Launch Drive: New Hyundai H1 (2016)

What is it?

Suffice to say the Hyundai H1 didn’t need a radical makeover to continue its job straddling commercial and passenger roles. One of the carmaker’s top selling models, the new Hyundai H1 was last introduced around 2010 and this very slow evolution is an effort to keep pace with the recently-updated Volkswagen Kombi and Mercedes V Class.

New Hyundai H1

What’s it like?

Hyundai has lots of consumer data on hand with the H1 so the updates will resonate with existing owners. The new folding key for instance prevents accidental unlocking – a complaint with the previous model.

New alloys, more pronounced grille and modern audio system with bluetooth form the major differences along with dual zone climate, cruise control, glove box cooling and a leather steering wheel and gearknob.

None of these changes are truly innovative for the segment and the Hyundai H1 still lacks the pizazz of its rivals. Upon jumping in there’s a distinct commercial feel to it; the leather is thin, some hinges are exposed and you could also equate a few of the finishes and seating position to that of a Hyundai H100.

At 5-metres in length space is excellent but it’s more for transporting rather than pampering. Seats slide on rails for some level of flexibility but we found the storable third seat up front to be uncomfortable with very little legroom.

Hyundai trimmed down the mechanical derivatives to echo its most popular sellers and we only drove the more popular 125kW 441Nm 2.5-litre turbo diesel with 5-speed automatic. The engine is terrific and seldom battles to overtake while keeping noise to acceptable levels. A very unobtrusive combination that’s easy to drive and more importantly easy to service.  A 126kW 224Nm 2.4-litre petrol is the other alternative.

Should I buy one?

As a luxurious people carrier you’d be disappointed but the Hyundai H1 flourishes under more demanding conditions. As something to carry or tow your leisure activities or put into a fleet working around the clock, you’ll be grateful for the more basic and hard wearing interior.  Pricing apes the VW Kombi but is significantly cheaper than Caravelle, Mercedes V Class and Kia Sedona.




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