What Australians call Hyundai iMax and iLoad are actually the people mover and cargo versions of the second-generation Hyundai Starex. So this article will present the first-generation Starex as a backgrounder and the second-generation Starex as the main subject.
Background: A1 Series (1997-2007)
The first-generation Starex (H200) is an M-segment or a light commercial vehicle (LCV), produced in various body styles, including a minivan, minibus, pickup, and commercial panel van. This front-engined LCV adopts either a rear-wheel or four-wheel drivetrain.
Hyundai built the first generation from 1997 till 2007 to replace Hyundai Grace (H100). It is a versatile vehicle popularly used as a taxi, ambulance, minibus, people mover, cargo carrier, and overall transporter. It is available in both petrol and diesel variants and transmits power through either a manual or an automatic transmission system. Variants include long-wheelbase vans (12 seats) and short-wheelbase version (7-9 seats). Its spaciousness and availability in several combinations of engines, transmissions, and body styles made it very popular in Southeast Asia and some European countries.
Australian-spec iMax & iLoad: TQ Series (2007-present)
The second-generation Starex, aka Grand Starex (H300), is longer and larger than the previous version and comes with a more powerful engine. The variants are configured as 4-door vans, 4-door minibuses, and 4-door panel vans.
In 2008, this generation arrived in Australia as iMax and iLoad. The Hyundai iMax is the people transporter, aka ‘H-1 Travel’ in Europe, while the iLoad is the cargo carrier with the European designation of ‘H-1 Cargo’. Below are the detailed powertrain specs and trim levels:
- Base/diesel model – 2.5-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged, paired with 5-speed manual gearbox or 5-speed automatic transmission (125 kW, 392 Nm) – 4 doors, eight seats; featured dual front airbags, anti-locking brake system (ABS), air-conditioning, alarm system/remote anti-theft, 16-inch alloy wheels, central locking remote control, electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), electronic stability program (ESP), engine immobiliser, power mirrors/steering, power windows (front), radio CD with six speakers, and seatbelt pretensioners (front)
- Base/petrol model – 2.4-litre Theta II I4 MPi, paired with 4-speed automatic (129 kW, 228 Nm) – 4 doors, eight seats; same standard equipment as the diesel model but without the ESP; lighter than the diesel iMax
The iLoad models used the same powertrain and packed similar equipment that the iMax did. They mainly differ in their interior configuration and purpose for which their owners utilised them. While the iMax was only offered in base models in Australia, the iLoad was available as base and Crew models.
- Base/diesel model – the same as the 2.5-litre engine of iMax; four doors, three seats; featured dual front airbags, ABS, air-conditioning, alarm system/remote anti-theft, central locking remote control, EBD, engine immobiliser, power mirrors/steering, power windows (front), radio CD with four speakers, and seatbelt pretensioners (front)
- Crew/diesel model – the same powertrain on the iLoad base diesel model; four doors, six seats; the same equipment as the iLoad base diesel model
- Base/petrol model – same as the 2.4-litre engine of iMax but paired with 5-speed manual gearbox instead of 4-speed; featured the same equipment as the iLoad base diesel model
- Crew/petrol model – the same powertrain on the iLoad base petrol model; four doors, six seats; the same equipment as the iLoad base diesel model
The iMax diesel model received an update in 2012, including a 6-speed manual gearbox which replaced the previous 5-speed and improved the fuel economy by 0.5-0.8-litre/100km. All models now add the following as standard equipment:
Roof-mounted antenna (Bee-sting type), tilt-adjustable steering wheel, body-coloured exterior door handles, chrome front grille, child-proof rear door locks and seat anchor points, dust/pollen filters, front fog lights, parking distance control rear, rearview mirror day/night, rear window demister, sliding side door, and traction control system
ESP was now standard in the petrol version, plus all the other equipment offered in the diesel model.
The iLoad received similar powertrain updates that the iMax had in 2012. Its equipment, however, remained almost unchanged except for the added mobile phone connectivity and cloth trim.
Hyundai gave the iMax and iLoad another update in 2015. The iMax received a multi-function control screen, reversing camera, and voice recognition system. This time also, the iLoad caught up with the iMax and packed what it missed in the previous update. It is now equipped with the following:
Dust/pollen filter, ESP, grab handles, reversing cam, rearview mirror day/night, rear window demister, side airbags, seatbelt load limiters, side-door impact beams, sliding side door, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, traction control system, and voice recognition system
The powertrains offered for the succeeding years were unchanged for both the iLoad and iMax models. New trims perked up the range, though, with some exterior restyling and interior reconfiguration. For a change, the introduction of new trim models came earlier for the iLoad (2016) than it did with the iMax (2018). What's more, the restyled models now don Hyundai’s new cascading front bar grille.
The iLoad’s new range differ by their rear access—liftback or wing doors--but apart from this difference, both models are identical in equipment. They now have cruise control, diesel particulate filter (for the diesel variants), door-ajar warning, keyless entry, Bluetooth connectivity, multi-media pack, and vinyl floor covering, among others. However, while the 3S Liftback is available in both petrol and diesel engines, the 3S Twin Swing (wing doors) is only available with the diesel powertrain.
The new iMax variants—Active (base) and Elite—are also available only in diesel but fortunately offered in manual and automatic transmission. The Active model adds several items to the previous standard equipment, including Apple CarPlay, automatic air-con/climate control, Android Auto, and ambient temperature display. The Elite model sports 17-inch alloy wheels and adds heated front seats, leather-accented upholstery, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a sunroof to what the Active model offers.
Whether you’re buying or selling a Hyundai iMax or iLoad, or looking for spare parts, Carpart.com.au would be a good place to start. Check it out now!