It is probably fair to say that the Korean automotive industry learned much from the Japanese manufacturers’ business model when it came to entering the European market, and it managed to accelerate the process into the bargain.
It offered high specification as standard at a low price bundled with good reliability. So much is true of Hyundai’s cars, but the LCV sector can be an altogether tougher proposition. Hyundai’s earlier entrant the H100, a midi-class monobox design along the lines of the mitsubishi L300 and Isuzu/Bedford midi made little impact, but the iLoad learned all the lessons from that.

Starting with the fundamentals, the iLoad ticks all the boxes. Its payload is 1062kg, while a load bay length of 2375mm, width of 1620mm and height of 1350mm allow enough space to comfortably accommodate two standard pallets. The overall load volume is 4.3 cubic metres. Whilst the traditional rear-wheel drive layout may seem dated when the sub-3.5 tonnes sector has embraced the low load-floor advantages of a front-drive layout, many operators – particularly those in the building trade – prefer the traction benefits of rear-drive when fully laden.

Equipment levels are heavily laden too, with air conditioning, electric windows and mirrors, central locking, a CD stereo with aux-in connectivity, height adjustable steering column, driver and passenger airbags, height- adjustable driver’s seat and seatbelts, twin side loading doors, a full-sized glazed steel bulkhead and plenty of cab oddments stowage space.

Power comes from a 2.5-litre turbo diesel which produces 116hp. It might not sound much compared to some current rivals but the 343Nm of torque, available from just 1750rpm, is of much more significance in performance terms. moreover, the iLoad is backed up by Hyundai’s widely- publicised five-year warranty, which also covers the vehicle against mechanical defects for up to 100,000 miles, which means you can buy a two- year old iLoad and still have
the same warranty period remaining as you would get with most vans from new. That has to be a major consideration for many used buyers.

As for that well-documented Korean reliability reputation, it would appear to be well- founded. VOSa (the Vehicle and Operator Services agency) has no record of recalls being applied to the iLoad and there seems to be very little to keep iLoad operators awake at night. We found a few instances of door locks – or more precisely lock actuators – giving trouble, allied to one report of an immobiliser issue, so check the central locking works correctly, as these could be related. The rear dampers can become tired quite early it seems, but in fairness this could be an overloading issue as it appears to be fairly isolated. However, a cast-iron service history is a must to honour that long warranty and since the iLoad has shorter service intervals than many rivals, ensure it’s comprehensive.

Second-hand buys

So does our initial premise that the iLoad represents a used bargain hold out? It seems
to hold its value pretty well. The used van locator found several examples all comfortably under the £10,000 threshold. an early 2009 iLoad with only 36,000 miles on it was £8990, whilst a 52,000 mile 2010 model had £9500 on its windscreen and a 2011 example was asking just £8495 of its potential new owner, but carried 77,000 miles on its clock. We even found a 2012 61-plate model with just 22,000 miles elapsed but it broke the magic £10K barrier at £11,790.