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"Write something worth reading or do something worth writing" A blog by Amy Willis, a multimedia journalist based in London

In the fast lane – Hyundai i800 review

There is no denying the eight-seat Hyundai i800 people-carrier adds a touch of class to the traditional idea of an affordable family car.

The car from the front and side

The car from the front and side

The sliding doors, metallic paint finish and blacked-out rear windows give the Hyundai i800 a style usually only seen in wallet-challenging models like the Mercedes-Benz Viano – but at a fraction of the price. The Hyundai i800 has a basic price tag of £19,580 whereas the Mercedes-Benz Viano, which looks identical, will set you back an additional £5,000 on top of this.

The interior is spacious. The generous legroom and huge boot space means no matter how much luggage you and your family have, comfort is never compromised. The heated driver’s seat, leather steering wheel and back-seat mood lighting are certainly attention-grabbing features but the Hyundai i800’s big advantage is its eight-seat capacity. This gives it an edge over people-carriers in the same price band like the seven-seat Mazda5 diesel sport.

But the Hyundai i800 cannot escape its van roots. To drive it feels like there should be a stack of equipment in the back, not a handful of children. It is not a car you can sit back and enjoy driving as its dominance and sheer size requires a constant check that the wheels have not drifted out of the road lane.

The Hyundai i800 definitely stretches the definition of a big car as it has a road presence that screams get-out-of-the-way to other road users. But its major failing is the inability to fold down the back seats to make use of this space. This is a real blow to Hyundai’s promise of the i800 being a practical people-carrier.

Despite these flaws the Hyundai i800 has surprisingly good manoeuvrability for its size and the 2.5 litre diesel engine gives it enough power to make it reasonably light and easy to steer. Considering its size, reversing is no problem at all due to rear parking sensors and power steering
On the whole the Hyundai i800 is an impressive alternative to the typical family people-carrier but there are some major practicality failings. These need to be addressed before this car can be seen as a meaningful challenge to established people-carrier manufacturers such as family favourite, the Ford Galaxy.

A spacious boot

A spacious boot

Vital Statistics

Hyundai i800
From £19,580

* 2.5 litre, four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine
* 33.2 miles per gallon
* Top speed of 112mph
* CO2 emissions 225g/km
* Eight seats
* Air conditioning
* Heated driver’s front seat
* Leather gear knob and steering wheel
* Electric door mirrors
* Adjustable LED mood lighting for back seats
* Driver and front passenger airbags
* Automatic dimming rear view mirror
* 16-inch alloy wheels with alloy spare
* Reversing sensors
* Sliding rear side doors
* Stereo radio / CD player

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Filed under: blog posts, Portfolio, Reviews,

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