People movers aren’t generally designed to be stylish or exciting. They’re built to haul people and their luggage from place to place, but Hyundai has taken that to the next level by creating the Hyundai iMax, a stylish shuttle van that you won’t be embarrassed to drive.
Introduced in 2008, the Hyundai iMax is the people-carrying cousin of the popular Hyundai iLoad, a van that has won much acclaim in the last few years. Part of its success can be attributed to the styling, which is far more provocative than even its nearest competitor. There’s a pair of massive curved headlights that blend into the flared front fenders. A strong lower body line then connects the front fender bulge to a rear character line running up over the rear fender, through the tail light assembly, and under the back window. The proportions of this big MPV are further broken up with the use of a standard two-tone paint scheme and sharp-looking alloy wheels. All of the exterior door handles are painted to match the body colour and the front grille is finished in chrome for a more upscale appearance.
Whether you need an extra-large family vehicle or a customer/client shuttle for your business, the Hyundai iMax presents itself in a very professional manner.
The exterior styling is obviously derived from Hyundai’s ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ design language. Unlike most of their competitors, it’s nice to see that Hyundai went to the trouble of making their people carrier/commercial van range look less like a workhorse, and more like a piece of modern design. And they carried that same attention to detail to the interior.
Similar to the stylish Hyundai i40, the Hyundai iMax people carrier has a large centre stack, flanked by vertical air vents, with alloy-looking silver trim around the controls. The door panels feature an attractively styled armrest with a metallic grab handle that can double as a nook for your phone or other small objects. The front windows and mirrors are power operated, and the driver’s window features a handy auto-down function. The driver’s seat also has a standard height adjustment, allowing anybody to drive the Hyundai iMax in complete comfort. Granted, some of the radio and HVAC controls require a bit of a reach, but this is a big vehicle. Hyundai has managed to make the interior feel more car-like than any of its competitors.
Behind the front captain’s chairs, you’ll find two rows of seats, which can be easily accessed via the standard dual sliding doors (they also have child-locks to prevent youngsters from exiting the van without your permission). The second row slides fore and aft, while the third row has a 60/40 split-fold arrangement to increase cargo room. Behind the third row, you’ll find a generous 842L of cargo space, and the diesel model can even tow up to 2000kg, making it an ideal caravan tow vehicle.
Since the Hyundai iMax was designed to ferry up to 8 people in comfort, you’ll also find plenty of storage nooks and cup holders sprinkled throughout the cabin. Some models can even be found with a rear DVD player, a portable 12v cooler, and a roof rack for extra luggage space.
With all that it has going for it, it’s no surprise that the Hyundai iMax keeps winning the title of Australia’s Best People Mover.
The Hyundai iMax comes in two options: petrol or diesel. The petrol engine is a 2.4L 4cyl mated to a 4-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic. It makes 129kW and 228Nm, while consuming around 10.6L/100km. The 2.5L diesel comes with either a 5-speed manual or a 5-speed automatic. This engine makes 125kW and 392Nm, while consuming just 8.1-9.0L/100km.
As you would expect from Hyundai, the iMax comes with a generous amount of standard kit. There are standard electric windows, mirrors and door locks. A keyless entry system with alarm also comes standard, as does dual-zone air-conditioning with pollen filtration and separate rear controls, a 6-speaker audio system, ABS, dual front airbags, brakeforce distribution, and reversing sensors (front parking sensors were optional). The diesel Hyundai iMax CRDi adds stability and traction control.
The main competition for the Hyundai iMax is the Kia Carnival, Volkswagen Caravelle, and Mercedes Vito. Unlike those people carriers, the Hyundai iMax offers a lot more standard kit for the money, and it has a much less utilitarian approach to moving people and their belongings around.