Once you get far enough into modified car land and you start owning “track only” cars, there reaches a point where you need something to tow with. Getting old also means you need something more sensible for daily transport. The usual “go-to” for a solution to this problem is either a big SUV or a traditional tradie ute, but, we beg to differ. There is a better solution. Something we consider the ultimate vehicle. The Hyundai iLOAD.
5 years a go I would never have ever recommended anyone buy a van. It was a fate worse than death to have to drive a van each day, but the Hyundai iLOAD changed all that. With our Rodeo dual-cab ute out of action thanks to the local garbo, we needed a new work vehicle for Jet Multimedia/Motive DVD. The criteria was pretty difficult to meet.
- Large enough to fit our camera gear as well as event equipment, or, gear to go racing.
- Carry 4-5 staff and film equipment
- Be able to take a baby seat/booster seat in the back
- Be lockable so all gear is secure
- Tow our cars well
- Be nice to drive every day
As you can see, a tough ask. A SUV can’t carry much gear, while a ute can’t have gear out of the elements and secure unless you have a hard canopy. But the hardest task of all for a ute, amongst this criteria, is the ability to drive nice. I’ll be honest, i think most, but not all, utes drive like crap. Now you would’t expect a van to be able to meet these criteria, but the iLOAD does.
The seating position in the iLOAD makes it feel pretty much like you’re driving an SUV, so the “over the wheel” feeling you get in most vans is not there. It’s comfy with lots of storage places and cup holders and the latest version has cruise control and all the mod cons. The steering and suspension is very well sorted for a van, and to me, it drives as close to a car/SUV as any van ever will and is perfectly acceptable as daily transport. In fact, it handles and drives better than many cars too. Another big part of that is the engine. 125kW might not sound like much, but the turbo diesel 4-cylinder makes 441Nm of torque (automatic model. Manual makes less power and torque). Thats a bucket load, and makes the iLOAD easy to drive as well as giving it plenty of pulling power, both for carrying a tonne of gear, or, towing.
Now here is where things get interesting. The manual, which has less power and torque (presumably to conserve the clutch) is rated to tow 2000kg, while the auto is only rated to tow 1500kg. We’re going to assume this is because of the automatic transmission and its ability to tow all day every day without over heating. Although we wont officially recommend it, we can tell you that the automatic iLOAD has no problem towing a car. We’ve been towing our R32 GT-R, 200SX and WRX on a regular basis since we bought our iLOAD in 2013 with 38,000km on the clock. It now has 120,000 on the clock and has made at least 50-60 country trips to events with cars in tow. In fact, it not only has no problems towing, we still think its the best car we’ve ever towed with. We’ve tried pretty much every ute there is, but the iLOAD simply tows better, for a few reasons. Pulling power is awesome, and even with a GT-R on the back and gear to the roof in the cargo area, it’s not often we have to slow down up hills. Stability wise is where the iLOAD excels even more. It’s so comfortable and stable to tow with and will comfortably sit on the speed limit. Maybe this is to do with the flow of air over the van not hitting the front of the car on the trailer, maybe its the suspension set-up or maybe its both. Whatever it is, its awesome.
So it tows good, drives good but most importantly, with a 2/3 width rear seat put in, it can carry 5 people and you can put a baby seat in. Fold that seat up and you have more room than any ute ever well. Even better, its out of the elements and can be locked up. This suits us perfectly. So unless you ant to go 4WD-ing or camping, the iLOAD should be on your list of vehicles to look at as a support vehicle that also needs to be a daily driver. Once we wear ours out, which doesn’t appear to be anytime soon, the only car we can think of to replace it with is another iLOAD. More information can be found here: CLICK HERE