DRIVEN: Hyundai Staria ushers in a completely new look and feel in the MPV segment

By Willem van de Putte Time of article published Nov 8, 2021

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Launch review: Hyundai Staria

Johannesburg - Hyundai is are known for their value for money offering and when they introduced the Palisade earlier this year and broke the R1-million barrier it raised a few eyebrows but on closer inspection it still provides bang for your buck.

Now with the introduction of the Staria MPV and specifically the top of the range Luxury model they have two vehicles just over that mark, with the Staria Elite squeaking in under six figures. The other two versions are the Executive nine-seater and also an 11-seater Executive model.

The Staria replaces the well-liked H1 which has been around for 11 years and over that time sold 22 377 units.

The two could not be more different in every aspect. The Staria certainly has an eye-catching design and I’d say it’s now the best looking offering in the category.

Hyundai wanted a space-age look for their new halo product and they certainly got that right with an eye-catching grille, vertical lights, alloy wheels and tall vertical rear light cluster.

My first impression when I saw it in the metal was that it looked like the kind of vehicle that could easily pass for an EV if you didn’t know better.

It doesn’t have a battery but rather Hyundai’s 2.2-litre VGT turbo-diesel that’s good for 130kW and 430Nm and paired to a sublime eight-speed automatic transmission.

There’s something about sitting behind the wheel in a captain’s chair in a bus like this. The upright driving position, low door frame, lots of glass and digital instrument cluster makes you want to take a busman's holiday.

The interior is fitted with quality materials, soft-touch surfaces, easy to reach buttons and dials and in the Luxury version more standard equipment than you could throw a stick at which is one of the things that sets it apart from the competition.

In fact if you had to add what the Staria comes with as standard to the VW, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota offerings it would be well over the R1-million mark.

Even with 11 seats, with USB ports and cup holders in every row, there’s a lot of leg space and if you aren’t using the rear seats they fold down to give you ample luggage space for a family holiday.

In a vehicle that size you would think that noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels would be relatively high especially at speed, but they have done a brilliant sound dampening job including some nifty aerodynamic devices which also aids consumption.

The steering wheel is rake and reach adjustable and once you’ve positioned yourself comfortably behind the wheel the big bus moves along with ease with the gears shifting silently while it gets up to speed.

There’s virtually no turbo lag on take off and when you stomp the throttle to pass slower traffic it rewards you with decent get up and go.

It handles corners remarkably well for its size given that its intention was never to take on the twisties at speed.

And while it’s loaded with connectivity, including a wireless charger, tech and safety features we found an unexpected bonus when putting on the indicators. Cameras mounted on the side mirrors feed a picture to the instrument cluster giving you a view of what’s happening behind you. So when you pass a car you don’t have to look at the mirror, the camera indicates exactly where you and the slower car are before you return to your lane.

As the replacement for the H1, the Staria ushers in a completely new look and feel in the segment and I reckon Hyundai have a winner here.

It comes with a seven year/200 000km manufacturer warranty, a seven year/105 000km service plan for the Luxury model and a six year/90 000km service plan for the Executive & Elite versions, and all have a seven year/150 000km roadside assistance plan.

Hyundai Staria Pricing

R2.2 Executive 9-seater auto - R789 900

R2.2 Executive 11-seater auto - R799 900

R2.2 Elite 9-seater auto - R959 900

R2.2 Luxury 9-seater auto - R1 099 900

IOL Motoring

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