The Hyundai iLoad was regarded as a disrupter in the courier and tradie landscapes when it was launched in Australia in 2008.
Now available as a three-seater van or a six-seater crew van, the iLoad line-up has been extended to include an eight-seater people mover version known as the iMax.
Since the iLoad’s introduction the overall design hasn’t varied much other than some restyled front panels and a new grille in 2019 which contribute to maintaining the iLoad’s contemporary styling.
An advantage of this type of vehicle is they don’t really appear dated regardless of their age. The iLoad is offered with the single wheelbase of 3200mm which is sensible for the ‘one-size-fits-all’ practicality of not having multiple sized vans in the range.
Petrol engines are no longer available in the iLoad and the 2.5 litre four-cylinder diesel engine has two ratings, dependent upon the transmission fitted. The six-speed manual engine has a waste gated turbo and develops 100kW and has a maximum torque of 343Nm.
Our test iLoad is the optional five-speed automatic version and its variable geometry turbo (VGT) engine punches a lively 125kW with a maximum of 441Nm of torque.
The cabin interior is separated from the cargo compartment by a steel mesh barrier which can be easily removed to accommodate longer items such as PVC pipes or lengths of timber.
Not having a solid bulkhead in this position doesn’t necessarily mean excessive noise intruding into the front of the van but it does mean the air conditioning has to be up to the task of cooling and heating the entire interior.
The cargo area has a vinyl mat covering the floor which features ten sturdy tiedown points.
Unfortunately, these anchors and their mounting bolts are not recessed into the floor and can present an impediment to sliding cargo items in and out.
The iLoad has dual sliding doors as standard and the vehicle we have as a test unit has the optional barn doors at the rear rather than the standard gas strut assisted lift-up tail gate.
The barn doors can be opened wider than their 90 degrees by simply removing a single locking pin on each door. The pin is secured to the hinge mechanism by a short lanyard to prevent them being misplaced.
The cargo area is 2375mm long and 1620mm wide with a usable height of 1340mm providing a volume of 4.4 cubic metres. Floor space also provides sufficient room for two pallets and an Australian pallet will not foul the interior wheel arches.
The auto is restricted to a 1500kg braked towing capacity while the manual version, despite its lower power and torque, is rated at 2,000kgs.
The steering column has adjustments for the angle of its height as well as provision to change the telescopic reach which combine with the driver seat’s height and fore and aft adjustments to provide a comfortable position for most drivers.
The iLoad is a ‘semi-bonneted’ design similar to many such light commercial vehicles. Vision is excellent.
Solid grab handles mounted to the ‘A’ pillars make entry and egress easy without having to use the steering wheel rim for support. The centre seat leg room is a little compromised by the intrusion of the engine/transmission cover.
However, not carrying a third passenger permits the folding forward of the centre seat back to provide a stable work table. The interior is practical with what should prove hard wearing coverings on the quite comfortable outer seats.
The driver and kerb side passenger have front and side airbag protection, while occupants of the centre seat depend upon a lap seatbelt for protection.
Other standard safety items include ABS and EBD braking systems as well as Electronic Stability Control and a Traction Control System.
The iLoad rides on practical 16 inch diameter steel wheels which shouldn’t show up any ‘kerb rash’ common with alloy wheels on vehicles operating in tight environments. The iLoad’s rear wheel drive configuration allows for tight front wheel cuts and a nimble 11.2 metre turning circle.
The iLoad’s halogen headlights have an automatic low-light sensing capability which is a benefit not just at dusk but also when entering dark environments such as multi-level car parks. The iLoad is comparatively low in overall height compared with some others in its category and at 1935mm (not counting the shark fin radio antenna) access to height restricted areas such as those in covered carparks isn’t compromised.
The centre of the dash features a 7.0 inch touchscreen audio system with MP3, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities.
A set of controls for the audio’s basic functions is located on the steering wheel along with those for the cruise control as well as for a wirelessly connected smartphone.
Charging sockets for USB and 12-volt 120 Watt plugs similar to cigarette lighters are positioned low and at the centre of the dash.
The screen displays sharp images from the reversing camera.
Confidence in the purchase-decision is boosted by the iLoad’s five-year warranty and has no limit on kilometres travelled.