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Brand New Hyundai iLoad

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Tim O'Brien | Jul 20, 2009

HYUNDAI’S iLoad van and eight-seat iMax people-mover have been awarded 4-Star occupant safety ratings in recent ANCAP tests (for vehicles with a March 2009-build onwards).

In a sector that has traditionally lagged behind passenger vehicles for both passive and dynamic safety features, this will come as encouraging news for tradespeople and for fleet and family buyers.

Those looking for a robust, well-specified work-companion, or the space and versatility of an eight-seater but who do not wish to compromise the well-being of occupants when at the wheel, can now put Hyundai’s capable iMax and iLoad high on the list.

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Interestingly, buyer research shows that 'safety' is given a low priority by trade buyers. But this is certain to change; workplace safety regimes are placing increasingly stringent obligations on employers in providing the safest-possible work environment for employees.

In all states in Australia, a vehicle used in the performance of work is recognised as a 'workplace'.

As TMR's preview test drive demonstrated, the 4-Star ANCAP 'gong' is the icing on two surprisingly competent user-friendly vehicles.

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With a conventional front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, a 2.4 litre petrol engine or a strong 2.5 litre common rail direct-injection turbo-diesel under the bonnet, and huge space inside (the iLoad will take two fully-loaded pallets), each offers both good buying and a genuinely good drive.

Both iMax and iLoad are well-specified and well-priced: beginning at $29,990 for the iLoad 2.4 litre petrol and $36,990 for the iMax petrol, rising to $34,490 for the diesel iLoad and $39,990 for the diesel iMax (plus the various statutory and delivery charges).

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The iMax 2.5 CRDi turbo diesel five-speed auto (at $42,490) we drove performed surprisingly well. This was the first time at the wheel of Hyundai's 'big Bertha', and we came away more than impressed after a stint at the wheel in and around Sydney.

A longer test will tell the tale - TMR will be reviewing both vehicles in the next month - but our first drive impression was of a comfortable, quiet, reasonably stylish and unexpectedly refined eight-seater.

At the wheel, the high, slightly bus-like driving position means that there is no mistaking that you're in a van, but it is easy to get settled, the wheel can be set comfortably, the ergonomics are good and the seats well-padded and supportive.

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The turbo-diesel engine under the toe is a willing unit (but we're yet to sample the petrol). With peak torque of 392Nm @ 2,000-2,500rpm and a creditable 125 kW @ 3,800rpm, it pulls strongly from low in the rev range and, inside, with little more than a muted diesel 'groan' accompanying its efforts.

It also handles without an excessively top-heavy feel - a characteristic that has blighted tradesman's vans and people-movers since the invention of the blue singlet.

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The iMax feels not unlike a larger, but more upright, passenger car. With a bonnet in front, it also banishes the feeling of insecurity that accompanies any drive in a 'cab-over' style van (which are fortunately now disappearing from the roads).

At the announcement of the ANCAP 4-Star rating, Hyundai’s Director of Sales and Marketing Kevin McCann said:

“While we’ve always known that our semi-bonneted design – with more ‘real estate’ to engineer in crumple zones - affords occupants much greater protection than is possible with straight forward control (cab-over) style vans, it’s great to see our conviction vindicated by ANCAP’s rigorous and independent test regimes.”

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With ABS and EBD standard across the range, dual front airbags, keyless entry, alarm, height-adjustable seat belts with pre-tensioners and load limiters for front seat passengers, tilt steering, air conditioning, rear wiper, and auxiliary input for both iPod® and MP3 players, both the iMax and iLoad are loaded with standard features more commonly found in well-specified passenger vehicles.

The CRDi turbo-diesel iLoad can be optioned with ESP Stability Control (ESP) incorporating Traction Control System (TCS), a feature that comes as standard on the iMax diesel.

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Adding to the practicality of both the iLoad and iMax are wide sliding doors on both sides - handy for safely loading and unloading both cargo and passengers. They also offer 'walk-through' practicality from the front seats, with a 'captain's chair ' lay-out up front.

And, if having to pick through muddy building sites, the iLoad offers an optional locking differential to ensure it can clamber out of work sites where it clambered in.

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While the iLoad van and crew van run a leaf-spring rear suspension set-up, the iMax shuttle has a five-link coil spring rear suspension.

So, yes, on the face of it, Hyundai's iMax and iLoad make a very strong case for themselves. Whether shopping for a spacious and comfortable eight-seater van, or a cavernous and surprisingly user-friendly work-horse, our first but relatively short drive showed that each are worth a close look.

“The Hyundai iLoad is currently second in the light commercial segment, achieving an outstanding 13 percent market share in only 18 months,” said Kevin McCann.

Our time at the wheel showed that there are more than a few good reasons why each is selling strongly. The case has now been made stronger with that 4-Star ANCAP safety rating.

Specifications and Manufacturer' List Prices (inc. GST, but excluding dealer delivery and statutory charges)

Hyundai iLoad 2.4 litre petrol powertrain

Peak power: 129 kW @ 6,000 rpm

Peak torque: 228 Nm @ 4,200 rpm

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Fuel consumption*: 10.1 L/100 km (manual)

CO2 emissions: 238 g/km (manual)

Towing capacity: 1,500 kg (braked); 750 kg (unbraked)

Hyundai iLoad 2.5 litre CRDi turbo Diesel powertrain

Peak power: 125 kW @ 3,800 rpm

Peak torque: 392 NM @2,000 to 2,500 rpm

Transmission: 5-speed manual or 5-speed Selectronic automatic

Fuel consumption*: 8.5 L/100 km (manual); 9.6 L/100 km (auto)

CO2 emissions: 225 g/km (manual); 253 g/km (auto)

Towing capacity: 2,000 kg (braked manual); 1,500 kg (braked auto); 750 kg (unbraked manual & auto)

Hyundai iMax 2.4 litre petrol powertrain

Peak power: 129 kW @ 6,000 rpm

Peak torque: 228 Nm @ 4,200rpm

Transmission: 4-speed automatic

Fuel consumption*: 10.6 L/100 km (auto)

CO2 emissions: 250 g/km (auto)

Towing capacity: 1,500kg (braked); 750kg (unbraked)

Hyundai iMax 2.5 litre CRDi turbo Diesel powertrain

Peak power: 125kW @ 3,800rpm

Peak torque: 392Nm @ 2,000 to 2,500 rpm

Transmission: 5-speed manual or 5-speed Selectronic automatic

Fuel consumption*: 8.5 L/100 km (manual); 9.8 L/100 km (auto)

CO2 emissions: 225 g/km (manual); 259 g/km (auto)

Towing capacity: 2,000 kg (braked); 750 kg (unbraked)

Hyundai iLoad 3 seat van model variants and Manufacturer’s List Prices (MLP)^:

iLoad 2.4 petrol 5-speed manual $29,990 MLP^

iLoad 2.5 CRDi turbo Diesel 5-speed manual $34,490 MLP^

iLoad 2.5 CRDi turbo Diesel 5-speed auto $36,990 MLP^

Hyundai iLoad 6 seat crew van model variants and Manufacturer’s List Prices (MLP)^:

iLoad 2.4 petrol 5-speed manual $31,990 MLP^

iLoad 2.5 CRDi turbo Diesel 5-speed manual $36,490 MLP^

iLoad 2.5 CRDi turbo Diesel 5-speed auto $38,990 MLP^

Hyundai iLoad van and crew van optional equipment and Manufacturer’s List Prices (MLP)^:

Metallic / mica paint $350 MLP^

ESP + TCS (CRDi van or crew van only) $700 MLP^

Twin swing (barn) doors $550 MLP^

Locking differential (dealer order) $700 MLP^

Hyundai iMax 8 seat shuttle model variants and Manufacturer’s List Prices (MLP)^:

iMax 2.4 petrol 4-speed auto $36,990 MLP^

iMax 2.5 CRDi turbo Diesel 5-speed manual $39,990 MLP^

iMax 2.5 CRDi turbo Diesel 5-speed auto $42,490 MLP^

Hyundai iMax optional equipment and Manufacturer’s List Prices (MLP)^:

Metallic / mica paint $350 MLP^

Locking differential (dealer order – CRDi only) $700 MLP^

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