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Driven: Hyundai's refreshed H1 bus goes the distance

2018-07-01 17:00

Janine Van der Post

Image: Quickpic

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Hyundai’s popular H1 Bus has received a bold new face in a make-over that is bound to elevate this market-leader as an even bigger favourite among customers in need of a competent people-carrier that offers great value for money.

While the SUV market continues to be a growing segment in South Africa, people movers still account for a significant share of the local market, especially for business owners.

According to Hyundai, one local transportation company purchases H1 buses to transfer staff to and from destinations and that they travel about 20 000km per vehicle each month.

Hyundai first launched its H1 bus or 'people mover' almost a decade ago in 2009. Since then, the local automaker has sold close to 17 000 units of its bus and panel van versions.

The Multicab derivative was launched in 2012 and has seen only 937 units sold in that time. That model has thus been discontinued in the new range, but those who are are still on purchasing one can order through dealerships if needed. 

The H1's direct rival for the 2.4-litre petrol model is the Volkswagen Kombi, while the Caravelle and Kombi diesel derivatives compete against the 2.5-litre diesel version.

Old vs new H1 below:

The new H1 has fresh new looks that makes it look like a distant cousin of Optimus Prime with its redesigned grille which gives it a completely new fresh face, along with projection headlights. Side mirrors are now body coloured, and there are 17" alloys on the diesel version.

Convenience features include rear park camera (in the diesel version), adjustable tilt and telescopic steering column (tilt only on petrol version) with multi-functional steering wheel, as well as auto light control. There's also keyless entry, glovebox cooling, rear wiper and on the diesel bus there are also power windows and electric folding side mirrors.

Inside there are storage compartments a plenty, including numerous cup holders and double compartments in the huge doors for maps and magazines and liquid refreshments. There are also vanity mirrors and a sunglass holder.

Navigation is an optional goodie and can be purchased at R2522.

Hyundai says the H1 bus has a 75-litre fuel tank and the claimed combined fuel consumption is 10.2 litres/100km on the 2.4-litre petrol and 9.8-litres on the 2.-5-litre diesel bus. As these figures are based on European testing, real world figures in SA would most probably slighter higher, especially with heavier loads and more aggressive driving.

The bus is available in three colours, namely: White, Metallic Silver and Blue.



How does it drive?

Quite lovely really. While we only sampled the 2.5-litre diesel bus on the launch, and three-up in a large vehicle, the drive was rather enjoyable. Gear changes on the 5-speed auto was incredibly smooth and despite its size, its torque curve is sumptuous with power figures of 125kW and a delightful 441Nm.

It's no slouch on the road and has enough steam to overtake when needed. It feels sturdy on the road, even when doing legal top speeds. 

I would be eager to see how it drives with a fully-loaded vehicle, along with luggage in the rear. And that brings me to one of the biggest highlights about this vehicle: while the bus already makes for an awesome people mover - whether for business purposes or a huge family - there is a large luggage compartment in the rear. The boot is massive and could probably store enough baggage for all seated passengers.

Pricing starts from R459 900 for the 3-seater 2.5-litre Panel Van and R499 900 for the petrol version.

And despite its hefty pricetag of R629 900 for the 2.5-litre deisel bus, it's still the option I would go for if my pockets were deep enough.
 
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