The adorable Casper van has 33 cubic feet of storage space.
Priced from $19,000, the Hyundai Venue is currently the smallest SUV the Korean carmaker offers stateside. Elsewhere (mostly in emerging markets such as India) the motoring conglomerate offers the bizarrely-named Casper. Measuring in at just 141.7 inches, the compact SUV has plenty of appeal in markets where space is at a premium.
Now Hyundai has revealed an offering for small business owners and delivery drivers. Like the regular Casper, the van derivative retains the quirky yet endearing styling that makes it so appealing. But instead of rear seats, the commercial Casper receives more packing space. Despite its compact dimensions, it boasts approximately 33 cubic feet of cargo space.
Darting around congested cities, drivers often pull daring stunts to ensure parcels get delivered on time. To protect the occupants up front, a partition separates passengers from items in the load bay. The rear windows are also protected, with black-painted metal bars ensuring the glass doesn't bear the brunt of a flying package.
A pair of 1.0-liter three-cylinder engines are available. The naturally aspirated option produces a modest 75 horsepower and 70 lb-ft of torque. But if you need to deliver packages in a hurry, Hyundai has you covered with a slightly more powerful turbocharged variant, packing 99 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque under the stubby hood. Interestingly, a four-speed automatic gearbox is the only transmission option. The conventional Casper also has the option of a 1.2-liter engine.
Hyundai has been sensible about this and it shows in the standard specification. While it eschews fancy wheels (15-inch items are standard), the Korean company has cleverly fitted seven airbags, high-beam assist, and even forward-collision warning. The carmaker also includes several nice-to-haves, including cruise control and rear park distance control. With just two speakers, the audio system may not be the most crisp-sounding but does, at least, boast Bluetooth connectivity and a USB port.
With a starting price of approximately $11,000, the little Casper Van really does look like excellent value for money. Yes, it's not the fastest delivery van in the world, but the low price and aforementioned safety features more than make up for that. What's more, it's likely to be reliable and fuel-efficient, non-negotiables when considering a light commercial vehicle.
With the standard model unlikely to reach the USA, there's little chance of this cute and clever delivery van making its way stateside. While it may not be ideal for our roads, it could be just the thing delivery drivers need in our congested and traffic-heavy cities.