Top new models for SA

From Renault's new Alaskan bakkie to the latest models at the Frankfurt motor show bound for SA.

Electric cars in SA

The debate on whether or not Electric Vehicles (EV) are viable in South Africa rages on.

This spacious new carrier is just vantastic

2016-10-09 07:00

LARGER THAN LIFE: A 90 000km or five-year service plan means the first five to six services are covered by Hyundai. Image: Justus Visagie

Justus Visagie

Hyundai H1 2.5 VGTi Diesel Panel Van

R459 900


I’ve liked vans since the 80s, when I watched Mr T - as BA Baracus - flamboyantly drive The A-Team’s black, grey and red GMC Vandura.

It made so much sense: the windowless flanks for stealth and privacy, the sliding doors for quick egress and the closet-style rear doors for shooting at a pursuing enemy.

Although my needs are more realistic these days, I still dig vans. And for some missions, a van is invaluable. When I helped organise a 4 000km motorcycle ride in aid of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), I needed a van for backup. Not only can it hold two weeks worth of luggage for four people, it can also swallow a whole bike, if necessary.

Acquainted with 'our' van

This ability was needed much sooner than I had hoped, when the van’s driver bailed out a day before departure. This meant that my Kawasaki Versys 1000 had to go into the van, which I would then drive. Johann (61), who has MS, would still ride the slightly smaller Versys 650.

Initially, I was like a child who’d had Christmas cancelled, because I wanted to ride the Versys 1000 alongside Johann. But it was not to be.

It did, however, get me acquainted with our van, a Hyundai H1 2.5 turbo-diesel.

READ: Review: Hyundai H1 goes ‘rogue’

The first thing I noticed was how comfortable and spacious the cabin is, with ample room for legs and knees.

The passenger bench, which seats one adult and a large child next to the driver, can slide forward when stashing things behind it. Or flip the small seat down and use it as an armrest, a shelf or to hold your cool drinks.

There’s a USB port for cellphone charging or music and an auxiliary jack, also for music. It has air-con, tinted electric windows, two airbags, ABS brakes with brake force distribution, cruise control and remote central locking – all standard equipment.

The H1 isn’t just well appointed, but also easy to drive. The engine is powerful (125kW power and 441Nm torque) and works well with the five-speed auto gearbox. This combo makes overtaking on the open road as well as city driving easy. The suspension gives a cushioning ride and the van feels manageable and simple to operate. The cargo area is easily accessible, thanks to sliding doors on either side and cupboard-type doors at the rear, just like BA’s Vandura.

The engine isn’t as fuel-efficient as the latest turbo-diesels would be, but at around 10 litres/100km, it wasn’t thirsty either.

Also, it can run on 500ppm diesel, where the most frugal engines require 50ppm, which is not available everywhere.

READ: H1 Multicab: Truck? Bus? Both!

A replacement driver presented herself quite quickly and though she usually drives a little Hyundai Getz, she quickly adapted to the van and loved driving it.

The big bike came back out and I was banished from the van. As my face cooked inside my bike helmet in the Karoo, I longed for the H1’s cooled cabin.

Buying a used van

At R459 900, purchasing the H1 new requires a significant investment. Buying it second-hand makes sense, as it’s a robust and well-built carrier with an extensive warranty: 150 000km or five years, plus an additional 50 000km and two years for 2016 (and later) models.

On Gumtree, I saw a 2013 model with 78 000km for R250 000 and on AutoTrader there’s a (less desirable) petrol-engined example from 2011 for R150 000. These Hyundais are sought-after vehicles, so if you spot a good one, don’t delay.

If your business doesn’t require as much freight capacity, get the fuel-efficient Peugeot Partner 1.6 HDi (R264 900).

If your operation is cash-strapped and you must buy new, consider the new Datsun Panel Van (R149 900).

Read more on:    city press  |  hyundai

Inside Wheels24

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.