New H1, old value
ALWYN VILJOEN discovers why SUV drivers opt for SA’s top van
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.
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.