4-cyl, 126kW @ 6000rpm,224Nm @ 4200rpm|
|TRANSMISSION||Five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive|
|HOW BIG (LENGTH/WIDTH/HEIGHT)||5125/1920/1935mm|
|ACCELERATION||5.8sec 0-60kph, 13.11sec 0-100kph, 18.16sec 0-120kph|
|QUARTER MILE TIME/TERMINAL SPEED||18.40sec/122.3kph|
|OVERTAKING||14.14sec 60-100kph, 15.64sec 80-120kph|
|BRAKING 100-0KPH TIME/DISTANCE||2.98sec/44m|