Hyundai H1 Multicab 2.5 VGTI Review

Hyundai H1 1

Hyundai has combined the passenger-carrying ability of the H1 bus with the spacious load bay of the H1 van to create the H1 Multicab. Could the Hyundai H1 Multicab be a contender for The Best Roadtrip Vehicle?

Hyundai H1 Multicab is a people mover

Hyundai’s H1 bus has been a runaway success for the brand, with plenty being sold on a monthly basis. The van equivalent is posting similar numbers and, thanks to both vehicles being exceptional value for money, Hyundai is doing well. The Hyundai H1 Multicab bridges the gap between the bus and the panel van by offering a six-seater with what can only be described as an enormous load bay at the back. Yes, the Multicab has corporate written all over it and is ideal for companies to transport goods and staff but Hyundai has outdoor-orientated families in its crosshairs.

The press release goes on to make extensive use of the words, “practicality” and “lifestyle” so I thought that a practical lifestyle test to put the Multicab through its paces would be in order.

Hyundai H1 Multicab challenge

The plan was simple, pick a destination on the Cape Peninsula and load up the family with their paraphernalia. Eventually a family consensus was reached and we elected to visit Cape Point Nature Reserve for the day. The Multicab offers considerable luggage space in the loadbox and thanks to the twin swing doors that open 180-degrees, loading and unloading is easy.

Hyundai H1 Multicab practicality and powerplant

The loadbox can hold a massive 2 500 litres of cargo and can take up to 1100kg. A picnic for three took up about ten percent of the available space.  Once all the items associated with a roadtrip/picnic were loaded up, it was time to hit the road. I had the 2.5-litre diesel Multicab which has 125kW and 392Nm. The automatic H-matic gearbox felt a little lazy when you’re in a hurry but when you’re cruising on the open road, it’s adequate.

Gear changes are gentle and overtaking is simple as the car kicks down a gear and you surge along using the engine’s mighty torque. The diesel is okay with regards to fuel consumption. Despite driving into a headwind and the H1 not being the most aerodynamic vehicle around, the figure was pegged at around the 10L/100km mark.

Hyundai H1 Multicab ride and ergonomics

Despite it being a very windy day, the Hyundai H1 Multicab felt stable and sure-footed all the way to the Cape Point Nature Reserve with all passengers not complaining about the seating or ride. It feels solid and well-built too. The interior has been cleverly thought out and boasts numerous practical features. The middle seat in the front row, for instance, can be folded down and doubles as a storage area with drinks holders and a tray to put maps, keys etc.

The glovebox offers a double-decker design and is one of the biggest I’ve come across. While the Hyundai H1 Multicab doesn’t feature climate control, the manual air conditioner was more than up to the task of cooling a vehicle that had been parked in the sun after we had hiked to the Cape Point lighthouse. It’s interesting to note that there are no aircon vents at the back so the middle seat had to be folded down to allow cool air to reach the second row.

Hyundai has thrown in a half-decent sound system too, complete with USB/iPod connectivity. Again, there seems to be little thought for the second row of passengers as there are no speakers in the back and it’s such a pity that the iPod cable had been pinched… It’s rather safe too and features ABS brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution. There’s a traction control system (ESP) available on the diesel while the cabin features pretensioned seatbelts and dual airbags.

Hyundai H1 Multicab - Conclusion

Overall, the H1 Multicab is an impressive vehicle when you consider what it is up against. A brief glance at offerings from Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz has shown that the Germans, while offering a little prestige, can’t really match Hyundai when it comes to value-for-money and practicality. The H1 itself is a brilliant vehicle and the Multicab mixes load-carrying ability and being able to ferry six people in comfort for just R339 900. I’m not the only one who loves the H1 though, as the vast majority of tour operators in the Cape Point parking lot were driving Hyundai H1 busses too!

Hyundai H1 Multicab price in South Africa

The Hyundai H1 Multicab 2.5 VGTI costs R339 900.

We like: ·         It's a bus that can carry six people and the kitchen sink ·         Great engine ·         Reasonable performance

We don’t like: ·         No air-con or radio speakers for the passengers in the second row. ·         No access from cabin into load bay area.

Hyundai H1 Multicab 2.5 VGTI specifications

Engine:                2.5-litre, four-cylinder, diesel Power:                 120 kW @ 3 800 rpm Torque:                392 N.m @ 2 000 rpm Transmission:      five-speed automatic Wheels:                16-inch 0-100 km/h:        14.5 seconds (claimed) Fuel economy:   9.7l/100km (claimed combined cycle)

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