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Us human beings like to put life in boxes – people, things and even personality types. Hyundai has created a car that looks like a box while reveling at the task of putting things within itself. The car? Their H1.

Hyundai’s H1, Bus, Multicab and Panel Van could be considered a functional rather than playful vehicle unless it’s filled with an unruly bunch of kids. Creative writing aside, the H1 has been designed to enjoy putting people, things and yes, even personality types into itself while carrying them around with aplomb.

By mere virtue of its function (to fit in as much as it can) indicates its form – a cube like car with a sloped profile which spearheads it forward with three rows of seats and a sizeable boot.

Recently refreshed after its original arrival in 2009; almost seven years on, the H1 continues to lead within its segment, selling over 11 000 units during that period. That’s a lot of H1 vans running around South African roads right there.

So why is the H1 the popular choice for South Africans and who has this car been designed for? Well, that would depend on your needs?  

The Bus can carry nine people and a fair amount of luggage with a weight of up to 1100 kg and can tow 1500 kg. Good for bigger families of three or more kids, mom, dad, dogs and all their paraphernalia. It is also great for hotels and shuttle companies or anyone intending on transporting groups of people in relative luxury.

The Multicab and Van variations of the H1, on the other hand, are workhorses, ideal for small to medium business that need a vehicle that is a size-up from a VW Caddy.

As mentioned above, the 2016 Hyundai H1 has been given a makeover. On the outside, it features a fresh front grille and bumper design and new 16-inch alloy rims. On the inside, there is a redesigned centre dashboard and instrument cluster while the Panel Van is still equipped with steel wheel rims. As part of the H1’s update are several new convenience and safety features that have also been added to the range-topping H-1 2.5 Turbodiesel 9-seater Bus. This includes:

  • Folding-type key,
  • Bluetooth connectivity for the sound system with multifunction controls on the steering wheel;
  • Cruise control with controls on the steering wheel;
  • Full automatic air conditioner with climate control;
  • Glove box cooling;
  • A side airbag;
  • Leather steering wheel and gear knob covers;
  • An electric folding mirror;
  • An Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) for the turbodiesel derivative; and
  • Jam protection and auto down function for the driver side window.

These interior changes though not revolutionary remain modern and add a dash of class to the H1.

On the road, the H1 is driven by either a 2.5l turbodiesel engine (124 kW/441 N.m) which is paired with a 5-speed automatic gearbox or alternatively a 2.4l (125 kW/224 N.m) petrol engine that partners with a 5-speed manual. I reviewed the preferred diesel that offers a good spread of power through its rev range and is well mated with the automatic gearbox.


Seating is high, with a small step-up offered when the doors are open, the advantage gives the driver and passengers a bird's eye view of the road and sights around them. On the go, the H1 is quiet and easy to drive all though its size does take some getting used too.

On the inside, the seats are clad in faux perforated leather, better known as leatherette. This makes for easy cleaning and a nice touch to the three rows which can be had in either dove grey or peanut butter beige.



  • Value for money
  • Nice mating of engine and gearbox in the diesel model
  • Versatile
  • Economical
  • Comfortable



  • Lackluster
  • Has little road appeal – looks more business than pleasure



H-1 2.5 Turbodiesel 9-seater Bus (auto) R579 900             

H-1 2.4  Petrol 9-seater Bus (manual) R482 900   

H-1 2.5  Turbodiesel 6-seater Multicab R492 900

H-1 2.5  Turbodiesel 3-seater Panel Van  R441 900                             



Warranty and Service

Pricing includes Hyundai’s 5-year/15000 km warranty and roadside assistance plan, as well as a 5-year/90 000 km service plan.


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