Hyundai has just put a new face on its popular iMax eight seat people mover in line with upgrades to the iLoad van.
They are the same under the skin and are due to be replaced within a couple of years when a new generation arrives.
In the meantime, the iMax scores a pretty new face with a wide, horizontal bar grille, new headlights and driving lights, revised bumper and a new variant, subject of this test, called the Elite model. As the name suggests, it has all the bells and whistles including leather and twin sunroofs.
Having such a solid reputation, the Elite iMax will appeal to VIP small bus operators and big families who like a touch of luxury with their six kids and a dog.
You can’t miss the new front especially on the Elite with plenty of extra chrome and other shiny bits.
The change is enough to make the Hyundai iMax look like a completely new model but the rear part is carried over with minor tweaks.
It’s a big box with two large front doors, twin side sliders and a large hatch at the back.
The two tone paint sets off iMax’s appearance as do the 17-inch alloys.
There’s no hiding its van origins though as iMax is a one box people mover with windows all down the side and in the Elite’s case, twin sunroofs.
Projector headlights are half a step in the right direction and look pretty cool as well. I like the repeater indicators in the exterior mirrors too.
It’s a sea of beige and chocolate inside the iMax Elitewith the top half of the soft feel dash and other sill areas in chocolate colour and the rest in beige. Looks quite good too in an olde worlde way.
Soft perforated leather is used on all eight seats, all of which are a decent size including the third row.
Rake and reach steering wheel adjustment is a positive as is the new, easy to read instrument cluster.
The centrally positioned seven inch touch screen is fairly standard with apps and there’s climate control in the front with manually adjustable aircon’ in the second and third rows.
Room is plentiful inside augmented by the sliding centre seat row. A good size load space is provided but the locking system used is a pain as it requires the driver to push an unlock button all the time. No hardwired sat-nav though.
Hyundai wants to keep the ball rolling until a new iLoad/iMax arrives so they did what they could with this relatively old design, adding more kit and smartening up its looks.
As it stands, the iMax Elite is good value compared to rival vehicles.
Among the goodies, Elite lists;
- Leather upholstery
- Twin sunroofs
- Climate control air
- 17-inch alloys
- Cruise control
- Auto headlights
- Heated front seats with a ventilated driver’s seat
- Front folding armrests
- Walk through facility from front seats
- Apple/Android streaming
- 5-speed auto transmission
- Full size spare
The Hyundai iMax Elite uses the same 2.5-litre, turbo diesel, four cylinder engine as automatic iLoad.
That means the more potent 125kW/441Nm unit with a variable geometry turbo.
It’s only a five speed auto but that’s all you really need when you boil it all down.
Good thing is drive goes to the rear wheels with benefits in wet weather traction and drive feel.
The all coil spring suspension gives Elite almost a car-like ride despite its height and bulk.
Performance is strong from the torquey diesel engine that recorded the claimed 8.8-litres/100km on my test drive.
It’s a weighty beast though tipping the scales at over 2200kg which takes off the performance edge compared with an equivalent iLoad van.
Wafting along in the iMax Elite is pleasant and adding a bunch of passengers makes little difference to how it goes and feels.
The turning circle is smallish at 11.2 metres for easy parking and tight turns.
Good brakes too with large discs front and rear.
ANCAP rating is four stars for the iMax – same as iLoad, and there aren’t any airbags down in the passenger compartment, just around the front of the cabin.
Advanced driver assist technology is also absent but you do get a reverse camera and the usual traction and stability control systems.
The side repeater lights are handy as are auto headlights..
- Great value for money
- Strong engine performance
- Respectable fuel economy
- Eight full size seats and a load space
- Easy access through five doors
- Heated front seats with folding armrests
- Passes EU5 emissions regulations
- Tows up to 1500kg
Not So Good Bits
- No hardwired satnav
- Centre and rear seats don’t fold flat
- Big step up into driving compartment
- Superfluous twin sunroofs pinch headroom
- Needs a five star safety rating
- Annoying (un)locking system
If you needed a decent size small bus, the Hyundai iMax Elite should be on the short list. It has a super warranty and big reputation for reliability.
The seats are all full size and it’s easy to drive.
The interior is roomy and it has plenty of creature comforts.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Hyundai iMax Elite
- Engine: 2.5L four-cylinder turbo diesel producing 125kW/441Nm
- Transmission: Five-speed automatic RWD
- Warranty: 5 years/ unlimited km
- Safety: Four stars
- Origin: South Korea
- Price: from $48,490