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  • Solid value; convenient multi-door access; easy to get 'set up'; drives well
  • Silly placement of cargo bay floor load hooks; small load space compared with rivals; struggles to maintain cabin comfort in ambient temperature extremes

LIFESTYLE RATING
7 / 10



by James Ward

A relative newcomer to the light-commercial van segment, the Hyundai iLoad has only been on sale in Australia since 2007, which – when compared to 1967 for the Toyota HiAce and 1965 for the Ford Transit – makes it impressive that in just seven years, the model has worked its way into the market’s number two spot.

It is easy to see why. Starting at $30,990, the Hyundai iLoad is one of the cheapest ways to get into a new medium-sized van in Australia – behind only the Fiat Scudo ($28,990) and LDV V80 ($30,800). Couple that with a five-year/160,000km warranty, standard air-con, Bluetooth, twin-sliding doors and a stylish (for a van) design, and the iLoad makes a solid case.

For most of us, though, vans tend to be seen as simply a tool of the trade, so I spent the weekend with one to see how it fared from a driver’s perspective.

The base Hyundai iLoad is a spartan thing – less of the ‘mullet’ (business in the front, party in the back) we enjoyed with the Chrysler Grand Voyager recently; more of a short back-and-sides all business approach. Even the key is basic, with a single button for both lock and unlock (this caused some minor frustration as a result of my usual OCD multi-clicking of the lock button – don’t laugh, I’m sure you do it, too – meaning I was never quite sure if it was locked or unlocked.

Hyundai iLoad Review : Market stall weekender

I even accidentally locked myself in a couple of times by holding the button on the key as I turned it in the ignition. Not exactly the crowning achievement of my adult life – trapping myself inside a 4.3 cubic-litre cargo van – and despite none of my CarAdvice colleagues being able to replicate the situation, I’ll try to keep some dignity and blame the car.

The seating position is high and comfortable with all the controls being simple and straightforward. Pairing a phone was easy and the standard audio streaming means you can make yourself at home quickly. Being a working vehicle, there is a multitude of hard-wearing storage bins and containers, making any discussion about the lack of soft-touch dashboard material redundant. The centre armrest and its big cup holders easily fit a large coffee, or, say, a camera lens, without any issue.

The standard 60:40 seating setup allows room for three up front and Miss Five enjoyed a couple of trips sitting in the middle spot. It would get a bit cozy with three full-size adults, but there is a six-seater crew van configuration if you are regularly more than two-up on the road.

Our $38,990 test van was fitted with the 125kW/441Nm 2.5-litre common rail turbo diesel engine and five-speed automatic transmission. With an empty load, the iLoad’s performance was certainly within expectation, cruising easily up to 100km/h on the freeway. The road noise and overall feel was again to be expected, with crosswind being much more noticeable compared with being in a car, but never overly concerning.

Hyundai iLoad Review : Market stall weekender

Getting a true feel for the van would require me to carry a load, so I took the opportunity to try and clear the house of some excess ‘stuff’ and set up a pop-up stall at the Docklands Sunday Market in Melbourne.

The Docklands precinct is growing every day yet is still trying to find its own little ‘niche’ as a destination for Melburnians. Close to the city, and crammed with high-rise apartments, the location sounds good on paper, but without the support of a major event and with ‘questionable’ weather, my day of selling to passing foot-traffic was looking challenging.

The market has been running for the past five years and attracts sellers of various arts, crafts, produce and second-hand goods. A bit flashier than traditional ‘car boot’ trash and treasure sales, market sellers use their car as an anchor and set up a storefront with other equipment.

I lobbed our Hyundai between a bonsai nursery (in another iLoad) and a photographer (in a Jeep Wrangler) and felt slightly unprepared without a covered marquee or a-board sign, but did my best to position ‘CarAdvice Bear’ in the ride-on BMW M3 to attract prospective buyers (ie: children with tired parents who would gladly part with $5 in exchange for some silence – a market I know too well).

With a 4308-litre load bay, the Hyundai iLoad is smaller than the Toyota HiAce, Ford Transit, Mercedes-Benz Vito, Renault Trafic and Volkswagen Transporter. The twin side doors allow very convenient access for both loading and unloading, as I crammed the Hyundai full of toys, books and clothes that would hopefully not be missed by Miss Five.

Hyundai iLoad Review : Market stall weekender

Sliding larger items through the lift-up tailgate was easy, too, until I noticed two of the tie-down hooks in the middle of the floor. Positioned between the wheel arches, and sitting proud of the load bay, these hooks scuppered any plan of simply sliding a large table into the back of the van. I spoke to a friend who owns a number of iLoads for his industrial supply business and he said these were the first thing removed as soon as he got the vans. There are also other hooks along the van’s sides.

The lift-up tailgate is standard – which worked well as an umbrella during the numerous showers over my market day – but the Hyundai iLoad can be optioned with barn-doors for easier forklift access. The gentleman running the bonsai stall had opted for these doors but said the centre join line reduced rear visibility. The van is not fitted with parking sensors or a reversing  camera (available as $286 and $1337 options respectively), making reverse parking a bit of a ‘hit and miss’ exercise.

Bonsai man’s van had also been customised with a sealed barrier between the load bay and driving compartment to better insulate for heating and cooling to cope with Melbourne’s ‘flexible’ weather. The standard air conditioner was not up to keeping the whole van cool, but the barrier enabled the system to work more efficiently and helped keep him comfortable on hot days.

Hyundai iLoad Review : Market stall weekender

He said that despite this, the iLoad was the best van he had owned and provided excellent reliability and economy for its budget. In fact all the iLoad owners I spoke to during the weekend were happy with their vans. Sure there were aspirations of Vitos and Transporters, but in the bang for your buck stakes, the Hyundai presented a strong argument.

My market day continued with small success, CarAdvice Bear doing a great job wooing small children to the tables of Thomas the Tank Engine trains and random soft toys and the iLoad providing shelter and comfort during the frequent ‘scattered’ showers. Alas, though, I don’t think market life is for me. I seemed to pack up and leave with just as much stuff as I came with and spent most of my earnings on coffee.

That said, I did quite enjoy the Hyundai iLoad. There’s something fun about sitting high and forward and driving around with a sense of serious business. It’s a bit like a hobby farm for me, though – a little bit of country fun for the city guy, but I don’t have to get up at dawn every day to milk the cows. To be there day in, day out? The iLoad is economical, comfortable and, as noted by actual owners, can be easily configured and customised to suit specific requirements. It’s not the quietest or best equipped, but it is well priced and drives, well, like a van.


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HYUNDAI ILOAD BREAKDOWN

Hyundai iLoad Review : Market stall weekender
  • 7
  • 4
  • 7
  • 9
  • 7
  • 5
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Hyundai iLoad Specs

TQ MY14 : 2.5L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ - 5 SP AUTOMATIC - DIESEL - 4D VAN
Car Details
Make
HYUNDAI
Model
iLOAD
Series
TQ MY14
Year
2014
Body Type
4D VAN
Pricing
New Price
N/A
Private Sale
$24,200 - $27,500
Dealer Retail
$25,070 - $29,810
Dealer Trade
$19,000 - $22,000
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
DIESEL TURBO F/INJ
Engine Size
2.5L
Cylinders
DIESEL TURBO 4
Max. Torque
441Nm @  2000rpm
Max. Power
125kW @  3800rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
60W/kg
Bore & Stroke
91x96mm
Compression Ratio
17.6
Valve Gear
DUAL OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
5 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
REAR WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
2.929
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
DIESEL
Fuel Tank Capacity
75Litres
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
8.8L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
2084
Gross Vehicle Weight
5160Kg
Height
1935mm
Length
5125mm
Width
1920mm
Ground Clearance
190mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:1500  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11.2
Front Rim Size
6.5x16
Rear Rim Size
6.5x16
Front Tyres
215/70 R16
Rear Tyres
215/70 R16
Wheel Base
3200
Front Track
1685
Rear Track
1660
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Gas damper
Rear Suspension
Leaf spring, Gas damper
Standard Features
Comfort
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Traction Control System
Driver
Mobile Phone Connectivity, Power Steering
Entertainment
Radio CD with 4 Speakers
Exterior
Power Mirrors, Sliding Side Door
Interior
Cloth Trim, Power Windows Front
Safety
Dual Front Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Exterior
Barn Doors, Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
60 months /  160,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Pass Side Front Floor
Country of Origin
Korea