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Happy, healthy, H1

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Happy, healthy, H1Hyundai’s H1 has been refreshed and the final package is rather appealing, writes GAVIN MYERS

As part of the Associated Motor Holdings group, Hyundai Automotive South Africa never publishes comprehensive sales results. Compiling monthly vehicle sales figures for this magazine, I’ve often wondered how certain of the brand’s models perform compared to their rivals.

Thanks to marketing director Stanley Anderson, I now know that, in 2015, the H1 sold almost 600 units in bus guise, giving it a (leading) share of 21,5 percent in the large multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) market. In the panel-van segment it recorded 76 sales (5,1 percent) and in the multi-cab segment 59 sales (6,3 percent).

It’s little wonder then that the only model available to drive at launch was the top-of-the-range 2.5 diesel automatic, nine-seater bus.

Happy, healthy, H1Hyundai has cut its losses and dropped the petrol-powered panel-van and multi-cab models from the range. According to Anderson, these accounted for only ten percent of sales. Both are now available exclusively with the 125 kW, 441 Nm 2,5-litre diesel engine.

Cruise control has been added to both models, while the multi-cab also benefits from the new 16-inch alloy wheel design and Bluetooth connectivity.

The bus offers both the 126 kW, 224 Nm, 2,4-litre petrol engine and the 2,5-litre diesel. The former is available only with a five-speed manual and the latter a five-speed auto.

The range-topping, diesel-powered bus now features full leather upholstery, automatic climate control, side airbags, electronic stability programme, cruise control and a cooled glove box – among other niceties – to help cement its leading position.

Our test route took us from the dairy farms of Irene to the diamond mines of Cullinan and back, via smooth freeways and some rather undulating and pockmarked back roads. The H1 bus impressed with its ride comfort and, with the strong diesel engine and smooth-shifting autobox, ease of acceleration.

Happy, healthy, H1Thanks to an upgraded central fascia (with Hyundai’s now standard blue backlighting) and light-grey upholstery, the spacious interior environment looks much more modern and has a more premium, quality feel.

Any gripes? The autobox tends to chase the red line when overtaking, instead of making full use of the available torque, and the driver’s seat doesn’t drop low enough. Oh, and, unless you’re rather keen-eyed, you’d probably look twice to tell the revised model from its predecessor ...

Not that that should matter much, with pricing between R441 900 and R579 900, the H1 presents great value compared to its main rivals. Consider also that Hyundai’s Five Year Triple Care roadside assist, warranty and service plan is thrown into the mix and it would be no surprise if the revised H1 brings about some more impressive sales figures.


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