2008 Hyundai iMax Shuttle CRDi Review

$11,100 $13,200 Dealer
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2008 Hyundai H1 iMax Shuttle CRDi Review & Road Test

For the coin conscious buyer, iMax is a winner

Model Tested:

  • 2008 Hyundai H1 iMax Shuttle 2.5 litre turbo diesel manual - $39,990 (RRP)


  • Metallic Paint $350 (Fitted); Differential Lock $700

Strong & Flexible Engine, Acres of Space, Priced to Please Basic Interior, No Cruise Control or Rear Wiper

CarAdvice Rating: (3.75)

- by Matt Brogan

When your daily ride is a hyperactive sports bike the prospect of road testing an eight seat people mover can seem rather demoralising and somewhat daunting, especially if you attempt lane splitting, but fortunately the new Hyundai iMax is no slouch and despite its gargantuan proportions, is surprisingly easy to drive.

The first thing I noticed on approach to the iMax was just how much of the parking space it filled - all of it and then some - this was going to be an interesting week. Quite literally climbing the two steps in to the cabin, the height of the driver's seat and space surrounding you really does impress. This is one big beasty.

iMax Shuttle in 'Sleek Silver'

Measuring 5,125mm long (3,200mm wheelbase) by 1,920mm wide by 1,925mm high (watch basement car parks), you start to get an idea that this is some seriously large transport.

Not only can you carry a small army of real sized people comfortably, there's also more than enough room left over up back for their kit, something many people movers fail to take in to account.

It's a rather typical recipe as far as people movers go. Large box, four wheels, semi-bonneted front, but in saying that the iMax actually manages a bit of style, thanks in part to the moulded side panels which create an illusion of depth, especially over the wheel arches of what is an otherwise flat profile.

From the front a large grille and more upright stacked headlights add to the towering impression of height, and up back the incredibly large tailgate features slim, short vertical tail lights at either side with a small high level LED brake light across the top of the rear glass.

So being as large as it is, you might expect the usual run of subdued driving characteristics and meager performance. Pleasantly enough though, this just wasn't true.

The iMax actually drives quite well, it's no sports car, but it's far better than I would have expected, and with Hyundai aiming itself at the likes of VW's Multivan and Mercedes Benz's Vito, winning the drive is going to be a hard ask.

It's Hyundai's first foray in to the sector and a lot of competitors may have been caught napping by such an impressive first attempt. For the coin conscious buyer, iMax is a winner, and is sure to shake things up a bit in the large van category, a real win for those on a budget.

As diesels go, this one's a ripper. It's a little noisy under load but revs freely, has almost no turbo lag to speak of, and develops usable, linear pull until quite high in the rev range.

The 2.5 litre CRDi (Common Rail Diesel Injection) engine utilises twin overhead cams, four valves per cylinder and a variable geometry turbo charger to develop a respectable 125kW of power at 3,800 rpm, and a very healthy 392Nm of smooth, solid torque from just 2,000rpm.

Although the torque seems to fall off just as you reach that sweet point in the power band, a quick change of cogs will see you right back on pace. It pulls really well, even with the entire U12 Lacrosse team and their bags on deck, and manages an impressive 8.5 litres / 100km combined average.

The five-speed manual gearbox offers a tractable ratio spread, even if the linkages are slightly stiff, and a well weighted clutch with brilliant uptake makes the manual box easy enough to live with. Final drive (3.6:1) through the rear wheels can also be optioned with a differential lock for a few hundred dollars more.

The sixteen inch alloys look a little small proportionally, but there's enough rigidity in the tyre's sidewall to manage the small amount of lateral shift exhibited under sudden evasive manoeuvers. Personally, I don't think I'd want the tyre profile any lower as the ride offered and reduced risk of gutter strike outweigh any aesthetic gains offered.

Suspension is a rather traditional combination of MacPherson struts upfront and a multi-link (five) rear end with coil springs and gas shockers. Very capable braking comes compliments of hydraulic, power assisted four wheels discs with ABS, BAS (Brake Assist System) and EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution).

Hydraulic power steering offers decent feel, without working up a sweat and makes parking the giant a relatively simple task. Thankfully you also get standard rear parking sensors, though the lack of a rear wiper and washer can make things interesting in the wet should you actually like to see where you are reversing.

Again, were it my vehicle, I'd probably fit an after market reversing camera, just for safety's sake around the littlies.

On the safety front, in additional to the electronic nanny assisted braking, you're also offered ESP (Electronic Stability Control) with TCS (Traction Control System), Dual Front SRS Airbags, Three-Point Retractable Seat Belts on all seating positions, Side Impact Protection, Front and Rear Crash (Crumple) Zones and a reinforced four-ringed body with rigid cabin - all standard.

As far as creature comforts go, there's three rows of comfortable and flexible seating, reverse parking sensors, AM/FM Single CD Player, Front and Rear Air Conditioning with dual controls, tilt adjustable steering wheel, Front Fog Lamps, Power Windows (Front) and Mirrors, and Remote Central Locking with Engine Immobiliser and Alarm.

I'd like to have seen audio controls on the steering wheel, as the head unit is quite a reach away, as well as the addition of cruise control and for the park brake removed from the centre walkway and placed either against the door or mounted on the dash (perhaps even as an electronic set-up). Otherwise though, there's very little to whinge about.

In all the drive is very good by large van standards, the quality of fit and finish excellent for the price, and the level of safety offered is on par with the stalwarts of the sector. I can see large families, schools, and sporting groups flocking to the iMax in droves.

If you're after a reliable, large, value for money people mover with more than enough space, this is the one.

CarAdvice overall rating: (3.75)How does it drive: How does it look: How does it go:

  • Engine: 2497cc four-cylinder common rail turbo diesel
  • Power: 125kW @ 3,800rpm
  • Torque: 392Nm @ 2,000rpm
  • Transmission: Five-Speed Manual
  • Driven Wheels: Rear
  • Top speed: Not Tested
  • 0-100km/h: Not Tested
  • Fuel Consumption : 8.5 litres/100km (Combined)
  • Fuel Tank: 75 litres
  • Fuel Type: Diesel
  • NCAP rating: TBC
  • Towing Capacity: 2,000kg (Braked)
  • Turning Circle: 11.2 metres (3.5 turns lock-to-lock)
  • Safety: ABS, EBD, ESP, TCS, Dual Front Airbags
  • Spare Wheel: Full Size Alloy (Under Body)
  • Warranty: Five Years / Unlimited Kilometre
  • Weight: 2,249kg (Tare) - 837kg Payload
  • Wheels: Alloy 16" x 6.5"

Next fortnight we'll feature the commercial sibling to this vehicle, the iLoad.