18 November 2019

Hyundai iLoad 2019 Review

Unlike passenger cars, which tend to see short model cycles and frequent updates, a van may go for a decade or more between substantial changes.

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Hyundai iLoad 2019
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Hyundai iLoad 2019
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Hyundai iLoad 2019
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Hyundai iLoad 2019
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Hyundai iLoad 2019
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Hyundai iLoad 2019

The current iLoad got a bit of an fettle in 2008, another in 2011, it added Apple’s CarPlay in 2016, along with changes to the grille, and the addition of always-on headlights.

In 2018 it had another grille update and a headlight redesign with auto on-off, a new fabric for seats and trim, and an updated stereo unit with an ‘improved’ interface, involving different graphics.

Like its top-selling competitors, this van’s cabin closely resembles a car’s, but on a slightly different scale. The seat height sits high off the ground, and the ambience is workaday, but gone are the metal-cartons-on-wheels our parents or grandparents would have been used to – this cab is clearly related to the brand’s cars.

There are seats for two – three in an emergency, but there’s only a lap belt for that centre position and it’s skinny – it folds down to reveal a tray for papers, and two cupholders.

It’s easy for a range of driver size to get comfy, with driver seat height, recline and reach adjustment, plus two large door pockets and two gloveboxes for the bits and bobs you’ll need during the workday.

We took the five-speed auto transmission variant out this time – having tried the six-speed manual two years ago. As well as self shifting, it comes with a 25kW boost in power, and 98Nm of additional torque, though payload actually drops 15kg as the auto iLoad’s kerb weight measures 15kg more.

The auto of course means anyone with a licence can hop in and drive it, which these days – with increasing numbers never trying a manual – is a bonus too.

Comfort and convenience features inside include air conditioning, charging points, steering wheel–mounted controls for audio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus four airbags for safety.

As for the useful stuff, the ABS and stability control are especially important when your vehicle is your workplace, when it might be heavily loaded, driving under all conditions – and when its nature doesn’t exactly enhance handling. There’s also a locking diff, a boon for our tester, who negotiates a steeply sloping gravel stretch as part of a regular test route, and equally valuable for those make deliveries over sometimes steep and slippery surfaces.

We didn’t carry a full load – our tester has a 500kg load available, but that takes a forklift, and the up-swinging rear door made access with our forklift too tricky. If you don’t have one with longer forks, you may choose to order the optional factory fit barn doors, which adds $1000 (inc. GST) to the $50,990 purchase price.

Perhaps not surprisingly given an empty cargo bay the engine felt eager to please, but more impressive, this van handled well too, our bendy road stretch taken every time with enough aplomb to keep up with a briskly driven car. It’d be less keen when laden of course, but bar the one-box downside of road noise, it felt as car-like to drive as the cabin controls felt to use, and given the mechanicals are the same as the manual we drove before, with a half load on board, we’d expect no major reduction in performance.

It’s easy for those who don’t use vans as part of their daily life to fail to notice how many there are. But they sell steadily to businesses big and small – Toyota tallied 1757 new sales to the end of October, 2019, Ford sold 1014 Transit, and Hyundai 793 over the same period, not bad for a vehicle still based on the second-generation model that launched back in 2007. But then, when you’re buying a working tool, practicality is far more important than the aura having a brand new design will bring.

At a glance


Hyundai iLoad auto van


2.5-litre four-cylinder direct injection turbo diesel



ANCAP safety rating


Power and Torque

125kW at 3,600rpm, 441Nm at 2,000-2,250rpm 


Five-speed auto

Fuel economy


Towing capacity




Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

Max payload 1098kg, capacity 4,426 litres

Safety systems

  • Traction and stability controls
  • Rear parking sensors and reversing camera
  • Front and side airbags
  • Hands-free phone with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay
  • Auto on/off headlights
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