Practical workhorse and spacious people carrier blends to form Hyundai’s versatile H1 Multicab
First there was the popular and very attractive H1 Bus, Hyundai’s people carrier that has become a hit with families, tour operators and anyone who needs to transport more than four people with luggage safely and in great comfort.
Then came the H1 Panel Van – also a very popular vehicle in the Hyundai range – but this time it was any kind of goods that could be transported easily and securely in the enormous cargo bay.
Now the H1 Multicab, available in two derivatives, has arrived with a blend of these great features and with a choice of a frugal petrol engine or a powerful turbodiesel that offers exceptional towing capacity.
Not only does the new H1 Multicab provide comfortable seating for six, including the driver, but the accommodation is finished off in quality materials to create a luxurious cabin that belies the hidden workhorse nature of this car. Behind the second bench is a secure cargo hold that has the capacity to transport a small motor bike, a couple of bales of horse fodder and a saddle or two, or any kind of cargo that would have to be delivered or transported for a business.
It is the kind of vehicle that can do duty as the business runaround, and – when the holiday season starts – be packed to transport the family and all their luggage and everything short of (or including) the kitchen sink to their breakaway destination.
Hyundai’s rear wheel driven H1 9-seater luxury bus has been a runaway success since its launch in March 2009 with the 2,4 litre petrol engine and has continued to reach dominance of its market segment after the introduction of the derivative with the powerful 2,5 litre turbodiesel in 2010. These four-cylinder engines were also introduced in the H1 Panel Van – also a winner in the Hyundai range – and are now also used as the power units in the new H1 Multicab.
Attractive design a strong feature
The attractive design of the H1 Multicab is one of its strong features of the H1 Multicab. The aligned front light clusters feature multi-reflector type headlights. Clear glass and chrome coated bezels both for efficiency and visual appeal.
Furthermore, the newly designed chrome finished radiator grille improves its prestigious image. Enhanced windscreen wipers combined with soap water sprayers efficiently remove water and dirt residue which improves visibility. Redesigned highly efficient 3-way washer nozzles add clarity of vision without disturbing the flowing frontal treatment.
The polycarbonate multi-reflective headlights are chip-, crack- and sun-fade resistant that will increase the longevity of the lenses. Multi-reflective means the light produced from the globe is reflected using multiple mirrors to better the throw of light.
Vertically aligned, the characteristic head lamp shape gracefully flared into the bodywork marks the H1 Multicab as a stylish, luxurious MPV with the practical feature of a huge cargo hold. The picture is completed by attractive 16-inch alloy wheels.
Choice between petrol and diesel engines
The 2.4 Theta petrol engine with rear wheel drive offers robust performance and fuel efficiency in the H1 Multicab. The engine features Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) with 16-valve double overhead camshafts to provide a free revving engine that totally matches the driver’s mood: Whether brisk acceleration or long-distance smooth power cruising, the Theta engine optimises every drop of fuel. The engine also offers multi-point electronic fuel injection for better fuel efficiency.
The aluminium block technology reduces weight to produce a more efficient engine, which in its turn reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. While the Timing Chain Drive System reduces engine noise, it also ensures high durability as it is maintenance free. A three-way catalytic converter is also added to reduce CO2 emissions.
The Hyundai 2.5 VGTi turbodiesel features 4 valves per cylinder, CVVT and a Variable Geometry Turbo-charger (VGT) with second-generation common rail fuel injection – the result is superior performance with distinguished fuel economy. The VGT improves torque delivery at low engine revolutions, reduces CO2 emissions and improves overall performance.
A maintenance-free timing chain is a definite economy feature while the engine provides constant power between 2 000 and 2 500 r/min. The result is a relaxed driving experience due to higher torque.
While a slick 5-speed manual transmission with well-spaced ratios is paired with the 2.4 Theta petrol engine, a 5-speed automatic transmission is used with the 2.5 VGTi turbodiesel in the H1 Multicab.
The manual transmission is equipped with a dual mass flywheel for the rear wheel drive to reduce drivetrain noise. Furthermore, an optimised gear ratio and synchro improves fuel economy and ensures an easy, accurate gearshift.
The high-performance and fuel-efficient engines provide a pleasing driving experience. The 2.4 Theta petrol engine produces 126 kW at 6 000 r/min. and 227 Nm torque at 4 200 r/min. It reaches a top speed of 182 km/h and will accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 17,9 seconds. CO2 emissions have been measured at 240 g/km and fuel consumption of 10,2 litres/100 km has been measured in a mixed cycle.
The 2.5 VGTi turbodiesel produces 125 kW at 3 800 r/min. and 392 Nm torque at 2 000 r/min. Top speed has officially been measured at 180 km/h, and it takes 14,9 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h. CO2 emissions of 257 g/km are produced. This turbodiesel has delivered fuel consumption of 9,7 litres/100 km in a combined test cycle of city and open road driving.
The H1 Multicab’s drag coefficient of just 0,34 aids fuel efficiency and the steeply raked bonnet and A-pillars giving it an exceptionally aerodynamic profile.
The suspension of the H1 Multicab is a combination of McPherson struts at the front and dual leaf springs at the rear. It is sufficiently robust to cope when the vehicle is fully laden, yet it remains compliant enough to provide the occupants with a comfortable ride whatever the load.
The Hydraulic Power Steering (HPS) for the rack and pinion system allows for sharp and accurate handling in the tightest of situations. The turning circle is only 11,2 m, which makes the H1 Multicab a vehicle that is easy to manoeuvre for its size.
Front and rear track width are the widest in the class. Handling characteristics are car-like, with confidence-inspiring roadholding. In fact, drivers will find the H-1 pleasingly easy to park aided by the generous glass area and big rearview mirrors.
A comfortable cabin
A number of storage compartments have been included in the interior design of the H1 range. The console between the driver and front seat passenger is available with a retractable holder for cold drink bottles or coffee cups. When you fold the middle seat in the front of the cabin down, you will find two extra cup holders and a convenient tray.
The sun visor on the driver’s side doubles as a card holder for toll tickets or receipts. Dual door pockets are located in the two front passenger and driver’s doors as useful storage compartments for all the magazines, maps and paperwork that are essential on journeys. The H1 has a twin glove box that serves as safe and convenient storage space for small goods.
The three dimensional cluster in front of the driver with green illumination provides superb visibility and convenience. A trip computer is integrated into the cluster providing valuable information to the driver. The facia trim in the Multicab is a neat black matt finish. In the centre of the Multicab’s facia is the well-equipped audio system as well as the air-conditioning system which is manually operated with large, functional control knobs.
The vehicle has a remote bonnet- and petrol cap release that can be opened from the driver’s seat.
The full-size steel rim spare wheel is fitted under the vehicle which can only be removed with the lowering mechanism from inside the vehicle. The tool kit is fitted under the driver’s seat in its own compartment. The tools can be reached by opening the flap in the step of the driver’s door.
The vehicle’s doors can be locked and unlocked from a distance thanks to an electronic sender built into the ignition key.
The volume of the H1’s geometric luggage or cargo compartment is an impressive 2 500 litres and indeed, it is an immensely practical vehicle, designed to be put to work on a daily basis. The rugged design is built around front-engined rear-drive architecture, dual sliding doors, a massive and upright tailgate, and a “semi-bonneted” nose.
The H1 Multicab’s layout allows for a substantial front crumple zone and in addition, the H1 has a series of reinforced “rings” aligned with the key body pillars and linked with them across the floor and roof, and side impact protection beams in all four doors. An all-disc braking system – 300 mm ventilated discs at the front and 324 mm solid discs at the rear – with four-channel ABS and electronic brake force distribution (EBD) for maximum distritbution of the hydraulic brake pressure ensures secure braking even when fully laden.
Dual airbags and outer front three-point seatbelts equipped with pre-tensioners are fitted for the driver and front passenger, with a lap belt for the occupant in the middle. The second bench is also fitted with three-point seatbelts for the passengers on the outer side, with a lap belt for the third passenger in the middle.
When crash-tested by Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) the H1 achieved four out of a possible five stars – a rating which puts it right up near the front of the class. The 2.5 VGTi derivative is equipped with an Electronic Stability Programme.
With its supportive and height-adjustable seat, adjustable steering column, boldly-marked instruments, large glass area and generously proportioned exterior mirrors and electric windows with auto-down for the driver, the workload of the man – or woman – behind the wheel is minimised – keeping fatigue at bay.
‘Fit for purpose’
But above all, a vehicle of the Multicab ‘s nature needs to be “fit for purpose” and that’s been top of the design agenda: It is rear-wheel-driven, so that when fully laden the wheels that are carrying the load are also providing traction, leaving those at the front free to handle steering duties.
Sliding doors are fitted on either side so no matter where you’re forced to park, embarking and disembarking from the H1 Multicab can be done conveniently and safely. The cargo area is totally secure and the only access is through the very convenient swing-type doors that can open at 180 degrees to make loading and off-loading of goods and luggage an easy task.
From the reinforced bulkhead separating the cargo from the passengers (with a glass upper section to add visibility and enabling the load to be monitored) there is a 1 585 m load length. The load area features six sturdy lashing points so that cargo can be securely fastened or tied down. And when the sun sets the work can go on, thanks to a powerful interior light above the back doors.
With its leaf-spring rear suspension the H1 panel van is rated to carry 1 100 kg and tow up to 1 500 kg (braked) and 750 kg (unbraked).
The convenience and security feature list is generous and includes remote central locking, auto-locking doors, a child lock on the rear doors, air conditioning, alarm/immobiliser and an audio system that includes a radio with MP3 player, USB and AUX input ports and iPod adaptability. As with other Hyundai passenger vehicles, an iPod adapter cable is standard equipment.
The prices of R279 900 for the H1 Multicab 2.4 CVVT and R339 900 for the H1 2.5 VGTi include Hyundai’s 5 year/150 000 km warranty and roadside assistance plan, as well as a cost-busting 5 year/90 000 km service plan. Service intervals of 15 000 km for both derivatives contribute to low ownership cost and peace of mind.
All this adds up to an attractive vehicle which is perfect for business and families that like room to manoeuvre.