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Hyundai Staria 2022 review: 2.2D AWD


I'm no stranger to a van, I've driven quite a few, but the new Hyundai Staria is certainly different, even if you're just going on looks alone. It's certainly setting itself apart in this category.

I'm driving the base model Staria which replaces Hyundai's iMax - that was essentially a commercial van with seats, while the Staria, Hyundai says, is more of a people mover, designed to be used by large families.

This one costs $51,500 (MSRP) for the diesel version and competes with the Kia Carnival and Volkswagen Multivan, but also big SUVs like the Hyundai Palisade. Here's how it worked for my family over seven days for this week's family review.

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How does it look?

We can't go into this without first talking about how it looks. I mean, I'm almost expecting it to transform into a giant robot and walk away at any moment. That's just the vibe I'm getting.

It's inky black, the windows are extra dark and it has a crazy front grille that keeps the futuristic feel which is continued with the giant front windscreen.

  • The Staria in the aptly-colour-named Abyss Black. The Staria in the aptly-colour-named Abyss Black.
  • I’m almost expecting it to transform into a giant robot and walk away at any moment. That’s just the vibe I’m getting. I’m almost expecting it to transform into a giant robot and walk away at any moment. That’s just the vibe I’m getting.
  • It’s inky black, and the windows are extra dark. It’s inky black, and the windows are extra dark.
  • It has a crazy front grille that keeps the futuristic feel which is continued with the giant front windscreen. It has a crazy front grille that keeps the futuristic feel which is continued with the giant front windscreen.

It also only comes in darker colours - black, blue, brown and grey, no white or silver, so there's no escaping this heavy design. To be honest, I feel like I'm about to do a bank heist, not transport The Partridge Family around. It's a lot.

Inside, and this is the base model remember, it's ultra practical. So you'll get fabric seats, nice and smooth, a leather steering wheel, and all the basics covered.

Everything is well designed and practical, but it doesn't feel as plush as a Carnival or Palisade. It's not as 'commercial van-like' as a Volkswagen Multivan or even a Mercedes Valente. So it sits somewhere in between the Multivan and the Carnival.

It also only comes in darker colours - black, blue, brown and grey, no white or silver, so there’s no escaping this heavy design. It also only comes in darker colours - black, blue, brown and grey, no white or silver, so there’s no escaping this heavy design.

What's the tech like?

On this base Staria you get an 8.0-inch multimedia screen which is small by modern standards. It does have wireless connectivity to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but I always have trouble connecting to Hyundai's system. Check this before you leave the lot.

Once you're up and running, I find this technology the best on the market because it's just essentially a large version of your phone and you can navigate and stream audio with the apps you normally use. The speakers are decent, too.

On this base Staria you get an 8.0-inch multimedia screen which is small by modern standards. On this base Staria you get an 8.0-inch multimedia screen which is small by modern standards.

How easy is it to use every day?

There's a step to get in the car and it's so high off the ground you definitely need it. Front seats on this model are manually operated, as are the side doors and the tailgate. The gears are changed by pressing buttons instead of physically shifting a gear stick.

I did have issue with the sliding doors when I parked on a steep hill on the weekend and went to open the door for my children. I wasn't expecting it to be so heavy, the door slipped and slid to slam shut, very hard, it was very lucky there were no little fingers in the way.

The car is enormous and the interior space is just so large. The car is enormous and the interior space is just so large.

Just that alone would sway me to buy the next model up which does have power operated doors.

The air con works well in the front as it's got large air vents along the dash which is good. It's got a deep centre storage bin and then a hidden compartment in there as well.

You'll also get three cupholders in the front - there's a bonus one for the driver on the dash along with two flat trays - and there are bottle holders in the doors so there's no shortage of storage.

It’s got a deep centre storage bin and then a hidden compartment in there as well. It’s got a deep centre storage bin and then a hidden compartment in there as well.

Air vents throughout the second and third rows are on the roof which allow for air con to flow through nicely, the biggest flaw here is that there are hinged windows in the second row and no opening windows in the back row.

My children didn't like that as it just takes too long for them to cool down on a hot day, rather than getting the instant breeze of an open window. This might not bother some people but my family were not big fans.

Cupholders throughout the car total nine, with three in the front, two in the middle and four in the back.

How spacious is it?

The car is enormous and the interior space is just so large. I don't think I've ever had so much leg space in a passenger seat.

It's very high up off the road too and the giant front windscreen adds to the open feeling, making the front seats feel positively breezy. It's like a living room up front.

Into the body of the van and it's a proper eight seater, with three seats in the middle row and three seats in the back row.

  • Inside, and this is the base model remember, it’s ultra practical. Inside, and this is the base model remember, it’s ultra practical.
  • It has a leather steering wheel, and all the basics covered. It has a leather steering wheel, and all the basics covered.
  • In the base model you’ll get fabric seats that are nice and smooth. In the base model you’ll get fabric seats that are nice and smooth.

There's loads of space in there again, and the second row slides forward if you need more space in the back.

The third row is also comfortable for adults if you want to sit back there. The van shape means there's ample leg and headroom for all passengers.

Like the rest of the Staria range, the boot is enormous at 841L even with all three rows in use, and you can pop the back seats down if you need to transport your drum kit.

Like the rest of the Staria range, the boot is enormous at 841L even with all three rows in use, and you can pop the back seats down if you need to transport your drum kit. Like the rest of the Staria range, the boot is enormous at 841L even with all three rows in use, and you can pop the back seats down if you need to transport your drum kit.

It'll easily fit lots of suitcases plus a double pram and is plenty of space for a large family. This room is what gives people movers the edge over large SUVs which don't have a lot of boot space if you're using all the seats.

This model has a heavy tailgate, again if you go one model up you'll get a power operated one and that might just be worth it.

How does it drive?

Despite its size, the Staria drives really well, and that's something you experience in most vans. Their shape, and your proximity to the front wheels means they're actually quite easy to move around.

This one is the diesel so it has a 2.2L four-cylinder engine. It's loud to drive but it surprised me by having enough power to comfortably get up hills. I didn't drive it with a heavy load, though, so I'm not sure how it would fare with one.

Despite its size, the Staria drives really well, and that’s something you experience in most vans. Despite its size, the Staria drives really well, and that’s something you experience in most vans.

All diesel Staria models are AWD which is a good point of difference to the Carnival which is 2WD. Petrol Starias are 2WD, though.

Is it hard to park? Well, it's long, that's for sure, so finding a park to fit you is a challenge, and getting it into the park can be awkward because of the sheer bulk of the car.

But the steering turns easily and there is a good reverse parking camera to help.

How safe is it?

For safety, you do get airbags to cover driver and front passenger and side curtain airbags that go all the way to the back row.

As far as advanced safety goes, there's auto emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keep assist which I always find quite strong in Hyundai's, although you can change the settings to suit you. There's also rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control.

The Staria has yet to be ANCAP rated.

As far as advanced safety goes, there’s auto emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keep assist which I always find quite strong in Hyundai’s. As far as advanced safety goes, there’s auto emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keep assist which I always find quite strong in Hyundai’s.

How much does it cost to own?

It comes with Hyundai's five year/unlimited km warranty which is good in this category. It requires servicing every 12 months or 15,000km, and the capped price servicing means each one will cost $360 for the first five years.

The official combined Fuel consumption figure is 8.2L/100km and over the week I averaged 10.5L/100km doing mostly suburban driving, which does use more fuel.


The Wrap

The Hyundai Staria isn't my favourite people mover, but it is a good family car if you have a large tribe and need this size car. The interior space is at the top of its class, it drives well and this model is good value. It has the safety and tech you'd want, but for me, it feels too big and heavy to be comfortable and the design is OTT so I'd prefer some of the other eight seaters on the market.

I gave it a family rating of 7/10 and my kids gave it the same. They loved the interior space but were really after power-operated doors.

Likes

Easy steering
Large interior and boot
Easy access to third row

Dislikes

No power doors on this model
No sliding windows in second and third rows
Engine's a bit rowdy

Scores

Nedahl:

3.5

The Kids:

3.5

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