Tow Car Review: Hyundai H-1 Bus 2.5 VGT Automatic


By now, the Hyundai H-1 is like an old friend. My first experience of this 9-seater bus was way back in May 2012 on a trip to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. I was towing a Sprite SW and I remember being really impressed with the vehicle. Four years later, it just seems to have grown better and better.

The H-1 has two model lines: The Multicab, a six-seater with a 2.5 VGTI diesel engine; and the Bus, a nine-seater available in petrol or diesel.

The Bus is a real people carrier – it can carry up to nine people in safety and comfort. Its marvellous as family transport, or for a photographer like me who is always lugging around a lot of equipment, especially when camping. There is more than enough room for packing in the cargo area in back, measured at 842 litres of luggage space.

The 2016 variant has received a bit of a facelift with a new grille, flush-fitting side windows and redesigned alloy wheels. Inside, there’s a clever, well-designed new dashboard, a zooty new leather steering wheel and gear knob (located on the central console to add to the roominess), as well as cruise control, electric folding mirrors, excellent air-conditioning which is able to be set separately for each row, and a glove box that’ll keep your juice cold! The interior is enhanced by an overall leather finish… and it’s a really comfortable ride.

Hyundai H-1 Bus 2.5 VGT Automatic Images

As a tow vehicle, it is tops. The H-1 comes in two models: the 2.4-litre GLS petrol version with a manual gearbox; and the 2.5-litre turbo diesel with the auto box.

The diesel puts out 125kW (at 3 600rpm), with a serious amount of low-end torque rated at 441Nm (at 2 000rpm). This was great for me, as I towed various caravans and off-road rigs on my recent trip with the H-1. If you’re planning to tow, the diesel is the way to go: although it may have 1kW power less than the petrol (126kW/6000rpm), its torque is almost double the petrol’s 224Nm/4200rpm.

The diesel is super-smooth to drive, and the automatic option makes even navigating the horrendous Johannesburg stop-start traffic a breeze. And, although it’s a big vehicle (5,15m long), parking was a cinch, thanks to the parkdistance control feature.

The safety features of the H-1 have always been excellent and in the latest models they have been even further upgraded; they now include side airbags with ESP, as well as its driver/passenger airbags, and ABS-equipped brakes with EBD.

All in all, I really enjoyed driving and towing with this car.

Hyundai H-1 Bus 2.5 VGT Automatic Specifications


Wheelbase: 3200mm

Ground Clearance: 190mm

Overall length: 5150mm

Overall width: 1920mm


9 Seater Bus Petrol Manual

Tare: 1049kg

GVM: 3160kg

GCM: 4660kg

Towing (braked): 1500kg

Price: R499900

9 Seater Bus Diesel Auto

Tare: 2049kg

GVM: 3160kg

GCM: 4660kg

Towing (braked): 1500kg

Price: R614900

Multicab Diesel Auto

Tare: 2166kg

GVM: 3242kg

GCM: 4722kg

Towing (braked): 1500kg

Price: R524900

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