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Hyundai iLoad 2018 review

Matt Campbell
Senior Editor

24 Aug 2018 • 19 min read

Daily driver score

3.7/5

Tradies score

3.7/5

The Hyundai iLoad 2018 model isn’t all-new. You just need to take a look at anything from the bonnet back to realise that. (Oh, and be familiar with what the previous iLoad looked like, obviously.)

In fact, this generation of iLoad has been on sale since 2008 - yes, an entire decade - and this is the first significant update or facelift. If you can call it significant, that is - because not a whole lot has changed apart from the look.   

But sometimes a quick nip and tuck is all that’s required to boost interest in a model, and this update is sure to add to the appeal of what is already one of the most popular mid-size vans in the segment.

Let’s take a deeper dive into what has changed with this facelifted Hyundai iLoad van, look at what has stayed the same, and figure out whether the updated model can still fight for honours in the competitive 2.5-3.5-tonne GVM van segment, where it competes against the stalwart Toyota HiAce, as well as the Ford Transit Custom, Renault Trafic, Volkswagen Transporter and LDV G10

Is there anything interesting about its design?

This is the most significant update of the iLoad to date - the new front-end design brings it more into line with current Hyundai passenger-car models. It still looks at odds with, say, a Santa Fe or even an i30, but it’s an improvement on the existing version, which was looking out of place in showrooms.

The boxy front-end styling carries Hyundai’s ‘cascading’ grille in black plastic with a chrome lining on iLoad models, and of course there is a new front bumper, and new squarer headlights, which are now auto-dusk sensing, but still only have halogen bulbs.

The squarer headlights are now auto-dusk sensing. (image credit: Matt Campbell) The squarer headlights are now auto-dusk sensing. (image credit: Matt Campbell)

The iMax people-mover van, which is based on the iLoad, gets a full chrome grille and a more attractive front bumper treatment - we imagine some posh plumbers might want to consider trying to source those parts to add a bit more flair to their work vans.

From the back edges of the headlights, nothing else has changed with the iLoad’s appearance. It still has the same shape, the same easy-to-grab handles, the same tail-lights and the same 16-inch steel wheels. 

Every iLoad comes with dual sliding side doors, making loading easy no matter whether you’re parked kerbside or in a loading bay, or a driveway - some vans only come with a single kerbside door as standard, with the onus on buyers to option a driver’s side slider at extra cost.

Every iLoad comes with dual sliding side doors. (image credit: Matt Campbell) Every iLoad comes with dual sliding side doors. (image credit: Matt Campbell)

For the iLoad there’s the choice of the standard-fit tailgate, or a pair of “twin swing” barn doors (which adds $550) - but if you option those you have to forego a reversing camera. How a brand like Hyundai can’t work around that in 2018 beggars belief. 

As for colours, the iLoad only comes with three choices - 'Creamy White' (no cost) 'Hyper Metallic Grey' and 'Timeless Black' (both $695). Other vans have many more options to choose from: the Renault Trafic, for instance, has the choice of brown, blue, red and green; the Ford Transit Custom, however, takes the cake - there are more than 100 colour options (including silver, purple, pink, aqua and orange) available through the brand’s Special Vehicle operations team.

How practical is the space inside?

For all its big exterior dimensions, the iLoad doesn’t have the biggest internal load space. It’s one of the largest vans in the class on the outside, and it only comes in one size - competitor models have short- and long-wheelbase variants, and the VW T6 Transporter has multiple roof heights available, too. 

At 5150mm long, 1920mm wide and 1950mm tall, Hyundai’s one-size-fits-all van is essentially competing against LWB rivals, yet it can’t match them for cargo capacity.  

The standard van has a 4426-litre cargo capacity, or 4.4m3, which is down significantly on some rivals (Toyota HiAce: 6.0m3). The load-area dimensions measure 2375mm in length, with a cargo bay width of 1620mm and 1272mm between the arches, and a height of 1340mm. 

The standard van has a 4426-litre cargo capacity. (image credit: Matt Campbell) The standard van has a 4426-litre cargo capacity. (image credit: Matt Campbell)

If required, there’s the choice of a Crew Van six-seat variant, too. In that version, back-row occupants get windows on each of the side sliding doors, but there’s a price to pay in terms of usability: the cargo area loses almost 2.0m3 of space (volume with six seats: 2511 litres; with three seats: 4426L). You also get fewer tie-down points (six vs 10 in the standard van). And the overall cargo length drops from 2375mm to 1585mm in the Crew Van. 

The iLoad is also a bit of a chunk in terms of kerb weight - the lightest example is 1934kg, and the heaviest 2054kg. But the gross vehicle mass (GVM) is strong, at 3160kg for the regular van and 3230kg for the Crew Van model.

The gross combined mass (GCM) of each of the variants is as follows: manual van - 5160kg; auto van - 4660kg; manual Crew Van - 5230kg; auto Crew Van - 4730kg. 

And the payload for each variant: manual van - 1113kg; auto van - 1098kg; manual Crew Van - 1111kg; auto Crew Van - 1096kg. 

We tested out the usability of the rear liftback tailgate when loading in a 750kg pallet of ballast, and found that the opening was fine if the load was stepped in using something like the Crown SHR Series walkie reach stacker - as our mates at Crown Equipment showed us. Obviously if you’re planning to fork loads in all the time, barn doors would be much better, as then there’s no forklift mast height clearance issues to be concerned with.

  • The opening was fine if the load was stepped in using something like the Crown SHR Series walkie reach stacker. (image credit: Matt Campbell) The opening was fine if the load was stepped in using something like the Crown SHR Series walkie reach stacker. (image credit: Matt Campbell)
  • We tested out the usability of the rear liftback tailgate when loading in a 750kg pallet of ballast. (image credit: Matt Campbell) We tested out the usability of the rear liftback tailgate when loading in a 750kg pallet of ballast. (image credit: Matt Campbell)
  • If you’re planning to fork loads in all the time, barn doors would be much better. (image credit: Matt Campbell) If you’re planning to fork loads in all the time, barn doors would be much better. (image credit: Matt Campbell)
  • The iLoad can cop two standard Aussie pallets in tandem when rear loading. (image credit: Matt Campbell) The iLoad can cop two standard Aussie pallets in tandem when rear loading. (image credit: Matt Campbell)

The side openings are too narrow to side-load a pallet, but the iLoad can cop two standard Aussie pallets (1160mm x 1160mm) in tandem when rear loading. That means you’ll be limited to hand-loading or unloading through the side doors. 

The front cabin space has seen minimal change. 

There’s a 7.0-inch touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and USB connectivity, but there is no built-in sat nav, and no DAB digital radio, either. It’s a very simple multimedia system to use - it’s just a shame there’s nowhere decent to store your phone - I guess a cradle is a worthwhile investment.

There’s a 7.0-inch touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (image credit: Matt Campbell) There’s a 7.0-inch touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (image credit: Matt Campbell)

The iLoad has big door pockets, and there’s a pair of cupholders that flip out in front of the middle seat (which makes them useless if you have a middle occupant, but if you don’t, the middle seat-back folds down to reveal a couple of more cup holders and a bigger storage tray), plus there’s a small coin cubby in the lower dash, and a dished storage box on top of the dash. The twin glove boxes are also handy. 

The steering wheel now adjusts for rake and reach, which makes getting comfortable a bit easier for oddly shaped humans.

The driver’s seat, sadly, isn’t that comfortable. The base is flat and hard, and while the back rest offers reasonable support, the lack of an arm-rest for the driver could be annoying after a long day on the road. My bum hurt after four hours at the wheel.

Three across isn’t something you’d want to subject a friend to, especially considering that while competitors have a proper lap-sash middle belt, the iLoad has a lap-only belt. Not good enough, Hyundai.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

The Hyundai iLoad range isn’t the most affordable in the segment, but it does undercut some of the competition. 

List pricing (before on-road costs, also known as RRP or MLRP) for the iLoad range starts at $38,790 for the manual model, and $41,790 for the auto. Those prices are for the model with the liftback tailgate, with a three-seat layout.

If you need barn doors at the rear, then you’ll be paying $39,340 for the manual Twin Swing model, as Hyundai calls it, and $42,340 for the auto.

The six-seat iLoad Crew Van adds $2000 over the respective models listed above.

Standard equipment for iLoad models include that 7.0-inch touchscreen media system, auto headlights, dual sliding side doors, air-conditioning, steering wheel audio controls, revised cloth seat trim, power windows and mirrors, and a reversing camera.

Inside the iLoad you'll find a 7.0-inch touchscreen media system, steering wheel audio controls, revised cloth seat trim, plus power windows and mirrors. (image credit: Matt Campbell) Inside the iLoad you'll find a 7.0-inch touchscreen media system, steering wheel audio controls, revised cloth seat trim, plus power windows and mirrors. (image credit: Matt Campbell)

There are some shortcomings here. The manual versions don’t come with cruise control, for instance, but auto models do. And while the auto dusk-sensing halogen headlights are fine, there are no daytime running lights, and no auto wipers. You won’t find an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, no model has GPS satellite navigation, and you need to pay for rear parking sensors to be fitted at the dealership. 

Leather seats? Heated seats? A heated steering wheel? Dual-zone climate control? They’re all in the ‘no’ column.

As for accessories, the iLoad can be had with a range of additional gear. Ours had a mesh cargo barrier and tow bar, but other options include roof racks, a full technician pack (with ladder holders, conduit holder and more), a wooden floor for couriers, 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear step, floor mats (carpet or rubber) and a roof pod (395L)

If you’re after a nudge bar or bullbar, you will need to shop the aftermarket. But they’re out there.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

The 2.5-litre four-cylinder CRDi common-rail diesel turbocharged engine remains the sole drivetrain on offer in the updated iLoad range, and it is available with the choice of a six-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic.

The power outputs of the single-turbo diesel engine vary depending on the transmission. The six-speed manual model has 100kW of power (at 3800rpm) and 343Nm of torque (from 1500-2500rpm). The auto transmission ups the outputs to 125kW (at 3600rpm) and 441Nm of torque across a narrower band (2000-2250rpm).

Connected to the auto transmission, the turbo diesel engine produces 125kW/441Nm. (image credit: Matt Campbell) Connected to the auto transmission, the turbo diesel engine produces 125kW/441Nm. (image credit: Matt Campbell)

The diesel drivetrain is Euro 5, meaning there is a diesel particulate filter, but no AdBlue tank - which adds up to a bit less additional effort and a lower cost of ownership. 

Unlike a couple of its main competitors, which are front-wheel drive (FWD) the iLoad is rear-wheel drive (RWD). There is no four-wheel drive (4WD) or all-wheel-drive (AWD) model available. 

There is no petrol drivetrain option, and nor is there an LPG version.

How much fuel does it consume?

The claimed fuel-economy rating for the iLoad also varies depending on the drivetrain. If you choose the manual, the claimed consumption is rated at 7.6 litres per 100 kilometres (or 13.2 km/L), while the automatic model claims a thirstier 8.8L/100km (11.4km/L).

On test, where we drove across a mix of highway, back roads, urban and city areas, with and without a load on board, we saw an average consumption of 10.4L/100km (9.6km/L) measured at the pump. There’s no way to tell you if that was on par with the trip computer, because - perplexingly - Hyundai still doesn’t have a fuel-use readout on the driver’s digital information screen. 

What's it like to drive?

While it mightn’t be the most technologically advanced, or the best equipped, or the nicest to look at, the Hyundai iLoad is still decent to drive.

Most mid-sized vans are pretty good, I have to say, but the iLoad is well sorted - whether you’re running around with a load in the back, or hitting the highway empty. I did both during my time in the vehicle, and was impressed by its general comfort and compliance - and bear in mind, Hyundai Australia doesn’t consider it necessary to fettle the suspension and steering of the iLoad and iMax models for local tastes, as it does with every other vehicle in its range. 

The drivetrain felt completely unbothered by the weight when we loaded in 750kg over the rear axle, and the five-speed automatic transmission was very smart in its shifts - relying on the engine’s torque where suitable, and smoothly making its way through the ratios as speed increased or decreased.

The drivetrain felt completely unbothered by the weight when we loaded in 750kg over the rear axle. (image credit: Matt Campbell) The drivetrain felt completely unbothered by the weight when we loaded in 750kg over the rear axle. (image credit: Matt Campbell)

The engine isn’t a thumper, but it revs smoothly and has good response across the sweet spot of the rev range (2000-2250rpm). There’s a mild amount of turbo lag from a standstill, but it’s easy to contend with, and the throttle response is just about perfect. 

There was a bit of low-speed suspension noise, and it was a little bit sharp over speedhumps, taking about three bounces to finally settle at the rear. But driving loaded at higher speeds, it rolled over bumps pretty well and maintained good composure through direction changes. Unladen, the ride is a little less settled, but never to the point of annoyance. 

The steering was definitely affected by weight in the rear, but in a good way - it wasn’t as light as it was when unladen (it can be a little bit light on centre and twitchy to adjust when you have absolutely no weight in the rear). 

The rubber floor of our test vehicle is standard, and the 10 load hooks are well placed on the floor. Our load did move a little on a steep descending driveway under brakes. 

On brake response, it was decent but not exceptional in both loaded and unloaded driving. We did note the traction control could kick in around off-camber corners at low speeds, and it really cuts into acceleration response as a result.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

The iLoad scored a four-star ANCAP crash rating back in 2011 - so, hardly worthy of applause, especially considering the crash-test criteria was a lot more lax back then. Strangely, ANCAP lists that rating as still valid for models sold from July 2017, despite the fact that safety technology has moved on. A lot. 

Competitor brands Mercedes-Benz and Ford have lifted the game in terms of mid-sized van safety, with advanced electronic safety gear offered as options (very affordably in the Ford, not so much in the Benz).

In the iLoad, however, there is no advanced safety tech on offer - you can’t get auto emergency braking (AEB) or forward-collision warning or pedestrian protections, and systems such as lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are out of the question, too. All of that stuff (and more!) is in the Ford pack, at a cost of just $1600.

The iLoad only comes with a reversing camera on models with a liftback tailgate, and you can’t get one fitted to the iLoad with barn doors by Hyundai (an auto electrician should be able to do this, though). Now, that isn’t unusual in the segment, but it should be considered.

The iLoad has dual front and front side airbag protection, but there is no airbag protection for rear-seat occupants in Crew Van models because there are no curtain airbags fitted. 

And get this - Hyundai still has a lap-only seatbelt in the middle position, whether you choose the regular van or the Crew Van. 

Where is the Hyundai iLoad made? Korea is the answer.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

On the surface the Hyundai ownership plan looks solid, but there are some elements that could be better.

The warranty offered is a five-year/160,000 kilometre program. That’s good, but not as good as Hyundai passenger vehicles (five years/unlimited km). It used to be a bit of a benchmark for the segment, but has been bettered by Ford and Renault, both of which have five-year/unlimited-km coverage. But Toyota, Mercedes and Volkswagen all have lesser, three-year warranty plans. 

Hyundai also has a “lifetime service plan”, which allows customers to know what it will cost for maintenance at each scheduled service. The intervals are every 12 months/15,000km, which is fine - but some competitors have longer intervals, so if you do a lot of driving, you may wish to take that on board.

For instance, both Ford and Renault have 12 month/30,000km service intervals: Ford’s cover is life-long (average annual cost over the five years/150,000km: $486); Renault’s plan only covers three years/90,000km, at a cost of $599 per visit.

Hyundai quotes $356, $356, $365, $506, and $356 over the first five years/75,000km. That may look fine at a glance - especially considering you don’t have to get it serviced every six months/10,000km like a Toyota HiAce. 

But let’s say you travel 30,000km per year - and many tradies do - then the iLoad starts to look pretty expensive against some of its competitors. For instance, if you cover 90,000km in three years, you’ll pay $2449 in servicing for the iLoad - but you’d only be paying $1430 for the Ford and $1797 for the Renault … and you’d be visiting the dealership less often in both instances, too. 

Hyundai offers the option to pre-pay your servicing for between three and five years. If you consider the five-year plan costs $1930, and the sum of the services above is $1939, there’s not much point unless you want to roll the cost into a lease or finance plan to lessen the impact at service time.

Be sure to check out our Hyundai iLoad problems page to get an idea of any potential issues, complaints, concerns or recalls.

The facelifted Hyundai iLoad 2018 model will help keep the brand competitive in the mid-size van segment, but ultra impressive competitors like the Ford Transit Custom are pushing the game forward in terms of safety, refinement and ownership.

The iLoad is undoubtedly more appealing to drive than a Toyota HiAce, but even after this mid-life update it falls short of the best in the class in multiple ways. It’s not a bad van by any stretch of the imagination, and if you get a good deal on one, you could be perfectly happy. But maybe take a look at what else your money could buy, before signing on the dotted line. 

Do you think the 2018 Hyundai iLoad is a good option in the van segment? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

$37,950 - $44,660

Based on third party pricing data

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

3.7/5

Tradies score

3.7/5