WHEN I saw the advert for the 2022 Hyundai Staria on television I went Wow! It looks so futuristic. It looks like it is from a sci-fi movie. You would expect aliens to alight from it. To add a Shona twist to the name, marketing doyens would probably come up with a pay off line that goes, “Staria ine staira”, meaning Staria has style. It oozes swag. Watching it on TV left me enraptured. I hope the local Hyundai dealership will bring it.
This multi-purpose vehicles (MPV) segment no longer sells lots of cars as it is competing with all sorts of SUVs — large, medium and small. When word got around that the H-1 was going to be replaced by the Staria, the market was intrigued.
There is nothing on the market that looks like a Staria. It resembles a vehicle from The Matrix, the movie. It has massive rectangular LED light bars at the rear, large windows, the low-mounted headlights integrated into the grille and of course, the large LED daytime running light bar that runs the width of the front of the vehicle.
One can never dream of such a design of an MPV. Its sensation. It has presence and will get whoever you drive past talking. The Hyundai Staria measures 5253mm long with a 3273mm wheelbase, 1997mm wide, and 1990mm tall.
Just like the exterior, the interior is smashing. Hyundai has done a good job with the Staria. The dashboard appears to have been designed to be as flat as possible, with everything pushed as far forward as possible, maximising space, which is also accomplished by the massive windows, making the Staria is so roomy inside. It however has hard plastic inside which is a letdown concidering that this could pass for a luxury MPV. However, the build quality is solid.
It comes with a large storage bin between the front seats which is illuminated by the ambient lighting system and a fully digitised instrument cluster that has a nifty feature where a camera pops up in place of the rev counter or speedometer, depending on which indicator has been selected.
There are also storage areas all around the cabin, a wireless smartphone charging pad, a dual sunroof, curtains for rear passengers, electric sliding doors and tailgate, a Bose sound system and an 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which we feel could be larger given the capacious cabin, but the system gets the job done.From a practical perspective, the Staria nine individual seats, make the boot space essentially useless at 117-litres, however, with the third row of seats out of the way, there is a handy 882-litres of luggage space and seating for five.
The second row of seats are quite luxurious, being heated and ventilated, really driving home the idea that this flagship model is meant for the corporate sector.
The diesel model is a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine with 130kW and 430Nm, mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. It is a head turner. It does not look like the usual diesel cars. This one is smooth chic looking. The 130kW and 430Nm on offer is just about enough to power the Staria along, and that diesel engines still make so much sense in this segment, particularly for families who go on extended road trips across the country and require a reasonable amount of driving range.
The noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) while onboard is flawless, with refinement and cabin intrusion being perfectly acceptable while visibility is excellent thanks to the large glasshouse and cameras all around the vehicle.
The Staria was crash-tested in 2021 by the ANCAP vehicle safety programme and it attained a 5-Star rating, receiving 85% for adult occupant safety, 65% for pedestrian safety and 74% for its safety assistance systems. Standard safety equipment includes six airbags, traction and stability control, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot assist, lane keep assist and surround-view cameras.
Whilst it looks futuristic, it is not aerodynamic. It’s an MPV and it weighs a staggering 2 285kg which means it’s a guzzler for those with light pockets. Most reviewers agree with a fuel consumption figure of 10.5 L/100km. It is not a shocker at all though Hyundai claims a favourable consumption rate of 8.7 L/100km.
If it were to be sold in Zimbabwe, I estimate the top-of-the-range Staria model could cost around US$100 000.
Most MPVs fail to strike a balance when it comes to performance and comfort especially diesel engines matted to automatic gearboxes. They might get it correct in terms of innovation of its aesthetics, ergonomics and modern features. The Staria has shown us that vans can be cool, and that form and function can be harmonised to come up with a fabulous product.
Engine capacity: 2.2L diesel
Fuel capacity: 75 litres
Fuel consumption (average): 8,7 /100km
Fuel range (average): 862 km
Power maximum: 130 kW
Torque maximum: 430 Nm
Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 12,4 s
Maximum/top speed: 185 km/h