Hyundai iLoad: watch it in the wet


What is it?

It’s the semi-passenger version of a light commercial van, or a half-done version of a passenger-oriented van called iMax.

There is a 2+1 seat up front, a 3 seat bench in the middle, a cargo barrier, and plenty of cargo space behind.

Power comes from a 2.5-litre diesel and in the test vehicle a 5-speed auto puts grunt to the ground.

Peak torque is 441Nm, but that peak torque is available in an incredibly narrow torque band — it starts at 2000rpm and finishes at 2250rpm — but in no way is there a lack of urge below that point.

Peak power, for what it’s worth, is 125kW with the auto.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 8.8L/100km.

iLoad comes in a petrol and diesel (cargo only) liftback, Crew van liftback, and the Twin Swing (barn doors).

These are fitted to both the Crew van and fully cargo oriented versions.

The petrol and diesel engines come with manual and auto, but not for the Twin Swing barn-door version.


What’s it cost?

In plain white as tested the iLoad Crew van liftback is near as dammit $48,000. There are only two other paint colours available, Hyper Metallic Silver and Timeless Black — tey’re a $695 option.

Inside is a basic looking but functional interior of grey plastics and a grey oriented cloth for the seats. It’s a bit dowdy for a semi-passenger oriented vehicle.

The front seats have a 2+1 configuration with the centre section having a fold down seat back. This doubles as a tray and cup holder. The rear row seats are fixed and totally non-adjustable.

Between the passenger and cargo section is a fairly well fixed barrier. The cargo section itself, 2215 litres in capacity, is prelined with protective sheets, and has six cargo tie-down points.

The dash has an upper and lower glovebox, the centre console has a couple of smaller storage nooks. The gear selector is in the lower right centre of the dash and is enabled for manual shifting.

For the driver there is a set of fully analogue dials with a small basic digital info screen that doesn’t show L/100km. It does however show trip meter, odometer, and expected range.

A smallish looking 7.0-inch touchscreen houses AM/FM, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It sits in an ergonomically clean housing, and above a quick to warm up air conditioning system.

Safety systems are basic too. Naturally there are the mandated traction systems, reverse camera, and front airbags — but that’s it. There are no park sensors or assist, no blind spot or rear traffic alerts, no collision avoidance.

Outside it’s a box with a bonnet. Now in its second iteration, the front has a cleaner look. Think Kia Carnival and you’d be close. Rectangular, not ovoid, headlights, a bonnet line that draws together the top of the grille and bottom of the headlights finishes the front.

The test vehicle came with a nudge bar and LED light bar. The rear looks largely unchanged from before.


What’s it go like?

It goes really well. However, the tyres fitted to this van, Kumho 215/70/16s, didn’t enjoy the damp and wet weather during the test period. 

Wrapping black painted alloys (steel wheels are standard) the tyres spin easily with minimal throttle input. From a standing start, or climbing a winding mountain set of curves, the traction control gets a workout.

The rear suspension is cargo-van taut, the front end slightly softer. The rear will bang-crash over irregularities and speed bumps, the front end will be more tolerant. 

Steering is responsive to a fault. The slightest left or right movement has the wheels move in unison but the ratio holds it back. A full 90 degrees of travel doesn’t move the wheels much more. This means at legal speeds on some corners, the nose pushes well wide. Ease off the accelerator, a gentle dab of the very good brakes, and the nose tucks back in nicely.

On road performance was wonderful.  When traction wasn’t an issue, acceleration was decently enjoyable, and grip levels meant more sure-footed handling. The 5-speed auto is geared so the van sits at 1800rpm at 100km/h, and 2000rpm at 110km/h, with plenty of torque available for a relaxed, stress-free drivetrain.

The transmission itself is a dream. Unbelieveably smooth and smart enough to be eactly where it needs to be — it was a pure joy.

However, being a van, road noise is a more than minor problem, with drumming, and squeaking from the barrier.


What we like?

  • Flexibility of the interior
  • Flexibility of the engine and transmission
  • Dry weather road manners


What we don’t like?

  • Wet weather road manners
  • Road noise
  • Crew van could have a little more interior visual pizzazz.


The bottom line?

As a practical people mover with plenty of cargo space, the iLoad Crew Van does the job admirably. 

It’s a very good dry weather drive, but not so confident in the wet. There’s a flexible engine and transmission to enjoy in contrast.

However the basic safety features, and somewhat monotone interior colours lose it points — but one has to bear in mind that iLoad is a light commercial vehicle.

As a semi-passenger vehicle it brings human transport back to basics. And that’s not always a bad thing.


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Hyundai iLoad Crew Van, priced from $40,790
  • Looks - 7/10
  • Performance - 7/10
  • Safety - 6/10
  • Thirst - 7.5/10
  • Practicality - 8.5/10
  • Comfort - 7/10
  • Tech - 7/10
  • Value - 7.5/10

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