There isn’t really a market for high-performance vans. Although Mercedes-Benz does a tidy trade by producing an AMG version of practically all its vehicles, there is no V63 AMG.
Same thing with VW. They have an established van legacy, but you’ll never see a Transporter R. Despite this, Hyundai has shown unexpected initiative in producing a very potent H1 N.
Ingenuity spilling over
The Korean automotive brand has made a serious effort of increasing its performance car offering in the last few years, with the i30 N hot hatchback. Now it would appear that some of that ingenuity has spilled over into Hyundai’s H1 people carrier.
Commissioned as a one-off concept by Hyundai Australia, the H1 N shows that rear-wheel drive and a very long wheelbase can arc some ridiculous drifts.
Distinguished in appearance by its N-specification light blue finish (a hue which is the signature colour for Hyundai’s i30 N hatch) and custom moulded front splitter, the H1 N is not merely a show pony.
It rolls on 19-inch wheels from the i30 N and there are electronic dampers at each wheel corner, to help stabilize its substantial weight transfer during high-load cornering.
Power and comfort
Powering the H1 N is a 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine, which boasts a peak power output beyond 300kW and manages to send 555Nm to the rear wheels. An adapted version of Hyundai’s eight-speed automatic transmission controls the tempo of performance.
A limited-slip rear differential enables the H1 N to do what no other van can and drift with aplomb. Even more remarkable is that if you have this H1 N loaded with a full complement of eight passengers, it possesses perfect 50/50 weight distribution.
To ensure the comfort of its passengers, this hugely potent H1 N has a semi-bucket front seats, whilst the second- and third-row benches are retrimmed in a combination of suede and leather.
Those changes in seat upholstery material should theoretically make passengers less likely to slide about when the H1 N is, in fact, sliding about. But where did Hyundai source the idea of building an overpowered, drift-capable version of its H1?
Image: YouTube/Car Advice
It all started with an innocent April Fool’s, created by Hyundai’s German office, which announced a fictitious H1 N van project earlier this year.
Hyundai’s Australian staff decided they could make the German office’s vision a reality and as such the H1 N was born. As a proof of concept, the H1 N is ridiculous but also shows that Hyundai is developing a sense of fun within is design teams.