i800 2.5 CRDi Style
new i800 People Carrier
seats up to eight and still has 851
litres of luggage space. Now thats
Big. But is this big actually better?
IF THE i10 IS HYUNDAI'S SMALL OR CITY CAR and the excellent i30 the
brand's medium-sized family car range, then just imagine how big their
third and latest new generation 'i' model is the
new i800. Described as a 'people carrier' by Hyundai, the i800
seats up to eight people and has 851 litres of luggage space behind the third
row of seats. Impressively and an important function for some
users the i800 can, thanks to its size, weight and 2.5-litre 168bhp
turbodiesel engine, also tow up to 2,300kg.
However the size of the vehicle, whilst undoubtedly a benefit for some, can
be a real problem for many others. With an overall length of 5,125mm it is too
long for most parking bays; the 1,920mm width also makes it a tight fit for
parking and with a height of 1,925mm it is too tall for most multi-story car
parks and typical home garages. Thankfully, the i800 comes with rear parking
sensors as standard.
It would seem ideal for 'active' families, or extended families, or even families
and friends who need to have space for eight people, their luggage and perhaps
even a boat, trailer or caravan. It is a larger alternative to the big MPVs
and large people carriers such as the new Chrysler Grand Voyager, Ford Galaxy,
Peugeot 807, Citroen C8 and the Renault Grand Espace although it doesn't
have the clever and versatile seating combinations that true people carriers
The eight seats are positioned in three rows: two command-style individual seats
at the front and split (60:40) bench seats in the middle and rear rows. Unfortunately,
neither the middle nor rear rows are designed to be removed or folded into the
floor, as with purpose-built people-movers. In essence, the i800 really is a
mini-bus albeit a well-equipped one. Access to the rearmost row is achieved
by folding the middle row seatbacks forward.
While Hyundai are aiming their new i800 at family and business users, the taxi
and private hire vehicle trades would seem more suitable customers plus, of
course, hotels and airport-run chauffeur companies all use comfortable,
well-equipped and roomy vehicles of this type.
The i800 has a huge and heavy tailgate and also lacks a rear tailgate wiper,
so visibility is poor in bad weather. The side sliding doors are also heavy
and no electric motors to help, as with proper large people carriers.
It has storage areas, but not as many as a true MPV. However, being a Hyundai
it does score well on price a reasonable £19,496 and is covered
by a five-year warranty.
Carrying multiple passengers calls for a vehicle of this type to be safe. And
the i800 is, with a four-ringed strengthened body with a rigid cabin, crush
zones, side impact intrusion bars, impact absorbing bumpers, ABS, electronic
stability programme and traction control, three-point seatbelts for all eight
seating positions, Isofix child seat mountings for the middle row of three seats
and child locks for the sliding side doors. It also has front airbags but no
side or curtain airbags, which most other large MPVs do have.
It is not, however, all doom and gloom. The i800 has a pretty reasonable interior,
some-what car-like in the front with well fitting, rounded plastic panels and
the equipment level is good. Most importantly, air conditioning is standard
with separate controls for rear passengers.
There is also mood lighting, an overhead storage console, privacy glass, front
cup holders but and surely a serious oversight for family transport,
none in the rear! front electric windows, electrically-operated door
mirrors, heated front seat, tilt-adjustable steering column and remote central
door locking. Outside, the slab-sided behemoth sports front fog lights and 16-inch
The long wheelbase, wide front and rear tacks with independent front and five
mounting point rear coil suspension gives a stable and comfortable ride. Body-roll
is, of course, evident as this is a rather tall vehicle. Consequently, and as
you would expect, it's not one to be 'chucked' into corners.
Driven sensibly it copes well and the rack-and-pinion steering serves up some
consistent and predictable feel, which makes the i800 feel pretty sure-footed
The four-cylinder 2.5-litre turbodiesel (with intercooler) engine is quiet and,
with 289lb ft of torque delivered from 2,000rpm, it is responsive in a workhorse
sort of way. A five-speed manual transmission comes as standard and it is light
and precise to use. Top speed is 112mph; 0-62mph takes 14.5 seconds. Official
fuel consumption figures are 25.9, 33.2 and 39.8mpg respectively for urban,
combined and extra-urban. The 225g/km CO2 emissions means a Band F Vehicle Excise
Duty rating which will cost i800 owners £210 in Road Tax (£300 from April 2009).
All very efficient and reliable I'm sure and that is all most people
will ask of it. It does the job but there are much better alternatives on the
market. The Chrysler Grand Voyager, for instance, with its clever 'stow-and-go'
seats and storage, although that starts at £26,000. If that's too expensive,
there's the 2.0-litre diesel Ford Galaxy from around £22,000 or the Mercedes-Benz
Vito Traveliner for roughly the same price.
Living with the i800 as family transport is not easy for day-to-day use unless,
that is, you really must have eight seats on a regular basis. The vehicle is
just too big and daunting to drive for the school run or going shopping. If
you need one for holidays or activity outings, it makes more sense to simply
Business users, hotel courtesy bus operators, airport chauffeur drivers and
minicab companies will assuredly be the main customers and because it is well
made and covered by a long warranty they will be very tempted especially
if there is a financial incentive to be had at their local dealer. For those
private customers who have a genuine need for a 'minibus' as a family car, the
Hyundai i800 is big on space, big for equipment and huge for size. It also has
a five year warranty and can be bought for a fair price. David Miles
Hyundai i800 2.5 CRDi Style | £19,495
Maximum speed: 112mph | 0-62mph: 14.5 seconds
Overall test MPG: 31.4mpg | Power: 168bhp | Torque: 289lb ft