Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

Hyundai iLoad 2020 review

We recently spent a week with the iLoad, to find out why this venerable Korean workhorse maintains its popularity in a mid-size van market packed with hungry competitors. (image: Mark Oastler)

Daily driver score

4/5

Tradies score

4/5

The current generation iLoad was launched in 2008. With only minor upgrades during its first decade on sale, it was recently given its first facelift with a new grille design plus new comfort and convenience features.

These updates don't change the fact that the iLoad is now stretching beyond the usual 10-year generational lifespan for LCV models, yet it continues to generate strong sales in a softening market.

It currently commands more than 23 per cent of the mid-size (2.5 to 3.5 tonne) commercial van segment, topped only by Toyota's dominant HiAce with a 33 per cent market share. The closest competitor behind the iLoad is Ford's Transit Custom with only 11 per cent.

We recently spent a week with the iLoad, to find out why this venerable Korean workhorse maintains its popularity in a mid-size van market packed with hungry competitors.

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

Our iLoad test vehicle, with single-lift tailgate, 2.5 litre turbo-diesel engine and optional five-speed automatic transmission has a list price of $41,790, which compares favourably with Toyota HiAce ($44,140) and Ford Transit Custom ($43,790) equivalents.

The recent upgrades brought not only the new grille design but also automatic dusk-sensing headlights, tilt-and-reach adjustable steering wheel and a new design instrument cluster with trip computer. There's also an updated infotainment system (first featured in Kona) featuring a 7.0-inch touchscreen and multiple connectivity including Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The iLoad rolls on 16-inch steel wheels with 215/70R16C tyres and a full-size spare. (image: Mark Oastler) The iLoad rolls on 16-inch steel wheels with 215/70R16C tyres and a full-size spare. (image: Mark Oastler)

Other useful features are a rear-view camera (tailgate models only), power windows with one-touch auto down, height adjustable driver's seat and cruise control (auto variants only). The iLoad rolls on 16-inch steel wheels with 215/70R16C tyres and a full-size spare.

It's also available with a six-speed manual transmission, plus there's a choice of three-seat single cab or six-seat crew cab. Both cabin variants offer a choice of single-lift tailgate or forklift-friendly twin barn-doors with 180-degree opening, plus there's numerous genuine accessories available including the steel-mesh cargo barrier fitted to our test vehicle.

Is there anything interesting about its design?

The iLoad is 5150mm long, 1920mm wide and 1935mm high with a 3200mm wheelbase. That height means it can access underground and multi-storey carparks, in which it's also easy to manoeuvre with a relatively compact 11.22-metre turning circle.

No doubt a big factor in the rear-wheel drive iLoad's enduring appeal is its simplicity and ruggedness, combining MacPherson strut front suspension with rack and pinion steering, leaf-spring live rear axle and four-wheel disc brakes. A sliding door on each side of the cargo hold come standard. The large tailgate window, equipped with a wiper/washer and demister, provides the rear-view mirror with a relatively clear picture of what's behind even with the cargo barrier and clear plastic covering on it.

The iLoad is 5150mm long, 1920mm wide and 1935mm high with a 3200mm wheelbase. (image: Mark Oastler) The iLoad is 5150mm long, 1920mm wide and 1935mm high with a 3200mm wheelbase. (image: Mark Oastler)

The cabin environment is bright and airy with a tasteful mix of light and dark grey surfaces. The light grey cloth seats with their colourful striped inserts look sharp but we reckon they would also show some grime pretty quickly in a working role.

Our only criticisms are that, like the new HiAce, there's no fold-down inboard armrest for the driver. We don't know why Australia's top two mid-size vans do not have this simple feature, because it's standard issue in numerous rivals and creates a more relaxed driving position.

The cabin environment is bright and airy with a tasteful mix of light and dark grey surfaces. (image: Mark Oastler) The cabin environment is bright and airy with a tasteful mix of light and dark grey surfaces. (image: Mark Oastler)

Our other gripe is the centre passenger seat, which shares the outer passenger's base cushion but has a separate backrest which can be rotated forward through 90 degrees to reveal a handy storage tray and dual drink holder on the back of it.

However, passenger comfort and safety are compromised as the seat is too narrow for an adult, the backrest has no head restraint, there's very limited leg room and only a lap seat-belt. And to make matters worse, the belt's buckle digs firmly into your right butt cheek when it's clicked in. This ‘seat' should be for emergency use only and, if you must, only for short distances.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

The iLoad's 2.5 litre four-cylinder DOHC 16-valve turbo-diesel is a refined and proven performer with Euro 5-emissions compliance (so no AdBlue needed), common rail direct injection (CRDi) and variable vane turbocharging with impressive flexibility. It produces a class competitive 125kW at 3600rpm and peak torque of 441Nm between 2000-2250rpm, but there's ample throttle response and pulling power on tap either side of those figures.

The five-speed torque converter automatic is an equally robust and proven transmission, although most rivals have updated to closer ratio six-speed units. Even so, the iLoad delivers crisp and smooth shifts in auto mode, with the option of sequential manual shifting if required. The transmission's gearing and 2.92:1 final drive ratio provide a good compromise between stop-start city delivery work and economical highway driving.

The iLoad's 2.5 litre four-cylinder DOHC 16-valve turbo-diesel is a refined and proven performer with Euro 5-emissions compliance. (image: Mark Oastler) The iLoad's 2.5 litre four-cylinder DOHC 16-valve turbo-diesel is a refined and proven performer with Euro 5-emissions compliance. (image: Mark Oastler)

How much fuel does it consume?

Hyundai's official combined figure of 8.8L/100km seemed realistic at the beginning of our road test which included a variety of roads and payloads, from near empty to three-quarters of a tonne. So we were impressed to see near-identical numbers after crunching trip meter and fuel bowser readings. Needless to say, that's great economy for a one-tonne van and no doubt another reason for its enduring popularity. Based on our figures, you could expect a realistic driving range of around 870km from its 75-litre tank.

How practical is the space inside?

The iLoad's 2062kg kerb weight and 3160kg GVM results in a genuine one tonne-plus payload rating of 1098kg and up to 125kg of that can be carried on roof racks. It's also rated to tow up to 1500kg of braked trailer and with a GCM rating of 4660kg (or how much you can legally carry and tow at the same time), that means you can do it at maximum GVM.

In other words, it can legally carry more than a tonne while towing 1.5 tonnes. Those numbers make the iLoad a very practical and versatile workhorse, well suited to a variety of trades and other working roles beyond the usual delivery chores.

The cargo hold, with its 2375mm length, 1620mm width and 1340mm height, offers a total load volume exceeding 4.4 cubic metres (image: Mark Oastler) The cargo hold, with its 2375mm length, 1620mm width and 1340mm height, offers a total load volume exceeding 4.4 cubic metres (image: Mark Oastler)

The cargo hold, with its 2375mm length, 1620mm width and 1340mm height, offers a total load volume exceeding 4.4 cubic metres and is accessed through sliding doors on each side or via the single-lift tailgate. The load floor with its protective vinyl mat has a total of 10 load anchorage points.

There's no full-length roof lining like the new HiAce but the cargo hold walls and doors are lined to hip height and there's one internal light at the rear. The load floor length and 1272mm between the rear wheel housings means the iLoad can theoretically take two 1165mm-square Aussie pallets (without the cargo barrier installed).

No doubt a big factor in the rear-wheel drive iLoad's enduring appeal is its simplicity and ruggedness. (image: Mark Oastler) No doubt a big factor in the rear-wheel drive iLoad's enduring appeal is its simplicity and ruggedness. (image: Mark Oastler)

However, loading these could be an issue if fitted with the single-lift tailgate, as it blocks forklift access when opened. And the 870mm side door opening (even less with the cargo barrier fitted) is not wide enough to allow a pallet to pass through it, so do your homework on the iLoad's suitability for your loading requirements.

The cabin has storage bins and bottle holders in each door, plus a shallow tray in the centre dash-pad, two different-sized gloveboxes, a cubby near the gearshift for small items like chewy etc and a pop-out dual cup/bottle holder in the centre console. The centre seat backrest also folds forward to reveal a large open storage tray and two small bottle/cup holders.

The cabin has storage bins and bottle holders in each door. (image: Mark Oastler) The cabin has storage bins and bottle holders in each door. (image: Mark Oastler)

What's it like as a daily driver?

The iLoad has big grab handles on the windscreen pillars to assist entry and once aboard it's not hard for drivers of most shapes and sizes to find a comfortable position, thanks to the height-adjustable seat, height-and-reach adjustable steering wheel and decent-sized left footrest.

The instrumentation is easy to read and dashboard controls are clearly marked and intuitive to use. There's a clear eye-line to the left door mirror but given that there's no blind-spot monitoring, this mirror would benefit from the addition of at least a dedicated wide-angle lens.

In city and suburban driving the iLoad is surprisingly quiet for a van without a sealed bulkhead between cabin and cargo hold. However, tyre roar emanating from the rear wheel housings does become quite intrusive at highway speeds, particularly on coarse bitumen surfaces.

The over-driven fifth gear ensures the engine isn't working hard though, with only 1800rpm at 100km/h and 2200rpm at 110km/h, which contributes to good fuel economy on long hauls. The cruise control also works well and is a big improvement on the last iLoad we tested in 2017.

The 2.5 litre turbo-diesel and five-speed auto are well-honed for this working role. They provide ample performance in city and suburban driving, even though the gaps between five gears are more noticeable now given the increasing use of six gears in rival automatic vans.

What's it like for tradie use?

The iLoad, like all vans with a lift-back rear door, is not forklift-friendly. So if you regularly carry the kind of cargo that needs a fork to load it, it would be best to order the twin-swing rear barn doors  and perhaps the genuine accessory timber load floor to go with it.

On this occasion we had to use a rolling engine crane to load 650kg into the cargo hold directly over the rear axle. With driver this equalled a payload of 750kg, which was almost 350kg below the 1098kg peak rating.

The iLoad’s 2062kg kerb weight and 3160kg GVM results in a genuine one tonne-plus payload rating of 1098kg. (image: Mark Oastler) The iLoad’s 2062kg kerb weight and 3160kg GVM results in a genuine one tonne-plus payload rating of 1098kg. (image: Mark Oastler)

However, we have previously tested the iLoad with a 1067kg payload and the difference between lugging these two loads was barely noticeable in terms of engine performance, steering and braking response. Needless to say, it excels in handling payloads up to and exceeding one tonne.

Combined with good handling, light steering effort and sure-footed braking, the iLoad is a willing and versatile worker that's just as capable of doing parcel deliveries as it is lugging a tradie's tools between worksites or serving mobile coffees.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

Only a four-star ANCAP rating achieved back in 2011, plus no AEB, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist etc which are the new benchmarks in this category. There's front and side (thorax) airbags for the driver and outer passenger seats, but none for the centre seat with its lousy lap-belt. The iLoad's safety menu is overdue for an upgrade.

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

Five years/160,000km warranty. Scheduled servicing every 12 months/15,000km whichever occurs first. Lifetime Service Plan includes capped-price servicing for first five scheduled services ranging from $356 to $506.

The iLoad remains one of the most competent all-rounders in the business. This highlights the excellence of its original design, as it hasn't changed much since it launched here more than a decade ago.

However, it's starting to show its age a bit, particularly in terms of safety compared to HiAce and Transit Custom rivals which have aggressively raised the mid-size van benchmark to a five-star standard that rivals most sedans and SUVs.

We hope Hyundai will soon do the same with the iLoad, because apart from increasingly outdated safety it's pretty hard to fault. We're sure its army of loyal customers would agree.

$41,790

Based on new car retail price

Daily driver score

4/5

Tradies score

4/5
Price Guide

$41,790

Based on new car retail price

This price is subject to change closer to release data