Hyundai H1 (2016) First Drive

H1 Bus 01 1800x1800

Hyundai SA lent an upgraded H1 so that we could transport the team to and from the Cars Consumer Awards function. Here's a summary of the updates to the Korean bus:  

Hyundai’s H1 bus is a perennially popular people mover, particularly in the tourism industry, where many operators choose the H1 over pricier German alternatives. While the Hyundai badge doesn’t quite hold as much prestige as those of its Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz rivals, it easily matches them in terms of features and practicality.

The market has been particularly receptive to the Hyundai H1 bus; 10 493 units were sold since its local launch in January 2009. The range also includes the van (2 017 units sold) and H1 Multicab, of which 802 examples have been sold since January 2012. The H1 is evidently a segment leader — a position Hyundai will be keen to maintain...

What's new for Hyundai H1?

The Hyundai H1 has undergone a mild facelift for 2016. While we were invited to the local launch, it clashed with our Cars Awards event in Johannesburg (read all about the Consumer Awards). However, Hyundai South Africa graciously made the H1 bus available to us and it was immediately put to work as a logistics and transport vehicle.

For a start, the exterior's been updated. It sports a new-look grille and redesigned alloy wheels, while the interior benefits from changes such as refreshed centre facia as well as a modern-looking dashboard. There are new convenience features too, such as a new leather steering wheel, chilled glove box, fully automatic air conditioning system, electric folding mirrors and cruise control. The safety features have been upgraded too — the Hyundai H1 receives side airbags as well as ESP on top of its driver/passenger airbags and ABS-equipped brakes with EBD.

The engine line-up has remained the same. For the H1 bus, there’s a 2.5-litre turbodiesel automatic and a 2.4-litre petrol manual to choose from. With 126kW and 224Nm on tap, the petrol engine is claimed to return 10.2L/100km, but on specs alone, it seems wiser to opt for a turbodiesel model. It has 1kW less at 125kW, but 441Nm more torque, which will be more useful when hauling a heavy load. The turbodiesel Hyundai H1 is claimed to be lighter on fuel (9.0L/100km) and has loads more features, which goes some way to explain its R100k premium over its petrol sibling.

We evaluated a turbodiesel unit with a full complement of passengers on board and the convenience of an automatic transmission in peak hour highway traffic was hard to ignore. The added torque from the diesel motor was especially apparent during overtaking overtaking manuoevres. With seven adults on board, all had ample legroom, something that most full-sized SUV can’t really offer due to their rather small third rows. Also noticeable was the large boot, but sadly that third row of seats can’t fold flat. The ride quality was pleasant too and we got the impression that the Hyundai H1 was designed to be comfortable even on the longest of road trips. One of the best things about the Hyundai H1 is that each row gets its own air conditioning vents, which is very handy given the current summer weather.

2016 Hyundai H1 price in South Africa

The refreshed Hyundai H1 comes with a five-year/150 000km warranty, five-year/90 000km service plan and five-years' or 150 000km worth of roadside assistance.

H1 2.5 Diesel 9 Seater Bus Automatic R579 900

H1 2.4 Petrol 9 Seater Bus Manual R482 900

H1 2.5 Diesel 6 Seater Multicab R492 900

H1 2.5 Diesel 3 Seater Panel Van R441 900