Having said this before I’ll mention it again; Hyundai is doing some very interesting things with design at the moment.
The Korean marque is among the few brands that’s elected against giving all of its creations the same corporate face. The newly launched Tucson looks nothing like anything else the brand offers, and the same can be said of the Ioniq 5, and of this — the new Staria.
Hyundai’s local arm has confirmed that the Staria has just landed in the country, in both standard Staria form and as the more commercially dressed Staria Load.
Hyundai describes the model’s exterior as “a strikingly futuristic” and “based on the streamlined aesthetics of a spacecraft”, to which it’s hard to disagree with either. NZ Autocar has heard equal parts wonder and equal parts savage critique in regards to the model’s looks, so we’re keen to see it in the metal.
“It’s undeniable that New Zealand finally has a cool looking people mover. And it’s kitted out with segment-leading technology and safety features ideal for families,” says Hyundai New Zealand General Manager, Andy Sinclair.
“Van drivers spend hours in their vehicle, and with Staria Load, they now have the comfort they deserve. The increase in cargo space is also significant, which will be of value to businesses.”
The model replaces the iLoad and iMax, while simultaneously borrowing a foreign-market nameplate from Hyundai’s people-mover past. Under the skin, the model shares the same platform as the Santa Fe, which should give the model more car-like handling while making things simpler on the production line
Available locally as either a two-seater, a five-seater, or an eight-seater, the Staria packs a handful of nifty aces up its sleeves. For one, it’s available with all-wheel drive, although most sold will likely be more affordable two-wheel drive variants.
In terms of space, Hyundai New Zealand says the two-seater Staria can fit up to three Euro-size pallets, on its way to its full 5000 litre rated capacity. They can tow, too, with a rating of 2500kg and a payload rating of up to 1078kg.
The cabins are fairly plush, too, with a handsome level of kit for a vehicle with a commercial slant. The top model Limited get dual 10.25-inch screens as standard; one a digital cluster, the other a primary touch screen with satnav included.
Indeed, the Limited has everything but the kitchen sink it seems. Leather upholstery, heated and cooled front pews, a heated steering wheel, and power-operated sliding doors and boot are all included.
Entry-level models get a wireless charger, an eight-inch infotainment screen, and a safety suite inclusive of radar cruise control, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, blind spot collision avoidance assist, and more. Hyundai also lists 16 cup holders, although we presume this probably doesn’t come in the two-seater…
While it might look like a sci-fi next-gen vehicle, there’s no electrification under the Staria’s bodywork. Instead all models get a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four (yup, the same as in the Santa Fe) producing 130kW of power and 430Nm of torque. Buyers can opt for a six-speed manual or an eight-speed auto.
To this end, perhaps the tastiest line from Hyundai’s local press release on the Staria is the final one. “Hyundai plans to add eco-friendly Staria variants in the coming years.” Colour us curious.