Some­thing for the van fans

Some­times Jus­tus Vis­age fan­ta­sises about own­ing a van. Not some sko­rokoro, but a van like the Hyundai turbo-diesel Mul­ti­cab or the smaller Volk­swa­gen Caddy Crew Bus 2.0 TDI, which are as good at car­ry­ing cargo as peo­ple. They are the bunny chows of the mo

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Hyundai H1 2.5 turbo-diesel 6-seater Mul­ti­cab Price: R492 900

Have you ever heard some­one com­plain that their ve­hi­cle has too much lug­gage space? “I’ve got ev­ery­thing in,” they would say, “in­clud­ing gogo’s wheel­chair, and still there’s room left! Sweetie, we should have more kids. And un­til they ar­rive, we’ll give lifts to hitch­hik­ers.”

With the H1 Mul­ti­cab, this sce­nario isn’t far-fetched at all. Think of a Toy­ota Corolla’s boot, now mul­ti­ply that space by seven – that’s more or less how much cargo space the Mul­ti­cab has. Yet it’s a six-seater that will trans­port five adults in com­fort, with a jump seat up front for a child or slen­der grown-up.

The Mul­ti­cab re­cently re­ceived a midlife re­fresh. Not much was done cos­met­i­cally, but the in­te­rior was brought up to date with the ad­di­tion of Blue­tooth, cruise con­trol, a fold­ing key and a brand-new dash­board and in­stru­ments.

Driv­ing the H1 gave me a strange sense of pur­pose. Sports and high-per­for­mance cars are won­der­ful and all that, but their en­joy­ment is of­ten a self­ish ac­tiv­ity with, dare I say it, a dash of onanism. Not the H1 – it’s in essence about other peo­ple.

Whether de­liv­er­ing sup­plies to that chil­dren’s home you sup­port, trans­port­ing your daugh­ter’s hockey team (with all their gear), help­ing friends move house or go­ing away with them for a week­end, the H1 does it all like a champ.

Other op­tions in the H1 range are the nine-seater petrol and diesel buses, and the three­seater panel van. How­ever, the Mul­ti­cab is the pick of the bunch, mar­ry­ing that 2 500-litre cav­ern with spa­cious seat­ing for five or six.

VW Caddy Crew Bus 2.0 TDI 81kW Price: R270 500

If the H1 has a re­ward­ing sense of pur­pose about it, the smaller VW Caddy Crew Bus has that plus a dose of driv­ing plea­sure.

Though it’s ba­si­cally a van with a body and sus­pen­sion de­signed for load car­ry­ing, there’s noth­ing van­like in the way it drives. Close your eyes (metaphor­i­cally) and it’s easy to imag­ine you’re pi­lot­ing a Golf or a Polo with the as­so­ci­ated sta­ble ride qual­ity, re­fine­ment and re­spon­sive en­gines. But like the H1, it squarely beats pas­sen­ger cars for cargo space.

Though the new Caddy closely re­sem­bles the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion of what was al­ready a bril­liant ve­hi­cle, much has changed, es­pe­cially in­side. Apart from the most ba­sic ver­sions, all Cad­dies now come with an LCD touch screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem that in­cludes Blue­tooth. The dash­board, cen­tre con­sole and switchgear were re­designed and im­proved. Like the H1 Mul­ti­cab, the Caddy Crew Bus has two air bags, but in typ­i­cal Ger­man car fash­ion, you can or­der many ex­tras, in­clud­ing more air bags. More im­por­tantly, the buyer can or­der an­other bench, which will bring the seat­ing ca­pac­ity up to seven.

Nat­u­rally, that takes up most of that won­der­ful cargo space, but longer Maxi Cad­dies are avail­able, re­turn­ing all those cu­bic cen­time­tres.

Start­ing at R226 800 for the ba­sic 1.6 litre petrol ver­sion (air-con op­tional), the Crew Cab range rep­re­sents good value for money, cou­pled with practicality. It’s enough to turn you into a van fan.

BIG ON CLASS The H1 Mul­ti­cab will trans­port five adults in com­fort, with a jump seat up front for a child or slen­der grown-up

SPACE TO STRETCH The Caddy Crew Bus rep­re­sents good value for money and practicality

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