an affordable car with space for huge families

Phuti Mpyane

Phuti Mpyane

Before your imagination runs wild, Hyundai has not decided to build its own Hummer variant, so ignore the nomenclature and rather stick to H1.

The Korean company, though, has decided that it too wants to have a bus in this range like its rivals Toyota, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Fiat and Volkswagen.

If Hyundai's Getz hatchback can compete effectively with the Toyota Yaris, Nissan Micra, Fiat Palio or VW's Polo, then the new H1 is about to cause some concern for Toyota's Quantum, Nissan's Primestar and VW's Caravelle.

If you are wondering how Mercedes Benz comes into this equation, a company insider tells me that the Hyundai Azure sedan will compete with the C-Class on all fronts.

Hyundai, by the way, also happens to supply some engines for the C-Class - but please don't quote me on that.

The H1 is a nine-seat luxury bus aimed at buyers with space problems.

However, I would like to highlight the H1's unique problem - a topic generally not entertained.

Let's say you are a divorcee with three children. You meet a lovely lady who promises not to be as probing as your ex, but she too has three blessings from her previous marriage.

You two lovebirds get hitched, but then it hits you that the 3-Series you used to charm her is never going to carry all eight of you. What do you do?

You can't buy a Quantum because local taxi bosses and the metro police will harass you no end.

You can't buy the Vito as it looks more commercial than a family car.

The VW Caravelle will simply take you back to bachelorhood.

That is when you look at the Hyundai H1 as an option. It isn't the hottest-looking thing but the idea here is that it will ensure that none of the kids will have to take a taxi to follow the family.

The H1 is hugely spacious with a host of features that include climate control, electric windows, storage places, seat-belts for all seats, a big boot, twin-sliding doors on both sides for easy access.

Better still, it comes standard with full leather seats and a reverse blip system.

This is really good for a humungous car that costs as much as many hatchbacks.

The H1 is currently offered in two shapes - the family mover and a panel van derivative aimed at small to medium businesses. A 2,4-litre four cylinder engine develops 126kW and 224Nm that is channelled through a 5-speed manual gearbox.

Safety is taken care of by twin, dual stage air bags, seat-belt pre-tensioners and some stiff steel engineering for the body. The brakes are fitted with ABS and provide good stopping power.

At R289900 it's an affordable package that can see many a young mother opting for the new H1.