Trans­port for a tribe

Mov­ing seven or eight needs a durable de­vice. We rate the three top-sellers

The Advertiser - Motoring - - NEWS - CRAIG DUFF

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.

HONDA ODYSSEY

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

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