SOME five years ago, Hyundai introduced what was to become a serious contender in the small Bus, panel van and multi-cab segments - the H1, which has racked up over 13 000 sales during its time in the market.
As is somewhat of an industry standard, the Korean manufacturer has introduced an updated version of the H1 halfway through its lifecycle to keep up with market trends and to respond to customer feedback. I travelled to Pretoria to see what the refreshed model is like.
Refreshed exterior and interior
Up front, keen observers will notice a new grille design along with an all-new front bumper. There are also new 16-inch alloy wheels, which complete the mild exterior makeover.
There have been a few changes made inside, with an all-new infotainment system, which now includes Bluetooth as standard. The interior lighting has been updated from green to blue, while the instrument cluster now features a 2.8-inch LCD display.
The 2.5-litre 125kW/441Nm diesel Bus models now come exclusively with an automatic transmission as well as a few new interior niceties and convenience features such as a leather-covered gear lever and steering wheel as well as a new keydesign. These models also benefit from an automatic air-conditioning system, a chilled glove box, the addition of side air bags, cruise control and Electronic Stability Programme, as well as electric folding mirrors.
The 2.4-litre 126kW/226Nm five-speed manual petrol Bus models benefit from similar updates but lose out on cruise control, electric mirrors, the additional airbags and the Electronic Stability Programme. The Panel Van model now gets cruise control and the same new folding key design. The multi-cab models now get cruise control, Bluetooth, the new alloy wheels and the folding key.
What’s it like to drive?
We had a 150 kilometre mixed-cycle route to tackle in the automatic diesel Bus variant of the H1. The model will suit families well with its nine-seater configuration. The vehicle provides exactly what you’d expect from a Van; you sit up high, with great visibility and a generally smooth ride. Claimed fuel consumption for this model is 9.0 litres/100km and along our test route we managed to come close to this figure at just over 10.0 litres/100km.
However, on the downside there is quite a bit of lag from the combination of a diesel engine and an automatic gearbox but I doubt that the discerning H1 Bus owner cares much for lag and cares more about how many people their vehicle can fit comfortably.
Overall, the H1 delivers, with dimensions and space comparable to the likes of the Volkswagen Caravelle and Mercedes-Benz V-Class. It remains a compelling product in the segments that it competes in with rock solid reliability, value from money and new features that will make it easier to live with.
Service and Warranty
All H1 models come with a five-year/150 000km warranty as well as a five-year/90 000km service plan.