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Hyundai iMax diesel auto 2012 review

Externally and internally, the iMax stays true to its calling – it’s a people mover that’s great for moving people - go figure.

My friends had spent barely minutes inspecting the massive Hyundai iMax before one decided “Now this is what you take when you go camping.” “No,” another disagreed. ”This is what you camp in when you go camping”.

While that may be a bit of a stretch, the eight seater iMax’s carrying capacity certainly makes up for any of its other drawbacks. This barge-like beast isn’t the vehicle in which to nip down to the café strip for lunch, but if you want to transport large – or extended -- families, the iMax can accommodate without a whimper.


The girth of this landbound passenger ship may seem intimidating – especially when you think about having to dock it. But if you need to cart extra people around, the iMax has the space and seats. Externally the van looks massive and there’s no disguising that, though the chrome radiator grille and tinted glass are a nice touch at dressing up the large body.

Internally passengers in back are well cared for. Access to the back via two sliding doors and a sliding second row, sufficient legroom, cup holders, and roof-mounted adjustable air vents keep everyone happy. The second row seats are reversed, with the single seat on the driver side instead of the passenger, but with two doors, you can still get passengers in from the safety of the curb. 

A well-appointed dash, and wheel mounted volume controls lets the driver man the helm of cabin comfort. While the iMax is smooth sailing for transporting people, if you’re looking for a van to move precious cargo, you may want to look elsewhere. The seats don’t fold flat, and we couldn’t figure out why, as allowing them to would open the iMax to those seeking a van to move larger freight.

The eight-seater could suit a large family on tour, but the height, width and bulk would keep this from being a practical, every day family van. The iMax leans more toward the commercial and small business buyer, rather than the family.

Price and equipment

The eight seater, automatic iMax diesel we tested is priced from $42,490 (a diesel, six-speed manual, and a petrol four-speed automatic are also available). That price tag gives you dual sliding doors, 16-in alloy wheels, USB audio input with iPod compatibility, Bluetooth, reverse sensing warning system, wheel mounted audio controls, dual zone air conditioning with pollen filter, roof-mounted air vents for passengers in back, and a boatload of luggage space with a cargo capacity of 842L.


The four cylinder, five-speed automatic, 2.5-litre CRDi diesel iMax, has 125kW/441Nm, strong enough torque to cart around eight people and their luggage without much whingeing. Our drive around greater Sydney, including a couple heavy trips to the airport, found 13.0L/100km, though the official figure is 9.0L/100km.


The iMax’s semi-bonnet design aids in crash protection and the four-channel, four-sensor ABS tries to keep you from needing it. The iMax gets a four-star ANCAP safety rating, with dual front SRS airbags, four-ring body structure with reinforced cross members and floor panels, and impact intrusion bars built into the front doors. Anti-lock brakes with electronic aids, stability and traction plus child safety door locks on sliding doors and child seat anchor points on second row seats all lend a hand in keeping you from harm.


You don’t feel the size or weight of the vehicle through the steering wheel, and the turning circle is surprisingly smaller than you expect. The iMax has rear-wheel drive and though there is significant body roll on turns, it’s less noticeable when you have a full load, and the MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension keep guests from getting jostled. The driver’s seat is comfortable and the height of the vehicle (1925mm) will give you a clear view over traffic, but good luck trying to fit inside low parking garages.

When you do find a good spot, the reverse sensing warning system is indispensible, as without it, the length of the vehicle would require a telescope – possible the deep space Hubble -- to help you park. The iMax is a limited function van; but as long as you’re not moving large cargo that’s okay. Externally and internally, the iMax stays true to its calling – it’s a people mover that’s great for moving people - go figure.


Hyundai’s diesel, automatic iMax shies from carrying large cargo, but for transporting people and luggage the iMax ticks all the boxes.

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Range and Specs

(base) 2.4L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $9,600 – 14,520 2012 Hyundai iMAX 2012 (base) Pricing and Specs
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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.