Hyundai has updated its hot selling one-tonne iLoad van with a less powerful but more fuel efficient diesel engine and new six-speed manual transmission combination.

The iLoad’s latest generation 2.5 litre turbo-diesel engine mated to the new six-speed manual delivers a very frugal 8.0 litres/100 kms for a 6.0 percent reduction in fuel consumption.

Another version of the turbo-diesel – with more power and torque – is also available with a five-speed automatic, which results in an even better 8.0 percent drop in fuel consumption (8.8 litres/100 kms).

Hyundai’s four cylinder, common rail-direct injection turbo-diesel now features two types of turbochargers tailored to optimise fuel efficiency with the different drive characteristics of the five-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmissions.

The new six-speed manual is matched to a conventional Waste Gate Turbo (WGT) design, while the five-speed is matched to a Variable Geometry Turbo (VGT). These engine/transmission pairings cannot be changed around.

Peak power for the WGT with six-speed manual is 100 kW @ 3800 rpm (25kW less than the previous model) with peak torque of 343Nm (also down from 392kW) on tap from just 1500 rpm through to 2500 rpm.

Maximum power for the VGT with five-speed auto is higher at 125kW @ 3600 rpm with an impressive rise in torque from 392kW in the previous version to 441Nm @ 2000 rpm.

Hyundai is one of few vehicle manufacturers that designs and manufactures its own transmissions in-house. Its new six-speed manual features multi-cone synchros for a quick and accurate shift action and includes a button-operated reverse gear lock-out to make sure you don’t stab it into the wrong cog.

It’s no wonder the Korean-built van is selling its sliding doors off in Australia, having knocked the venerable Toyota HiAce from its perch with a combination of rugged build quality, four-star ANCAP safety with dual airbags, semi-bonneted ‘car-like’ driving position, lots of standard features and excellent value for money.

iLoad also comes with Hyundai’s capped price servicing offer and five year/unlimited km warranty.

It’s increasingly the choice of tradesmen, delivery drivers and a myriad of small business owners that like its traditional leaf-spring/live axle rear wheel drive layout, high ground clearance (just under 200mm), ABS four wheel disc brakes (ESC optional) and rack and pinion steering.

Some tradies with 4×4 and 4×2 trucks featuring traditional body-on-frame construction may sneer at the iLoad’s unitary body design, but this van’s hefty 2047kgs kerb weight tells you a lot about the robust body structure, thick load floor and large sub-frames below it that can carry more than a tonne (1113 kgs).

It can also tow up to 2.0 tonnes (braked) and 750kgs (non-braked) and lug up to 125 kgs of extra gear on the roof using Hyundai’s triple-rack system. Its advertising claim of being ‘one tough mother’ doesn’t lack credibility in this context.

With a 3200mm wheelbase, which is about the same as a modern Crew Cab pickup, the overall cargo area is 4426 litres or 4.3 cubic metres. There’s also 1260mm between the rear wheel housings, so it will easily swallow all local and international pallet sizes with enough length to carry two of them if need be.

It also features sliding doors on both sides for easy loading and unloading and a large lift-up tailgate that doubles as an excellent sheltered workplace. We see lots of these iLoads around the place with the tailgate being used for just that (see below).

Twin barn-type doors are also available as a factory option (see previous image), with removable hinge pins that allow them to swing open to a full 180 degrees. These offer plenty of room for a forklift to manoeuvre and would be the right choice if your business involves lots of loading and unloading of heavy items.

The iLoad offers a choice of seating options with either a single row of seats for three adults including driver, or up to six adults in the double-row Crew Van configuration.

This six-seat option is proving a tempting choice for owners with a dual work-and-play requirement, too, with room to carry family or friends plus lockable carry space for bikes and literally a mountain of gear.

Hyundai Genuine Accessories include a large range of roof racks and other lifestyle accessories designed to meet the needs of businesses large and small.

iLoad is also available with an entry level 2.4 litre petrol engine and five-speed manual transmission which kicks off at $29,990. The latest 2.5 litre CRDi diesel and six-speed manual combo starts at $34,990.

Stack that up against its serious rivals – which are in the high $30K to low $40K price bracket – and you can see why this kick-arse Korean diesel van is selling up a storm. TJ

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