Hyundai’s EX8 a mighty good contender in truck market
Hyundai has launched its Mighty EX8 in SA and expects it to be a popular choice in the medium commercial vehicle segment
Hyundai SA’s commercial vehicle division aims to upset the applecart in the medium commercial segment with the introduction of its Mighty EX8.
The new model squares up to the popular Hino, Fuso and Isuzu NPR, among others.
The Redstar Raceway in Delmas, Mpumalanga, might not seem to be the best place to launch a truck, but the occasion gave us a decent insight into what the model represents to the market.
Essentially a replacement to the HD truck range, the Mighty EX8 will be assembled at the company’s East Rand plant, which was launched in 2014 and also assembles the H100 light commercial vehicle.
In addition, the outfit also builds truck bodies under its Taylor Made banner and can customise the body according to a client’s business needs.
Compared to its predecessor, Hyundai says the Mighty EX8 model has improved where it matters most.
Cabin space has been increased from 2.9m2 to 3.5m2, while storage space for driver and passenger is 11.8l.
Front visibility is said to have improved, thanks to the windshield height that has increased by 20mm and width by 70mm.
The dashboard has been lowered by 80mm, which in turn has increased the visibility angle by 2.2° and the cabin height now measures 1,490mm for improved headroom.
SERVICE INTERVALS HAVE BEEN INCREASED TO 20,000KM, REDUCING MAINTENANCE COSTS AND ENSURING LESS DOWNTIME.
The steering column has both a reach and height adjustment, so finding a more comfortable and safe driving position is easier. The seat can also slide by a further 55mm and can recline for even more comfort.
More importantly, the longer wheelbase has yielded a longer load deck — 4,850mm. Depending on application, there are various carrying options from tipper and closed bodies to dropside configurations to suit clients’ needs.
Power comes in the form of a 3.9l turbo diesel with 103kW at 2,800r/min and 373Nm at 1,600r/min. This is linked to a five-speed manual gearbox driving the rear wheels.
We drove the vehicle briefly around the racetrack and I was impressed by the power delivery, despite the load bin being unladen. The transmission, however, felt slightly notchy from first to second although I did like the dog-leg first gear, which reminded me of an old BMW 5 Series from the 1970s.
All-round visibility was good and manoeuvrability a cinch.
Interestingly, Hyundai gathered the Mighty EX8’s main rivals at the launch venue and it must be said the Korean offering had a slightly better overall layout and tactile quality than its rivals, including the most car-like cabin in its segment.
"Hyundai’s addition of the EX8 truck to the local commercial range is the beginning of exciting new developments," says Wade Griffin, commercial vehicle director at Hyundai Automotive SA.
"It is supported by Hyundai Automotive SA’s commercial network that consists of 40 sales dealers and 37 servicing dealers spread throughout the country, as well as Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia and Zimbabwe. This ensures our footprint covers all the major routes travelled by our customers," Griffin says.
"It also comes at a time when we at Hyundai are optimistic that a strong increase in sales of commercial vehicles is bound to happen over the next five years due to renewed hope in the change of political leadership and the prospects for a return to a healthy GDP growth."
According to Griffin, service intervals have been increased from 10,000km to 20,000km, reducing maintenance costs and ensuring less downtime and increased bottom-line profits for a business.
"The durability and reliability of our drivetrains has also enabled us to launch the EX8 with an industry-leading factory warranty of four years, with unlimited mileage in this period. We also offer a three-year/ 200,000km roadside assistance plan as part of the standard package," says Griffin.
According to the company, roadside reports are conducted on breakdowns of commercial vehicles towed to a dealership, which will ensure swift turnaround time in order to get the vehicle back on the road.
"Hyundai Automotive SA is also notified daily via a roadside breakdown report of any commercial vehicle towed in, which allows us to act swiftly to ensure that the dealer is giving our customer the utmost attention and with the necessary urgency to get the vehicle back on the road," says Griffin.
In a segment in which capital outlay, reliability and after-sales backup are pivotal to the success of a business vehicle, it seems Hyundai SA has covered most of those aspects with the launch of the Mighty EX8 and it will be interesting to see how it fares on the sales charts in the coming months.
Pricing (excl VAT):
EX8 LWB CC R379,500
EX8 LWB CC (with aircon) R394,500
EX8 Dropside R413,100
EX8 Dropside (with aircon) R428,100
EX8 SWB Tipper R451,500