The addition of a people carrier to a family or business fleet offers unrivalled practicality and functionality. The Hyundai H1 has become a firm favourite since its introduction and receives a new look and extra equipment to ensure it remains competitive. Reuben van Niekerk reports
Hyundai’s popular HI bus has received a bold new face in a make-over that is bound to elevate this market leader as an even bigger favourite among customers in need of a competent people-carrier that offers great value for money.
The whole nose section of the H1 has been redesigned, giving the nine-seater bus, and its panel van sibling, a modern look that fits in with the styling of the Hyundai passenger car and SUV range, and it comes without an increase in price.
New 17-inch alloy wheels add to the good looks of the 2,5 turbo-diesel derivative of the H1 range. The panel van is still equipped with 16-inch steel wheel rims.
The addition of an infotainment centre with a large touch screen enhances the list of interior luxury and comfort features in both nine-seater derivatives. Satellite navigation is an optional extra at a nominal fee of R2522.
The steering wheel can now adjusted for reach as well as height to make the driving position in the H1 even more comfortable.
Projection style headlights have been added, too, which not only illuminates the road ahead more effectively, but also adds to the good looks of the new front end of the H1 bus.
Some of the existing features that make the H1 the ideal family companion include Bluetooth connectivity and multifunction steering wheel, a fully automatic air-conditioner with climate control, glove box cooling, keyless entry, a side airbag, electronic folding mirrors and ESP.
The H1 nine-seater Bus has been one of the most popular vehicles in the Hyundai line-up since its introduction in 2009, and seamlessly morphs from family companion to a commercial tool that businesses can use for transporting a number of people in luxurious comfort and safety.
Transnet relies on a fleet of H1 vehicles to transport train drivers between their shifts, and these vehicles clock up about 20 000km per month reliably.
The six-seater Multicab derivative has been discontinued from the range; however, individual orders with deposits for this practical derivative will still be considered.
The refreshed H1 Bus is still available with a choice of two engines, a 2 359cc petrol engine delivering 126kW and 224Nm through a five-speed manual gearbox and a 2 497cc turbocharged diesel engine that delivers 125kW and 441Nm, which is transferred to the rear wheels via a five-speed automatic gearbox.
Whatever the role, the genuine availability to carry eight people and their luggage over long distances – or nine if the seat between the driver and front passenger is deployed – is the H1 Bus’s key strength, as unlike an MPV it does not suffer from the shortcoming of having minimal luggage space once the rearmost seats are in use.
Adding to its appeal in a working application is the 1500kg towing capacity of the turbo-diesel derivatives.
Handling characteristics of the H1 are car-like, with road holding that inspires confidence on all surfaces from good tar roads to corrugated gravel roads. The series is equipped with MacPherson-type strut suspension with gas shock absorbers upfront, and for the H1 nine-seater Bus a rigid axle five-link rear suspension with oil-filled shock absorbers ensures a comfortable ride. Dual leaf springs are used in the rear of the Panel Van, allowing it to carry 1 100kg and tow up to 1 500kg.
The H1 is easy to park, thanks to a generous glass area and substantial side mirrors that ensure good all-round visibility. This has been supplemented by a rear-view camera with a display located in the rear-view mirror of the range-topping H1 2,5 turbo-diesel Bus.
Pricing includes Hyundai’s five-year/150 000km warranty, with an additional two years/50 000km powertrain warranty, as well as a five-year/150 000km roadside assistance plan, and five-year/90 000km service plan.
H1 2.4 Executive Bus (petrol, manual) R499 900
H1 2.5 Elite Bus (turbo-diesel, automatic transmission) R629 900
H1 2.5 Panel Van (turbo-diesel, automatic transmission) R459 900