Hyundai iLoad Ambleside
The best way to describe the iLoad’s styling is ‘bold’. It shares its shape with the eight-seat i800, but in crew-cab van form the rear most side windows are replaced with solid body panels and a robust bulkhead separates the cabin from the huge load area. The result is an even more van-like look on the outside, but this arguably improves the Hyundai’s image. Where the i800 looks too much like a mini-bus for many buyers, the Crew Van has a more utilitarian, outdoors image. Go for the top of the range model and alloy wheels add to the appearance of a van designed to do more than just carry a tradesman’s tools.
Practicality is what the iLoad is all about. A significant drawback of the standard i800 is its lack of folding seats on any of its three rows. It’s hard to believe any people carrier could do without this flexibility, but to add insult to injury the chairs aren’t removable without a socket set, either. That’s why many buyers could be better off with the iLoad in Crew Cab form. It makes do with five seats, yet the self-contained luggage space behind the cabin is huge. Big sliding doors provide easy access to the three person bench on the second row, while up front there’s room for two more passengers and a big captain’s chair for the driver.
It’s a mixed bag of results for the iLoad out on the road. Perhaps most importantly, it’s impressively comfortable. Even without heavy luggage on board to weigh it down, the Hyundai manages to avoid the sickness inducing rise and fall that affects the suspension of other vans over rough surfaces, and you won’t get any complaints about comfort from those in the rear. The iLoad’s biggest weakness is its steering. The vague feel at the wheel gives you little confidence in its (actually surprisingly capable) cornering abilities, and also make placing the long, wide van on a narrow road quite tricky.
Feeding power to the rear wheels, the iLoad comes with a 114bhp 2.5-litre turbo diesel engine. With a substantial 2,171kg of weight to shift before you add any passengers or luggage, many buyers will be glad of a £1,000 power upgrade which increases the output to the same 170bhp as the i800. Go for this model and you’ll enjoy decent performance, while the dashmounted gearlever has a satisfying shift action.
For businesses buying the iLoad as a commercial vehicle, it’s available for as little as £12,995. However, as a private buyer you will have to pay VAT, making the entry level Crew Van model weigh in at £17,934 – a £2,300 premium over the standard panel van. There’s another £1,150 to pay for the power upgrade pack, which also adds alloy wheels and ESP to the list of standard equipment. Given the iLoad’s weight, it’s unlikely to average more than around 35mpg in varied driving, but servicing and maintenance should be good value.
Most of the iLoad’s car-based people carrier rivals will use less fuel and have lower emissions as a result. However, you have to look at what the big Hyundai is capable of. If you intend to make good use of the iLoad’s capacity and cabin its emissions are easier to justify.
Our choice: Crew van with power upgrade