The updated but not up-priced spacious SUV

2018-07-26 06:01

DARE we call Hyundai’s updated H1 people mover an SUV? Its performance isn’t particularly sporty but that small detail never dissuaded any of its competitors.

It isn’t filled with more gadgets than you can keep track of, either, but it has all you really need.

Most SUVs seat five. Some will accommodate seven at a push.

In most cases, the extra chairs are difficult to get into or out of and offer limited headroom, making them suitable only for kids. Others are just clumsy and get in the way even when they‘re stowed.

And most competitors’ third-row seats, when in use, steal significant quantities of luggage space.

If users can remove one or more rows of seating and turn the vehicles into panel vans with windows, they call them MPV (multi-purpose vehicle). H1 is not an MPV. Nor does it claim to be a “crossover”, so by definition it must surely be an SUV - a big one.

It is quite long, at 5150 mm, on a wheelbase of 3200 mm. Those measurements place it almost exactly midway between those of Volkswagen’s short- and long-wheelbase Kombi and Caravelle, offerings.

It seats eight fully-grown persons in comfort without having to unfold anything down from the sides or up out of the floor.

Headroom is not compromised.

In case of emergency a ninth, admittedly small, person could use the half seat in the front row but then driver and co-pilot have to do without the big centre armrest with its cup holders and storage.

When everyone’s sitting comfortably (temperature-adjustable air conditioning outlets in the back) there is still 842 litres of luggage space.

Few five-seaters offer that much.

The new look consists of a more horizontal bonnet line with restyled nose, a five-bar grille repacing two-bar, reshaped headlights that are now projection type, body coloured mirror caps, new fog lamps and new 17” alloy wheels on the diesel bus.

Sides and rear remain unchanged.

The most noticeable interior feature is that the diesel bus gains a touch-screen control centre.

As before, there are three versions – an Executive bus with 2.4-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine and five-speed manual transmission, Elite bus with 2.5-litre turbodiesel and five-speed automatic and a panel van with the same engine and gearbox.

Van and petrol bus offer the most important basics including two airbags, entertainment centre with Bluetooth and satellite controls, projection headlamps, tilt and telescope steering wheel, ABS brakes with EBD, central locking, electric mirrors and front windows, rear fog lights and manual air conditioner.

Satnav is optional on the bus; all you need to buy is the SD card at R2552-00.

The Elite bus adds curtain airbags, ESC, cruise control, folding function for the outside mirrors, rear parking distance alarm and camera, leather upholstery and ISOFix mountings. Its air conditioner is automatic.

A certain fleet owner runs them as staff busses, each one logging around 20 000 km per month or a “normal” owner’s average vehicle lifetime, of 240 000 km, in a single year.

They then sell them and come back for more.

But is it an SUV? No.

The back seats don’t fold. Nor is it an MPV and it’s definitely not a sedan.

But it could be what you need.

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