The new van has been spied testing around Europe in recent weeks, where Hyundai is expected to focus its H350 assault almost exclusively.
And, with the van understood to be planned only for left-hand-drive production, that position is unlikely to change anytime soon.
Hyundai’s commercial efforts in Australia are far from flagging, however, with the already large iLoad currently sitting on 3002 sales for 2014.
That’s up from 2701 for the same period in 2013, and second only to the 4326 year-to-date sales of Toyota’s HiAce.
As for the H350, Hyundai says the extra-tall van boasts a payload capacity of up to 1.4 tonnes and a braked towing capacity of 2.5 tonnes.
The iLoad, by comparion, offers a respectable 1.12 tonnes payload capacity and braked towing capacities of 1500kg (auto) and 2000kg (manual).
On the styling front, the H350 walks a familiar path: like its segment rivals, the big van’s front-end styling is inspired by Hyundai’s latest passenger offerings, adding to the Korean carmaker’s family identity.
Likewise, the cabin boasts a two-tier dash, replete with multiple storage bays and the latest in infotainment and comfort features for the segment.
Seating up front includes a European beanch seat design, accommodating two or three occupants. There's also eight-way adjustment, along with optional suspension and heating.
The steering wheel offers tilt and reach adjustment. Head room is listed at 1414mm, and leg room at 1071mm.
- 3.5-tonne (GVW) cargo van with two/three seats
- 4.0 tonne Passenger Bus with 14/15 seats
- Cabin storage space can accommodate five standardized Euro pallets (1200 mm x 800 mm x 900 mm)
- Cargo area up to 12.9 metres cubed
- Wide rear access with 180- and 270-degree access for ease of loading, wide sliding side door
- Load floor fitted with 14 cargo anchor points
- High-strength bodyshell (75% advanced high-strength steel)
- Use of 98% anti-corrosion steel
- Vehicle Dynamic Control system
- Hydraulic Brake Assist, Emergency Stop Signal
- Lane Departure Warning System
- Hill-Start Assist
- Roll Over Mitigation
- Body-in-White electro coating for bodywork
- Cooling glove compartment
The H350 is not expected to come to Australia, but we may yet see Hyundai unveil a 4WD pickup in the coming years.
The company’s local arm has been outspoken in its desire for a pickup, with the segment recognised as a key factor in any plans to overtake Holden’s hold on second for overall sales.
A Hyundai-Kia pickup is likely some years away, however.
Speaking with TMR in July, Kia Australia COO Damien Meredith predicted that it could be closer to 2020 before such a model appears.
“There is about a… ‘nil percent’ chance of anything in regard to that right now,” Mr Meredith said at a press event in Melbourne this week. “There isn’t a global LCV [a pickup specifically] planned anywhere.”
“The reality is, and this is just my opinion, I don’t think Hyundai or Kia will have a light commercial (pickup) in the global range until there’s a factory built in south-east Asia. That’s probably around three years away.”
A pickup is undoubtedly on the agenda, however, with former with former Hyundai Australia boss and now global vice president Edward Lee even telling press the company is “studying that one [a pickup] very hard”.
“[We are investigating] what kind of pickup truck we should produce, if we have to. Is it a big-size pickup truck like in the United States or a small kind of pickup truck?” he told industry paper Automotive News at the 2013 Seoul Motor Show.
A new Hilux-rivalling pickup could bring Hyundai that much closer to taking Australia’s new-car sales crown, and already the Korean brand is expected to reach 100,000 annual sales for the first time this year.
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