The Hyundai Staria has made a buzz over the internet since it was unveiled due to its futuristic look, promisingly comfortable interior, and the new life it breathes into the lineup of minivans available today.
In the Philippines, it’s not yet available officially, but there are units available for purchase through the gray market. This is not a review of the Staria as we haven’t tried it yet, but rather, a closer look at what it offers — with a little input from a van-lover like me.
Minivans throughout the years
Growing up in a family of seven, plus my lola, the only transportation option we had was by our minivan.
It provided the space and comfort we needed especially in our frequent long-distance travels. But as the years passed, the choices for these types of vehicles were becoming fewer. Just not so long ago, almost all car manufacturers offered vehicles of this category in their line-up. We had the likes of Kia Pregio, Nissan Vanette, Mazda MPV, Mitsubishi L300, to name a few.
These slowly disappeared and were gradually replaced with more compact 7-seater MPVs that greatly downsized the space for cargo and passengers.
Today, we usually perceive minivans as uncomfortable commuter vehicles and “people hauler” for public transport. But for someone who is fond of long and scenic road trips like me, a proper van is the best vehicle of choice.
The Hyundai Starex is one of the few popular models in this class currently in production to this day — and it just got a major upgrade.
Looks like a villain’s personal shuttle
The all-new Staria has been completely redesigned from the ground up and is ready to take on the Toyota Grandia and the Kia Carnival and will be available in 2-11 seat configurations and will come in two variants: the Staria and the Staria Premium, with the latter offering exclusive luxury features.
The Staria truly stands out with its unique exterior styling. My first thoughts were, “If Robocop and Darth Vader were to design a van, it would probably look like this.”
Inspired by space-age design cues, this MPV is reminiscent of a spaceship with its streamlined minimalist and sleek design. The facia features single/continuous horizontal daytime running lights paired with a massive patterned grille and low-set headlamps giving it that prominent appearance.
The side profile’s modern look is a space shuttle on wheels with low beltlines and smooth minimalist surfaces that run along the vehicle. These are then complemented by flared wheel arches giving the vehicle a wide stance that helps complete that premium and futuristic vibe.
You would also immediately notice how expansive those panoramic windows are. The Staria probably has the biggest windows you’ll see on a vehicle of this segment. It gives its passengers a sense of openness and space and connects you to the outside.
This sense of spaciousness — inspired by traditional Korean ‘hanok’ architecture — allows passengers to feel as if the outside scenes are an extension of the vehicle interior.
Moving to the back, the design is consistent with its overall minimalist motif with vertical grid tail lamps, a wide rear windscreen, and a lowered rear bumper for easier cargo access.
The overall design looks very futuristic, sharp, and might I say, sinister. It’s what I imagine a villain car would look like especially in the black variant. Although I’ve just seen it through photos and videos, I would say it deserves a 10/10 rating for its exterior design. It is the best-looking MPV, in my opinion.
Comfort and immersion
Stepping inside, the interior matches the style and luxury exuded by the exterior.
The Premium trim will offer more luxury options like dual moon roofs, premium relaxation seats (seven-seat configuration) with one-touch power adjustments, swivel seats (for the nine-seat configuration), and a 64-color ambient mood lighting that provides a lush interior atmosphere and a Bose sound system to complete the premium experience.
The cruise ship-inspired interior delivers a sense of space through its large, panoramic windows creating a stimulating environment for all passengers. It also comes with smart power sliding doors and tailgate.
Under the hood
The Staria is powered by a refined 2.2-liter VGT diesel engine and a gasoline-powered Smartstream G6DIII 3.5-liter MPI engine. These are then mated to either an 8-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual for the diesel variant with approximately 175 HP and 431Nm of torque.
The gasoline-powered G6DIII 3.5-L MPI is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, delivering an estimated power output of approximately 268 HP and 331Nm of torque.
Its mechanical upgrades, aerodynamic upper body design, and underbody improvements result in improved drag coefficient for better fuel economy.
Smart safety features
The Staria boasts the highest level of safety, with 3-point seatbelts for all seats, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA), and Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA).
In addition, they offer the option to add as many as six airbags in the cabin. It also features Wireless Module Seat Belt Reminder (WM-SBR), the world’s first seat belt reminder system using wireless communications technology, enabling passengers to enjoy the benefits of seatbelt reminders and long sliding capabilities at the same time.
In a situation where a passenger attempts to open the power sliding door while a rear-side vehicle is passing by, its Safe Exit Assist (SEA) prevents the door from opening. Rear Occupant Alert (ROA), available in select markets, uses a radar sensor to detect and alert the driver if a rear passenger is left in the car after exiting the vehicle.
The Hyundai Staria also comes with Hyundai’s smart infotainment system and is equipped with a wide-angle camera that enables the driver and front passenger to view rear passengers in the back seat on the display and a 360 all-around view.
The infotainment system also enables the driver and front passenger to communicate with rear passengers using a unique speaker function that allows all occupants to clearly hear one another.
The launch of the 2021 Hyundai Staria, for me, has brought back the essence of what minivans should be like. It has the perfect balance of convenience, fun, comfort, and luxury that sets it apart from its competitors.
I don’t know about you, but for me, the Hyundai Staria is shaping to be the ideal vehicle to take on my adventures with family and friends.
The unofficial, gray market price for the Hyundai Staria in the Philippines starts at PhP 2.6M and goes up to PhP 3.4M.
Photos from Hyundai