Hyundai Malaysia has just officially launched the 2022 Hyundai Staria, and here's a first impression of the spaceship that is the Staria.
The 2022 Hyundai Staria looks like something that came out of the future. Well, pretty much all Hyundai's at the moment look like something that came out of the future. Still, the Staria in particular really does showcase Hyundai's bravery in producing something that is not contemporary and out of the future where Star Trek's Enterprise would feel at home.
According to Hyundai's distributor in Malaysia, Sime Darby Auto Hyundai, the Staria aims to be at the level of the Toyota Alphard. They're not even aiming for the Vellfire crowd but instead straight to the top of the luxury MPV food chain.
Yes, the exterior design might rival one of Malaysia's most sought-after luxury MPVs, but does it have enough substance to eclipse the Alphard? We took a short test drive to find out.
The Staria is Hyundai's assault on the Luxury Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) segment. This MPV has an exterior that looks futuristic, inspired by spaceships, they say.
Because of this outlandish exterior design, we expect the 2022 Hyundai Staria to catch the attention of many potential customers, primarily because of its attractive and unique design.
If you purely look at the exterior of the 2022 Hyundai Staria, you will notice that this MPV has presence on the road. Hyundai claims that their luxury MPV has the largest size among the cars in its class. The Staria has a length of 5,253 mm, a width of 1,997 mm, a height of 1,990 mm, and a ground clearance of 186 mm. In every way, the body of the Staria is more significant than the Alphard, staying true to its claims.
At the front, there is a trapezoidal grille flanked by two headlights. These headlights are unconventional as it houses eight LED cube looking things which are actually the MPV's lamps. The top two cubes are the indicators, and the ones below are responsible for illuminating the roads.
Just above the grille and headlights are these wraparound the front end day-time-running lights (DRL) which really does give the Staria this menacing look, especially when it's dark.
The appearance of the MPV has been given an elegant touch through the customisation of surface colours with shades of either tinted brass chrome or dark grey chrome, which you can choose when you buy the MPV (we'll get to it later on why you have the option to choose either colour trims). These chrome finishings are not only pinned to the front grille but also on the headlight frame, outer mirror covers, and car door handles.
There are futuristic-looking 18-inch alloy wheels at the four corners of the MPV that give the Staria a rugged yet elegant look, while at the rear, there are vertical combination tail lights compromised of again many little cubes, continuing the front end's cube theme.
While the exterior design is strong, the interior is a bit of a hit and miss, in our opinion, but there are enough unique and luxurious features to revel in.
This Staria has been designed with a low shoulder line to give the MPV big windows. The outside view is wide thanks to the combination of panoramic windows, and they're a lovely feature. However, one of the drawbacks of these big windows is that they are more significant than the body, which doesn't allow it to have the conventional tuck inside the body windows if you wish to get some fresh air.
Instead, the middle row windows are simple non-powered windows that you slide back if you want to get some fresh air, while the rear ones are pop-out ones like you would find in coupes. While we consider this a drawback, we understand why Hyundai insisted on these panoramic windows. It gives the passengers a fantastic view of the outside world, but most importantly, makes the cabin feel amazingly spacious.
One of the stars of the interior is the middle row's Premium Relaxation Seats. The seat features a couple of one-touch buttons that automatically recline the seat into a relaxed and comfortable position. One does the auto reclining, and the other one does the auto rewind to put it back into an upright position. In addition, the powered ottoman can be adjusted manually to get you in the best possible comfortable position.
Interestingly, when the seat is reclined, Hyundai claims that adult passengers sitting in the third row can still sit comfortably. They were true to their word once again, as it did not affect the comfort of the third-row passengers when we tested it.
The Staria is also equipped with seats that have three levels of cooling and heating. While the heating is not meant for our climate, the front and second-row passengers can comfortably sit for a long time without feeling warm due to its cooling ability.
The audio equipment in the Staria is no joke because there are 12 speakers made by BOSE focused on pampering the ears of the driver and passengers in the cabin. Unfortunately, we didn't get to test it much, but from the brief experience, it is what you can expect from a fabulous BOSE sound system.
The driver’s seat has a futuristic high-tech look with an advanced 10.25-inch front display screen, touch-based centre fascia and a button-type electronic shift lever. The digital cluster is located on top of the dashboard, providing an unobstructed view for the driver. Hyundai’s smart infotainment system that is equipped with a wide-angle camera also enables the driver and front passenger to view rear passengers in the back seat on display screen.
A 64-color ambient mood lamp provides a lush interior atmosphere. The harmonious direct and indirect lighting can selectively illuminate the cockpit, console, doors and cargo areas
One of the other things that will wow you about the Staria's interior is the extensive use of Alcantara which can be found everywhere, including the door cards, roof and in between the front seats where a unique cubby hole/storage compartment resides.
How it feels to drive?
The 2022 Hyundai Staria is powered by the familiar CRDi 2.2-litre, 4-cylinder, VGT diesel engine as found on the Santa Fe. It is paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission, also just like the Santa Fe. The highest power generated from this engine is 176 hp at 3,800 rpm, which also has a maximum torque of 431 Nm at 1,500 to 2,500 rpm.
Unlike the Santa Fe, the power figures are lower in the Staria, and according to Hyundai, this detune was done to make way for a comfortable drive. We're unsure if we could tell the difference, but the Staria still pulls like the Santa Fe, usually carried out with the utmost urgency.
It also drives very well, staying flat around corners which is surprising considering it is a tall car equipped with a regular suspension (non-air). While the size of the MPV is enormous, it doesn't feel big to drive, and that's a welcoming feature. As for passenger comfort, the 2022 Hyundai Staria uses multi-link suspension on the rear with a regular McPherson type setup at the front. In theory, the multi-link suspension should make the Staria a pleasant experience for rear passengers, and we're glad to report it is.
The Staria also has the highest level of vehicle safety. It is fully equipped with Hyundai Smartsense, active safety and driving assistance technologies. Included in the Hyundai Smartsense suite are Blind-spot View Monitor (BVM), Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance Assist (BCA) with Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Lane Following Assist (LFA), Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go that keeps the SCC running even when the vehicle comes to a complete stop.
So what's the catch?
All in all, the 2022 Hyundai Staria does give off the vibe that it is a premium vehicle. It is luxurious and upper class and will probably serve many well-to-do families well. It has good amounts of power and an array of SmartSense ADAS safety features, making it a well-packaged vehicle. It drives well too, so it'll be good for the mummies and daddies who might be in the driver's seat.
This over the Toyota Alphard really does boil down to its price and since it's priced cheaper than the Toyota Vellfire, you could consider it as a sweet deal. The 2022 Hyundai Staria in Malaysia is only available on an order basis, which is why you can choose to have either the tinted bronze chrome or dark grey chrome trim we mentioned earlier. According to Hyundai Malaysia, it'll take at a minimum of three months for the car to arrive when everything is confirmed, so it's not as accessible as an Alphard.
Truly, the Staria is an MPV for those who want to be different - for individuals who are fed-up with the Toyota Alphard dominance and wouldn't mind trying something different without thinking of other factors such as re-sale value.
Just like Star Trek's moto, it is truly a car for those who are willing to go where no person has gone before!
The 2022 Hyundai Staria is priced at RM358,888 but if you want the added security of an extended five year warranty, you will need to top it up with RM10k.