Transport for a tribe
Moving seven or eight needs a durable device. We rate the three top-sellers
WHEN domestic delivery duties turn into a taxi service, it pays to buy the best vehicle. Mum’s taxi cops a pounding in any guise so when it comes to a seven or eight-seater, durability is a significant part of the package.
People-movers are generally bought when there are no other options and held on to until they’re falling apart.
At least these days the options do extend beyond conventional van-with-seat shapes and into more car-like motorvation, albeit with sliding rear doors.
With that in mind, Carsguide has cast an eye over the three top-sellers of 2015. The Kia Carnival is the classleader, even with its four-star safety rating (see below).
Honda’s Odyssey is the smallest and most car-like of this trio, though boot space is tight with six or seven passengers.
The Hyundai iMAX is the classic box but is the one to buy if there’s an issue with walking into the rear seats without unduly bending the back. A massive cargo capacity seals the deal for those operating on the more for less principle.
The Honda is all about making the most of a relatively small package. The lack of cargo space relative to the South Koreans is the only obvious consequence of itbeing smaller, narrower and lower.
Cargo apart, it does a dutiful and well-presented job as a people-mover. The price doesn’t hurt: even in as-tested top-spec VTi-L guise the Odyssey is $46,040 before onroads, or $3000 more than the iMAX diesel.
The downside is it has the most expensive servicing costs of this trio, at intervals of six months as opposed to annually.
The bling for your buck runs from the eye-searing chrome grille to alloy wheels, powered side doors, eight bottle and cupholders, seven-inch touchscreen with satnav, 360degree reversing camera, sixspeaker audio and aircon vents (with independent controls) for the second and third rows.
Second row seats have separate armrests but not quite enough length under the legs and they don’t flip forward as far as the Kia to give third-row access.
Software aids are rudimentary with blind-spot and tyre pressure alerts.
The Honda drives securely, if too firmly without a full crew on board. Semi-laden, it jiggles over smaller bumps but is by far the easiest of this group to negotiate tight carparks.
If pace isn’t a priority and fuel use is, the Honda makes sense. The 2.4-litre petrol