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Hyundai iMax 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
6
Hyundai sticks with the people-mover formula of practicality and competitive price. Prettiness, not so much. You might have trouble spotting the difference but Hyundai has upgraded its long-serving iMax people-mover. It's nothing fancy but the van is popular among large families — it's relatively cheap, has

Hyundai sticks with the people-mover formula of practicality and competitive price. Prettiness, not so much.

You might have trouble spotting the difference but Hyundai has upgraded its long-serving iMax people-mover.

It's nothing fancy but the van is popular among large families — it's relatively cheap, has seating for up to eight people and plenty of luggage space too.

There are petrol and turbo diesel options and manual and automatic transmissionsThe diesel is the pick because it will cope with a load better and will be much thriftier on fuel.

Design

You'll need to look closely to pick the new one from its precedessor, released in 2008. The grille differs slightly, it's colour-coded to the body work and has a chrome dress strip.

Larger foglights are inset below the front bumper while the roof-mounted aerial has been moved from above the cabin to the rear.

The optional tailgate, or "liftback rear door", has a chromed scuff plate on the lip.

There are new 16-inch alloys and power folding mirrors.

It's a big vehicle and this can pose problems navigating tight city streets. 

The essentials are there but it lacks the ambience and certainly the bells and whistles of a dedicated people-mover. Those who find the iMax a bit utilitarian for their taste can check the Honda Odyssey or Kia Carnival, although the former lacks a diesel option.

Seating is a 2-3-3 layout, with individual front seats and a 60-40 split-folding second row. The narrower folding second row seat is on the driver's side, nearer the traffic — but should be on the passenger side for more convenient entry.

The cloth trimmed seats are reasonably comfortable with space between the seats to walk through to the rear.

Getting in is a step up and a grab handle is provided for the driver but not for the passenger. The driver's seat is height adjustable but the steering wheel lacks reach adjustment.

Pride of place in the centre of the dash is a new seven-inch touchscreen. There is no satnav option.

Bluetooth enables voice control of various functions. You need to touch the screen to answer a call because there are no phone buttons on the steering wheel.

The previous model got four stars for safety. ANCAP has yet to rate the latest model.

About town

It's a big vehicle and this can pose problems navigating tight city streets. The key is to take it slow, checking for traffic and obstacles before moving off or reversing and using the accelerator judiciously.

Once you get the hang of it, it's kinda fun to drive.

The high driving position and abundance of windows combine to provide ample outward vision, better even than an SUV because of the straight body lines.

A rear-view camera is now standard and in tandem with rear parking sensors helps with parking.

Based on the iLoad van, the people-mover looks and feels commercial but it responds well to the throttle — there is abundant torque to get it off the line and it has no trouble keeping up with the traffic.

There are no rear airbags and there is a noticeable absence of other hi-tech items such as auto braking and blind spot alert.

On the road

Once you get the hang of it, it's kinda fun to drive. Other drivers defere to such a large vehicle and it cruises easily with the engine ticking over at about 1600rpm.

Normally the suspension on such vehicles is hard and unforgiving, without a full complement of passengers. Not so with the iMax, which has a composed, compliant ride — even with just one occupant.

Rear-wheel drive means the iMax has an excellent turning circle and sharper steering because the front wheels don't have to do all the work, as in a forward control van.

In the absence of the in-dash device to show its thirst the driver will have to do his sums at refill time.

Take note you're not sitting directly above the wheels either, which means you don't have to compensate for their location in tight turns - but you need to remain aware of the vehicle's length.

Road and tyre noise tend to be amplified in the voluminous passenger area but this lessens with a few seats in use.

Fuel economy is rated at 9.0L/100km. There is no real trip computer, just A and B trip meters, so in the absence of the in-dash device to show its thirst the driver will have to do his sums at refill time.

Access to the engine to check the oil and water is via the short, high-mounted bonnet — there's no longer the need to lift the front seat.

Hyundai says it will upgrade soon to Apple CarPlay soon so families will be able to plug in the iPhone and see Apple Maps on the screen. Android Auto is expected to follow in the second half of this year. The free upgrade will take about five minutes when you drop your vehicle off for a service. It's not the same as having a map to show posted speed limits and warnings for speed cameras.

Verdict

For buyers it will be more about price and practicality than the safety rating. If you need to carry a tribe and you're not loaded, this might fit the bill among limited choices.

What it's got

Alloy wheels, cruise control, rear-view camera and rear park sensors. Four airbags for front passengers. Seven-inch touchscreen. Climate control aircon with second and third row controls. Bluetooth with Siri Eyes Free (iOS) and Google Now (Android) voice activation.

What it hasn't

Hi-tech safety features such as auto braking and blind spot alert. No airbags for rows two and three. Lacks satnav and phone control buttons on wheel. Steering wheel adjusts for rake only. No grab handle for front passenger entry.

Ownership

Warranty is among the best in the business: five years/unlimited km. Service interval is 12 months/15,000km. Fixed price service for life of vehicle. Roadside Assist for 12 months plus Roadside Support Plan for up to 10 years.

 

Would you consider an iMax over its rivals: the Stavic, Carnival or Caravelle? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Click here to see more Hyundai iMax pricing and spec info.

Pricing guides

$28,988
Based on 60 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$20,464
Highest Price
$39,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 2.4L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $15,300 – 21,560 2016 Hyundai IMAX 2016 (base) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
6
Pricing Guide

$20,464

Lowest price, based on 59 car listings in the last 6 months

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Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.