I have spent a considerable amount of time in the Hyundai H1, mostly on roads in Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales. This was in the iMax (the Aussie name for the H1 bus, the van being known as the iLoad.) with the 2.4 litre petrol engine and 5 speed automatic transmission. I was informed that in Australia the petrol engine derivative was the only version available with an automatic transmission and the diesel only with a manual gearbox, a situation I believe has been rectified.

Being a family holiday it was the perfect opportunity to discover whether the H1 is not just a very good tour bus, but a capable form of family transport. So with yours truly and wife, our eldest son, his spouse and our two grandsons, copious amounts of luggage including a large selection of fishing tackle, provisions for all and representatives of “man’s best friend” in the shape of two long haired, full sized Dachshunds, we sallied forth. Everything was carried within the vehicle, no trailer was required thanks to the extremely capacious cargo and occupant’s space, even with all seats in use.

The Floyd vacation got underway, with a drive to Sanctuary Point, a wonderful spot on the coast around 200km south of Sydney where we spent a week exploring the area, relaxing and looking for that big fish. Returning to Canberra, without the fish, it was just a couple of days before we were off again, this time to Sydney for just one night including the whole tourist bit, from Bondi Beach to the iconic bridge and opera house.

After 1000 km of road trips we all agreed that the Hyundai was a remarkable vehicle and definitely one that should be considered if you want transport for the family with load space to match. Ride quality was very good and there were no complaints about comfort from anyone no matter where seated and that included Mister and Phoebe, our two canine passengers. Do not let the size of the H1 concern you, even in the CBD of Canberra it was an effortless drive with surprisingly easy maneuverability.

One area was a little lacking and that was engine power when you reached long climbs or mountain passes, the petrol engine coped well but became a little breathless forcing the automatic transmission to work overtime. That was my only issue.

Back home in SA and I was delighted when one of my first test vehicles was the latest derivation of the H1, the 2.5 CRDi bus Elite. The face lift transforms the look of the vehicle from delivery van to SUV. With a new front end, sporting a large chrome grille flanked by projection headlight clusters and 17” alloy wheels, the new H1 has a more athletic look than its predecessor.

The interior has been upgraded as has the infotainment system, with large touch screen and Bluetooth connectivity. The steering wheel is multi-functional and carries controls for the cruise control and sound system and is now fully adjustable for both height and reach. Some of the items included as standard equipment are a fully automatic air conditioner with climate control, automatic lights, keyless entry, glove box cooling, illuminated vanity mirrors and a rear camera for parking assistance with its display in the rear view mirror. Navigation is available as an option.

The dashboard of the H1 is very user friendly all controls ergonomically sited around the driver. Other additions to making life easier and safer are a side airbag, electric folding side mirrors and a rear windscreen wiper.

So lots offered to improve an already good package, but the biggest and most significant boost for the H1 is the engine. The 2,497cc turbocharged diesel delivers a very reasonable 125kW of power and an extremely healthy 441 Nm of torque making light work of hills and mountain passes, the 5 speed automatic transmission having to work a lot less harder than the petrol engined version I had previously experienced. Drive is through the rear wheels. That torque also means that the family bus can tow up to 1,500kg, an added bonus.

Fuel consumption is claimed at 9.8 l/100km but I recorded an average of around 10.9 l/100km, more than acceptable for a vehicle of this size

On the road it was once more the comfort and handling capabilities that impressed, minimal body roll along with the ESP system supply almost car like chassis dynamics. The hydraulically assisted rack and pinion steering providing good feedback and easy parking in tight surroundings.

If you are looking for a really practical means of moving a family and all their necessary accoutrements then look no further than the Hyundai H1 2.5 CRDi Elite. In its nine seat configuration, the ninth seat is fitted between driver and front seat passenger, the bus can cope with just about anything and makes family road trips an absolute joy. For those of you with larger families do not despair Hyundai have just released a 12 seat version. This H1 is a real winner.

Pricing.

Hyundai H1 2.5 CRDi Elite    R654 900

Pricing includes a 5 year/150 000km manufacturer’s warranty, an additional 2 year/90 000km manufacturer’s power train warranty, a 5 year perforation warranty, 5 year/150 000 km roadside assist and a 5 year/ 90 000km service plan.

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