A luxurious utility vehicle worth buying

THERE'S no truer saying than "hindsight is an exact science."

THERE'S no truer saying than "hindsight is an exact science."

In other words, it's easy to sit back and think what might have been. You see, years ago I had ambitions of being a taxi driver. While other kids were studying night and day to get accepted into university to study nautical engineering or atomic physics, I was busy perfecting handbrake stops in the nearby Checkers car park.

Having a son working as a taxi driver didn't sit comfortably with my parents. And after a heart-to-heart chat with my dad - which resulted in a couple of slaps and a slight concussion - I saw things in a different, if slightly blurry, light.

Which is why I couldn't wait to get my hands on Hyundai's new H-1 and live out my childhood ambition.

The H-1, packing a 2,4-litre engine, comes in two derivatives - a commercial transporter with just two front seats or a people transporter. Naturally I chose the people transporter.

Just as an actor has to prepare methodically to act out a role, I decided it was essential to get a few basics sorted out to being a taxi driver. and what better place than Jozi's CBD.

Heading into town with my instructor Driver Paul we went down Bree Street . fast.

Red robot - no problem; stop street - forget it; pregnant woman crossing the road - just missed her, eish!; bribing a cop - kids' play. All that in less than 100metres and two minutes!

"Not bad for an umlungu," mumbled driver Paul.

The brochure for the H-1 says it seats 8 passengers. How Hyundai expects me to make a profit transporting only eight people is beyond me. Sure, eight people will travel in relative luxury but forget the luxury since I plan to transport a minimum of 16 per ride.

The air conditioning works a treat, with individual vents for the rear passengers, but unfortunately it will probably never be used as the price of petrol continues to rise.

Music in the H-1 will obviously play a big role and the six-change CD player will be stocked with everything from Ringo to the Mahotela Queens.

The H-1 comes nicely specced in the safety division - air bags up front and the side, ABS brakes, electronic stability programme.

Could come in handy when hitting a top speed of 168km on a Sunday morning.

The sliding doors on either side are a breeze to open and should come in handy for the gogo carrying half-a-dozen shopping bags.

Next week, Driver Paul has promised to extend my taxi driving course to include: How to jump barriers on national highways; How to collect money from passengers, change CDs, threaten fellow motorists and drink a beer ... all at the same time.

The Hyundai costs R289900 and comes with a standard 5 year-150000km warranty.