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First test: Hyundai Staria, space shuttle!

  • Post category:Economy News
  • Reading time:8 mins read

Until recently, Hyundai offered the H1 (rear-wheel drive), a 9-seater utility vehicle that rivaled a few benchmarks like the VW Multivan, Ford Tourneo Custom, Mercedes Vito and other mid-size utility vehicles from Peugeot and Citroën. Unfortunately for him, the H1 failed to make a name for itself and quietly disappeared from the market. With the Staria, Hyundai presents a new approach.

A unique look!

The Korean brand’s new minibus was not designed from the outset as a utility: in fact, it is based on the brand’s N3 platform, which is also used, among other things, in the Santa Fe. It is therefore a a more passenger car-oriented approach with front-wheel drive. This is reminiscent of Volkswagen and its T7 Multivan. And then there’s the styling. As much as the H1 was understated, the Staria grabs attention with its futuristic styling. With its streamlined front, full-width LED strip and checkerboard LED headlights (parametric pixels in Hyundai jargon), the Staria is sure to surprise in urban centres…

The 6-seat model we tried is more timid when it comes to styling. While its body retains a separate line and large glazed surfaces, the light strip has been replaced by a strip of black plastic and the headlights here are halogen. This double-cab utility is fitted with the same 17-inch aluminum wheels as the base 9-passenger version.

Spacious

With a length of 5,253 mm, a width of 1,997 mm and a height of 1,990 mm, the Staria can compete with the VW Transporter and other Ford Transit/Tourneo Custom: its interior space is almost identical! In addition to two rows of three seats each (the center seat in the first row can be folded down to form a table with cup holders and storage compartments between the driver – who has no armrest – and the front passenger), the model also benefits from a spacious trunk behind the fixed partition. With 2,890 litres, this trunk is big enough to accommodate two europallets, the result of an extended visit to a famous Swedish furniture store or the bikes of the whole family. For an even more leisure-oriented version, we will have to wait for the motorhome version, if it ever arrives in Belgium…

tech

Inside, the Staria features state-of-the-art technology: the “Techno” version is equipped with two 10.25-inch LCD screens, one for the dashboard and the other for the info-system. entertainment. Below, there are touch shortcuts for this system, as well as for the air conditioning. The plastics used are rather hard, but their matt finish saves their appearance and moreover, they do not seem prone to scratches! The glossy black plastic that surrounds the infotainment screen is more elegant but it seems more fragile and sensitive to small scratches.

The passenger compartment, bathed in light, benefits from numerous storage possibilities: in addition to the traditional bins in the doors and the glove box, there is a compartment for wireless charging of smartphones, two lockable compartments at the top of the dashboard and a large space under the rear bench seat, accessible by folding it forwards. In the versions intended for individuals, the second row of seats (in the case of a 9-seater version) can be sliding, which eliminates this storage space.

Back to our 6-seater: the space in front of the second row of seats is generous. It is also identical to that of the 9-seater which, for its part, benefits from a third row of seats and a trunk. On board the luxurious 7-seater version, you will notice that the boot has given way to a bench seat, while the first and second rows of seats have been replaced by two individual seats offering even more legroom. As you will have understood, this model is rather intended to serve as a VIP shuttle.

A different suspension

In terms of suspension, the double cabin version is slightly different from the more luxurious 7 or 9-seater versions which will be marketed next year with us. At the front, it retains its McPherson type suspension but at the rear, it swaps its multi-link suspension for a rigid axle and leaf springs. This allows it to accept loads of more than one ton!

The Staria in its versions intended for individuals:

Unfortunately, there is a downside to this: when empty, the rear axle tends to react more strongly to bumps and other irregularities. An element to take into account if you consider the utility version with two rows of seats, fiscally more advantageous. On models fitted with a multi-link suspension, rear passengers are undeniably more pampered and enjoy greater comfort. Don’t think, however, that the handling of the utility version is bad: in turns, you don’t feel as confident as on board a reference in the segment. What gives confidence is the vast arsenal of assistance systems, even if these are sometimes a little too intrusive. Radar-guided cruise control, traffic jam assistance, emergency braking assistance, intelligent traffic sign recognition, 360° camera… it’s all there!

Only in diesel

At Volkswagen, the Multivan is available with a range of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines, like the Ford Tourneo Custom. At Peugeot, Citroën and within the other brands of the Stellantis group, it’s all electric! At Hyundai, the Staria is only available with a 2.2-litre 4-cylinder diesel developing 177 hp and 430 Nm of torque at 1,500 rpm (note that a hydrogen version is under development). Combined with the 8-speed automatic gearbox, this engine does not offer supersonic performance (0-100 km/h in 12.4 seconds and 185 km/h peak), but it works smoothly and quietly thanks to variable geometry turbo. The automatic transmission (operated with buttons) is alert and flexible, which is ideal for blending into traffic. You can also choose from different drive modes to tweak the engine and gearbox, but not the steering assist.

Our barely broken-in copy didn’t show too much of a drink! Over a distance of about 500 kilometers, we consumed about 8.2 l/100 km, which corresponds exactly to the consumption announced according to the WLTP cycle. You can also choose a 6-speed manual transmission, which should be a few tenths of a liter more fuel efficient.

How much does it cost?

The entry-level Staria is a utility vehicle with a single front seat: it is displayed at just under 37,000 euros. The version we tried, a damn well-equipped Techno with 6 seats, is advertised at €43,558.79. If you opt for a 9-seater model, count on a minimum of 46,999 euros. Finally, the luxurious 7-seater “limousine” version is displayed at 58,199 euros. The versions intended for private customers are fitted as standard with the 8-speed automatic transmission.

Our Verdict

With the Staria, Hyundai wants to challenge the benchmarks in the segment which are beginning to admit their age or which can only be ordered in an electric version (Stellantis). With its atypical design and its complete equipment, it presents itself as an interesting alternative to the spacious trunk, cut for many leisure activities and other moving projects. Our advice: if you want a really comfortable suspension, wait for the versions with multi-link rear suspension. These will not be available until next year.

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