The engine is powerful enough but the i800's handling and ride highlight its van roots
The interior is decidedly functional, but it's smart enough and easy enough to use
Just two front airbags is a worry, but at least there are some electronic driver aids as standard
Hyundai has a good record and the i800 feels built to last
The i800 can take eight in comfort, and their luggage, but that's the limit to its talents
Good standard kit list includes air-con and a heated driver's seat
The 2.5-litre diesel engine makes the i800 feel surprisingly swift even when all eight seats are occupied, and it's pleasingly quiet, too. However, the vehicle's handling is more van-like - body control is okay but the steering is rather vague. The ride is a bit jiggly with only one or two passengers on board, but things are much better when the i800 is fully loaded. The tight turning circle is useful given the i800s's size.
The priority here is functionality and durability, although the dashboard is fairly smart and all the controls are conveniently placed and simple to use. The carpets look hardwearing enough to withstand the rigours of a kids' football team.
The i800 is more of a genuine people-carrier than an MPV - while it can seat eight adults in comfort, it doesn't perform the fancy seat-folding tricks of smaller, seven-seater cars. There are two rear rows of seats, each with space for three adults, and loads of leg- and head- room for everyone. The rearmost seats are able only to recline, but the middle-row can slide and tilt back or forth; both seat benches are split 60:40 to allow passengers to personalise their seating position. The middle-row seat bench is slightly wider than the one behind, and though there aren't individual seats for each passenger as in some larger MPVs, it is possible to fit certain models of child seat three-in-a-row here, but this won't be possible on the rearmost bench. Even with eight on board there's plenty of room for luggage, and the sliding doors make access easier in tight parking spaces. There's also a good array of places for drinks and knick-knacks (the front passenger gets a particularly good selection of stowage options) and the absence of a central console between the front seats means the driver or front passenger can walk through to the first row of rear seats to attend to passengers here - ideal if this makes it easier to do up a child's car seat than reaching over from outside the vehicle.
Eight seats at this money is already great value, but the deal looks even better when you consider that standard kit includes air-con, alloys, remote locking, a CD player, privacy glass and a heated seat for the driver. There are Isofix points on the two outer seats of the middle row only, but these are very easy to access.
The cabin feels built to last and you can expect the mechanical parts of your i800 to be pretty robust, too. Hyundai came third in What Car?'s latest reliability survey, and its cars all come with a five-year warranty as standard. Driver aids including stability control should help prevent accidents but, even so, the provision of just two front airbags in a family car is disappointing.
If you just need to get eight bums on seats, this is by far the cheapest way to do it. Yyou'll pay thousands more for a Ford Tourneo Custom or Volkswagen Caravelle, for example. An average fuel economy of 32.1mpg when fully loaded is pretty good, too, while a five-year warranty package is reassuring. Just bear in mind that the cabin isn't anywhere near as flexible as a seven-seat MPV, and a lack of any airbags for rear passengers is a major concern.