New H1, old value

AL­WYN VILJOEN dis­cov­ers why SUV driv­ers opt for SA’s top van

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - PHO­TOS: QUICKPIC

HYUNDAI has en­hanced its top-sell­ing peo­ple mover, the H1 nine seater, as well as re­fined the mar­ket of­fer­ing of the pop­u­lar six-seater Mul­ti­cab and H1 panel van. The main dif­fer­ences out­side are a new grille and front bumper, while the Mul­ti­cab also ben­e­fits from new de­sign al­loy wheels, but in­side both the Mul­ti­cab and the Panel Van now has cruise con­trol and Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity for the sound sys­tem with mul­ti­func­tion con­trols on the steer­ing wheel. Not that I could make friends with the new sys­tem, which I could not pair to my An­droid phone in the usual three key presses of “pair”, “find” and “ac­cept”, forc­ing me to switch off the phone in­stead. Mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor of Hyundai Au­to­mo­tive South Africa Stan­ley An­der­son said the van seg­ment bucked the down­ward trend in ve­hi­cle sales last year. Hyundai’s H1 nine-seater in­stead showed growth and is the mar­ket leader among the peo­ple mov­ing vans, of­fer­ing as it does one of the big­gest boots and the most New­ton me­tres for the money. An­der­son said the only rea­son why the mul­ti­cab and panel van did not also dom­i­nate their seg­ments against the of­fer­ings from VW, Nis­san and Mercedes Benz was be­cause Hyundai South Africa could not get enough stock to sup­ply de­mand last year, and what mod­els were avail­able had to go to the big­gest clients, the rental fleets. He said the com­pany has this year or­dered enough buses and vans to meet the or­ders and he ex­pects more SUV own­ers may get their fam­i­lies into the roomy van.

“Last year saw three per­cent growth in the H1 Bus, most of it may have been SUV buy­ers buy­ing down,” he said.

Part of the rea­son be­hind the growth is the re­li­a­bil­ity of the H1 vans and Hyundai’s fiveyear/150 000 km war­ranty and road­side as­sis­tance plan, as well as a five-year/90 000 km ser­vice plan.

An­der­son said the best praise for the H1 comes from Fleet Africa, the com­pany that shut­tles fresh train driv­ers to re­lieve driv­ers at the end of their shift at rail­way sta­tions all over South Africa. “Fleet Africa only uses the H1 vans, and clock on av­er­age 20 000 km a month over all types of roads. They told us it is the only bus that lasts,” An­der­son said. The new H1 fo­cuses on giv­ing buy­ers what they want, with only the fam­ily bus still avail­able in both the top-spec diesel or the more af­ford­able petrol en­gine, which makes a 126 Kw and a rather low 224 Nm max­i­mum torque through a five-speed man­ual gear­box to the rear wheels. This won’t be a bother in city traf­fic or a coastal lev­els, but to get any­where in fast, the petrol en­gine wants revving, which will send up the fuel bill.

The proven diesel makes 125 Kw and 441 Nm from 2 000 rpm. The panel van is now only avail­able with this 2,5 turbo diesel, linked to an au­to­matic gear­box, as re­quired by fleet own­ers and the full main­te­nance lease mar­ket. We drove the H-1 with the 2,5 se­ries around the B-roads be­tween Umh­langa and Bal­lito and can re­port the five-link rear sus­pen­sion with oil-filled shock ab­sorbers still as com­fort­able a ride as does its pre­de­ces­sor.

The van han­dles com­fort­ably through the cor­ners and the long gears will en­sure fru­gal diesel use, al­though our short drive was over to quick to back this pre­dic­tion with num­bers.

The rear axles of the Mul­ti­cab and Panel Van have the more tra­di­tional dual leaf springs to give them a 1 100 kg pay­load and a tow­ing ca­pac­ity of 1 500 kg with a braked trailer.

H1 pric­ing:

2.5 Tur­bod­iesel 9-seater Bus (auto) R579 900 2.4 Petrol 9-seater Bus (man­ual) R482 900 2.5 Tur­bod­iesel 6-seater Mul­ti­cab R492 900 2.5 Tur­bod­iesel 3-seater Panel Van R441 900

SA’s best-sell­ing peo­ple mover, the Hyundai H1 Bus, has been en­hanced with a slew of fea­tures.

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