The new Hyundai H1 – an SUV in disguise

Hyundai has proved once again that it is possible to build a people carrier that is affordable, reliable, comfortable, and not boring. The Hyundai H1 takes everything that makes a minibus, throws it out the window, and brings a whole new, surprisingly refreshing, bus sized car to the market.


Hyundai says the H1 is spacious. They are wrong, because the VW Kombi is spacious, the Toyota Quantum is spacious. The space the Hyundai H1 offers is massive, or even enormous. Think of it this way. you could comfortably fit 9 people, with some luggage, a cooler bag, your wife’s hand bag, and still have space left.

In the middle of the car in the front row, next to the driver, one of the seat backs folds down (should you wish to sacrifice a passenger) and reveals an entire tray, complete with cup holders and space for a Sunday lunch.

As for the second and third row, well, they recline. Every seat in this H1 reclines! Oh, it’s probably also worth mentioning these seats feel like luxury sofas, all clad with leather and premium feel stuff to make you feel better.


Then there is the boot space. The H1 offers a 842l space for baggage, more than any other competitor. The dashboard is also updated, now featuring a decent infotainment system with Bluetooth, MP3, CD, AUX, Ipod and Aux. The Diesel takes his further and ads SATNAV, though the latter is an optional extra listed at R2522


As far as minibuses go, the H1 is not bad looking. There is a clear genetic resemblance to Hyundai’s current lineup with regards to design. The new projector style front lights along with the massive new grille help take away the “bus” look, and helps the H1 present itself as a decent, over sized car.

There is only so much one can do to make a bus interesting in terms of looks, and I think Hyundai have done a bang on job considering the dimensions of it.


“Normal” buses feels unstable, sometimes cumbersome, and general big and heavy, especially around corners. The H1 just feels like a fat I20 with a tiny bit more body roll. It behaves well under heavy driving conditions, and complies to whatever you ask from it.

Power is not overwhelming, but it does seem like this H1 is more than capable to make an excellent cruiser, or at least make the long road a little better.

I have driven an automatic variant, and it would be my choice. There’s no drama, no hiccups, no fuss and no objection in any form or matter regarding every day driving. As far as a bus goes, the H1 feels like an oversized SUV, and in some cases, a normal car.

Power options include either a 2.4 manual, or 2.5 Diesel automatic. While both produce adequate power (126kW and 125kW), the Diesel manages to produce an earth moving torque figure of 441Nm, with all of it available at just 2000 rpm.

Cruise control, combined with the power makes for a pleasant drive with friend, and the suspension soaks up harsh road conditions rather well. Other gizmos include auto headlights, keyless entry, glovebox cooling, anda  tilt & telescopic, multifunction steering wheel,and electric folding side mirrors.


H1 2.4 Petrol Bus               R499 900

H1 2.5 VGTi Bus                R629 900


The Hyundai H1 offers everything you would need, and the standard 7 year warranty provided by Hyundai makes this a no-brainer. Compared to the Quantum, this looks less like a taxi, and will most likely make border crossings a little easier.

It is well suited as a people carrier, and If I had a big family to lug around and do school runs for, this H1 would be my car of choice.

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Juan Loubser

I am an old fashioned 30 year balding, ham fisted egghead, with a love for mechanical engineering, Victorian era architecture. There was always something about cars, and up to this day I cannot put my finger on it, the easiest way to explain it would be to like it to something you just understand, you get it, you don’t know why or how, but it’s something you've understood all your life. With Torquesteer I have created a couple of Goals. One is to tour the little market town of Todmorden, England in a MG B roadster, and the Second is to do the US route 66 in true american muscle style. Driving a Tesla is also on the list.

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