Hyundai Staria 2021 Review

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Space, space, and even more space!!!
This rival to the likes of the Honda Odyssey, the Toyota Granvia and the Kia Carnival is turning heads and not only because of its spacial interior. Modern tech, and loads of it, along with plenty of grunt, the Hyundai Staria could just be the new Aussie favourite amongst people-movers.
Check out this in-depth review from Car Sales:


People movers and minivans used to represent a one-way trip to mediocrity, but not anymore. Wrap your peepers around this bad boy, the Hyundai Staria. It’s a three-row eight-seat hauler designed for growing families, only it looks more like a spaceship than a sausage on wheels. But is there more to this futuristic shuttle than just that radical design? Let’s dig a little deeper.

The Hyundai Staria is a circa $50,000 people mover similar in execution to the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Tarago or KIA Carnival and it replaces the ageing iMax van. Based on the same platform architecture as the Santa FE SUV, we’re testing the top spec highlander model which will set you back a cool $66,500 before on-road costs are added. But before we go any further we have to talk about the ultra modern design. It starts with this radical full-length led light bar adorning the uncomplicated front end design. And the headlights are actually down here. Iit’s got a huge windscreen and even the side windows are extra large and I love the fact you can open the windows and doors remotely via the key fob. Retro styled parametric led tail lights adorn the rear end joined by a discrete roof spoiler. There are two engine options, an all wheel drive turbo diesel and a front wheel drive petrol V6. Now this one is the diesel. Now on paper, power and torque figures look pretty good but she’s a heavy bus, so we’ll see how it goes on the road after we check out the interior.

Both engines are paired with a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission. There is a lot to take in here, but, it’s the massive glass surfaces and that low front dashboard that make the strongest first impression. I mean it feels more like the bridge of a ship than the cabin of a car. The power adjustable leather front seats are conventional but comfy with heating and cooling functions. The heated leather steering wheel feels great and has good controls as well. Ergonomics are really good with easy access to all the storage, thanks to the use of buttons instead of a traditional gear lever. You want space? You got it! This is huge, I mean you could probably even chuck another seat here if you wanted. Even with the open plan design incidental storage is very good, starting with four cup holders here, here and here. I really like the big central storage bin plus there’s two USB ports, a 12 volt socket and more storage cubbies here as well. Most cars have one glove box, this thing has three! Even the door pockets over deliver with no less than four storage nooks and enough room for lots of bottles. It’s flush with tech starting with this 10.25 inch touchscreen system which even has a rear seat spy camera. Pretty cool!

The native menu system is easy to use and comes with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, but they’re wired only. The screen is surrounded by these rather sexy multimedia and climate controls and this top spec model also comes with a 10.25 inch digital drivers display with very good functionality and also an excellent blind spot video feed. All models come with a wireless phone charger with a grippy rubber tray, but there’s no head-up display. You get parking sensors all around and an excellent 360 degree parking camera system, replete with 3d view functionality for extra detail. In terms of safety the Hyundai is one of the safest people movers on the market, with every conceivable feature including side curtain airbags that cover all three seat rows. Luke Skywalker’s shuttle bus also has these handy roof mounted power door and tailgate controls so you can unleash the troops with preemptive efficiency. Big wide power operated anti-pinch doors allow for easy access.

There is a huge amount of room back here, even for bigger humanoids and despite that glass roof, headroom is good and legroom is just phenomenal, plus there’s a bewildering amount of features back here. You get sliding side windows with sun blinds, grab handles for when dad goes troppo, roof mounted multi-directional air vents with climate controls, a glass roof, plus pop-out cup holders, dual USB ports and even a snack drawer. Oh and there’s more beverage holders here, multi-purpose hooks and these useful seat back pocket. These second row seats slide 10 centimetres forward to allow access to the rear seats and… that’s not too bad to get in. And… have a look at that, legroom’s a little tight but it’s not terrible and headroom, pretty good. There are multiple cup holders, vents and twin USB ports in the back seat row as well. The rear windows also open just a little bit and come with sun blinds too. This is a genuine eight-seat vehicle you could easily get three kids back here, maybe not three adults but there is one problem, child seat anchorages. You’ve got two ISOFIX and three top tethers in the second row but there’s none here for the third row, something its rivals do offer.

There are four different ways to open this huge power operated tailgate this button here, a button in the front, the key fob or even leave it in your pocket for hands-free operation. And as you can see, even with that third row fully extended there is a lot of room back here. The third row seats have a tip up and slide function and when you fold the second row seats it creates a flat-ish surface. Make no mistake, you can get a lot of junk in here or even jump in and have a snooze. There’s also a full-size spare wheel underneath the car and plastic cargo nets in the boot but little else.

Alright let’s see if this sci-fi bus can fly. Cue the hip-hop music!

Well this is no rocket ship in terms of acceleration, it’s chubby 2.3 tonne curb mass seeing to that, but the turbo diesel engine is nothing if not smooth and I reckon in this segment that is more important. The 8-speed automatic transmission is responsive but I reckon when you’re full of passengers and you’ve got a couple dozen sacks of potting mix in the boot it’s going to struggle. But because it’s based on an SUV platform now, it handles well. It’s got precise steering, it sits nice and flat on the road and feels confident in corners.

It might look like a big fat ungainly bus but it doesn’t feel like one. While it hasn’t undergone the usual local suspension calibration Hyundai applies to Aussie vehicles, it has solid road holding and very good ride comfort. Gliding over cruddy surfaces and speed bumps with effortless ease. Refinement levels are pretty good, there’s not a lot of wind noise, there’s not a lot of tyre noise, and although the diesel engine tucked under its futuristic looking snout can create a little bit of clatter overall, it’s a pretty quiet car.

The diesel engine and all-wheel drive system adds $3000.00 over the two wheel drive petrol engine but it delivers impressive fuel economy for such a big bus. With a 75 litre fuel tank it’s got a good cruising range too. And I gotta say if you’re planning longer drives the view of the road is excellent. Sure it doesn’t have the high ride height of those extra large SUVs but, these massive windows provide tremendous vision. One caveat though, the angled windscreen means these a-pillars are chunky and obscure frontal 45-degree vision somewhat. Another thing I’ve noticed driving this vehicle is its length, and you’ve really got to be measured taking tighter corners because that rear wheel can really bump over roundabouts and curves if you’re not careful.

Long wide and heavy, the Staria was never going to drive like a Ferrari, but, the overall experience is far better than we used to with this sort of people mover. In Australia it comes with a 5-year warranty and reasonable cap price servicing, with annual service intervals. Because it’s a new model depreciation levels are unclear but they shouldn’t be shocking.

There really is a lot more to this futuristic minivan than just a radical design. It’s overflowing with functionality and helpful features. It’s safe spacious and actually drives quite well.

Buying a people mover used to mean your life was over, but the days of dull, boring boxes that drive like mouldy porridge are done and dusted. Yep, family vans just got a whole lot cooler and this one is one of the coolest.


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