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Hyundai Staria-Load 2022 review: Crew Van - GVM test

The Hyundai Staria-Load now comes with a five-seat crew van version. Is it up for hard work? (Image: Mark Oastler)

Daily driver score

4.5/5

Tradies score

4.5/5

The Hyundai iLoad, in both single-cab and crew van variants, established a large and loyal customer base in Australia’s mid-sized (2.5-3.5 tonne GVM) commercial van market between 2008 and 2021.

It had a facelift in 2019 but by then the iLoad was stretching beyond the usual 10-year generational lifespan for LCVs, with a four-star ANCAP rating and active safety features that were overdue for major upgrades.

Hyundai finally addressed that in October 2021, by replacing the iLoad with the all-new Staria-Load. We recently tested the crew version to find out if it’s a worthy successor for both work and play.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

The Staria-Load is available as a single-cab van or five-seater crew van like our example. Both are available only with the new 2.2-litre turbo-diesel and eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission, with the Crew Van having a list price of $49,640.

That pricing looks razor-sharp compared with crew van rivals like the Toyota HiAce Crew ($49,650), Ford Transit 340L DCiV ($54,490), Renault Trafic Crew Lifestyle ($55,090) and Mercedes-Benz Vito 116 Crew ($65,248). Our test vehicle’s premium silver metallic paint, tow-bar kit, rear bumper protector bars, front nudge bar, LED light bar and bonnet protector/front door window shades are all extra-cost options or accessories.

 Work-focused 17-inch steel wheels. (Image: Mark Oastler) Work-focused 17-inch steel wheels. (Image: Mark Oastler)

The Staria-Load blends futuristic yet functional styling with the upmarket look of body-coloured grille, bumpers, door mirrors and handles. Those attributes contrast somewhat with its work-focused 17-inch steel wheels and 215/65 R17 tyres with matching spare.

The modern and spacious interior can accommodate up to five occupants on fabric-trimmed seating. Useful features include keyless entry, leather-appointed steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, leather-appointed shift knob, tilt-and-reach adjustable steering column, electronic parking brake, heated door mirrors, Qi wireless smartphone charger, four USB ports and tyre pressure monitoring to name a few.

There’s also a two-speaker infotainment system with 8.0-inch touchscreen display and multiple connectivity including wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Plus, there’s heaps of places to store stuff and a long overdue upgrade to what are now benchmark safety standards.

Is there anything interesting about its design?

The Staria-Load is based on Hyundai’s N3 chassis platform shared with the latest Santa Fe SUV. The new platform is not only lighter and larger with more cargo space than the iLoad, but according to Hyundai it’s also a massive 70 per cent stronger with a 14 per cent increase in torsional rigidity.

The new FWD architecture is the opposite of the iLoad’s RWD, but it retains four-wheel disc brakes and MacPherson strut front suspension, along with the proven load-carrying ability of leaf springs to suspend the new rigid-beam rear axle.

The Staria-Load is bigger than the iLoad in all key dimensions. (Image: Mark Oastler) The Staria-Load is bigger than the iLoad in all key dimensions. (Image: Mark Oastler)

The Staria-Load is bigger than the iLoad in all key dimensions. Its 5253mm length is 128mm longer,  its 1997mm width is 77mm wider, its 2000mm height is 65mm taller, its 3273mm wheelbase is 73mm longer and its 11.94-metre turning circle is less than a metre larger.

The driver’s cabin is comfortable and spacious, with a bright and airy feel thanks largely to conspicuously large glass areas. There’s also ample leg and headroom for a crew of three adults on the rear bench seat, which is comfortable even though it has no adjustments. Our only gripe is the continued lack of a fold-down inboard armrest on the driver’s seat.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

The new Euro 5-compliant 2.2-litre turbo-diesel, with common-rail fuel injection and variable vane turbocharging, produces 130kW at 3800rpm and 430Nm of torque between 1500-2500rpm.

So, it’s slightly smaller than the iLoad’s 2.5-litre unit with negligible differences in output. However, it has superior flexibility, with ample torque served at full strength across a much broader 1000rpm-wide torque band along with better fuel economy.

The new Euro 5-compliant 2.2-litre turbo-diesel. (Image: Mark Oastler) The new Euro 5-compliant 2.2-litre turbo-diesel. (Image: Mark Oastler)

It’s paired with a Hyundai-developed eight-speed torque converter automatic (iLoad was five-speed). This refined transmission offers crisp and smooth self-shifting plus the option of sequential manual-shifting and four drive modes comprising Normal, Eco, Sport and Smart. The latter mode automatically switches between the other three in response to driving behaviour, to optimise efficiency and performance.  

How much fuel does it consume?

Our 362km road test comprised a mix of Normal and Sport driving modes in city, suburban and highway driving, with about one third of that distance carrying a big payload. Hyundai claims an official combined figure of 7.0L/100km and the dash display was showing 8.1 when we stopped to refuel. However, our figure calculated from fuel bowser and tripmeter readings came in at 9.9, so based on our numbers you could expect a ‘real world’ driving range of around 750km from its 75-litre tank.

How practical is the space inside?

When you deduct the Crew Van’s 2002kg kerb weight from its 3020kg GVM, you’re left with 1018kg or just over one tonne of payload capacity - and up to 100kg of that can be carried on the roof.

It’s also rated to tow up to 2500kg of braked trailer, which is a 1000kg or one tonne increase over the iLoad. And with a big 5520kg GCM (or how much it can legally carry and tow at the same time) the Staria-Load can legally tow that weight while carrying its maximum payload.

  • 2022 Hyundai Staria-Load I Boot 2022 Hyundai Staria-Load I Boot
  • 2022 Hyundai Staria-Load I Boot 2022 Hyundai Staria-Load I Boot

Sounds impressive, but the tow-ball download (TBD) limit is only 100kg. Given that TBD is typically around 10 per cent of trailer weight, from our experience you would be hard pressed to keep the TBD under 100kg with a trailer weighing 2500kg.

New chassis and body architecture has resulted in a cargo bay that’s larger in all key dimensions, along with a lower loading height and wider sliding side-door openings, which all have obvious benefits for the five-seater.

The crew area is accessed through those sliding doors on each side and a single-lift tailgate or optional twin barn doors at the rear. The cabin bulkhead with integral window is a moulded composite structure that provides both acoustic insulation from rear tyre noise and an effective cargo barrier.

New chassis and body architecture has resulted in a cargo bay that’s larger in all key dimension. (Image: Mark Oastler) New chassis and body architecture has resulted in a cargo bay that’s larger in all key dimension. (Image: Mark Oastler)

Cargo bay load floor is 1750mm long and 1640mm wide with 1250mm between the wheel housings, so it can also take either one Aussie pallet or two Euro pallets. It also offers a cavernous 2.89 cubic metres of load volume.

Cabin storage sets a new benchmark for crew vans, with a large-bottle holder and bin in each front door, large overhead shelves on each side, single glove-box, small-bottle/cup holder and storage tray on the top of the dash and more storage shelves and a pop-out small-bottle/cup holder in the central fascia. Between the front seats is a large box with sliding lid, which serves as a handy desk when closed and allows access to a cavernous storage space below containing two more small-bottle/cup holders.

Large-bottle holder and bin in each front door. (Image: Mark Oastler) Large-bottle holder and bin in each front door. (Image: Mark Oastler)

Back seat passengers also benefit from this box, with rear access to pop-out small-bottle/cup holders and a large drawer. An unusual but welcome crew van storage idea is the front-hinged rear seat base-cushion, which rotates forward through 90 degrees to an upright position revealing two large bins beneath it. The door linings are also unusually generous for this vehicle type, by providing twin bottle holders and bins on each side. And there’s even more storage space between the back seat and bulkhead.

What’s it like as a daily driver?

The driver’s seat offers good comfort and support. There’s also a well-placed left footrest which combined with the soft and grippy feel of the two-way adjustable steering wheel makes it easy for most drivers to find a comfortable position.

The tops of the doors are relatively low, at about hip height when seated, which affords excellent side vision. That’s particularly welcome on the left-hand side sliding-door, in minimising the large blind-spot over the driver’s left shoulder.

Two-way adjustable steering wheel. (Image: Mark Oastler) Two-way adjustable steering wheel. (Image: Mark Oastler)

The stand-alone instrument housing is positioned well ahead of the driver, with speed and rpm displayed in large digits that are easy to read. The housing’s forward positioning is also safer as it requires minimal change of the driver’s eyeline from the road.

Handling, ride quality and noise suppression are excellent and in Normal mode the eight-speed automatic keeps the engine within its 1500-2500rpm peak torque zone in most city and suburban driving. This ensures a strong surge of acceleration is readily on tap, particularly from standing starts, while at highway speeds it will also cruise comfortably under 2000rpm.

Hyundai has effectively removed all blind-spots, with its surround view monitor (SVM) that’s standard issue with single-lift tailgates. (Image: Mark Oastler) Hyundai has effectively removed all blind-spots, with its surround view monitor (SVM) that’s standard issue with single-lift tailgates. (Image: Mark Oastler)

Our preference was to drive in Sport mode, which lives up to its name with surprisingly spirited response. The eight-speed automatic also responds well to manual-shifting, which again is at its best when used with Sport mode. The one-touch active cruise control is easy to engage and works well.

Hyundai has also effectively removed all blind-spots, with its surround view monitor (SVM) that’s standard issue with single-lift tailgates. This allows the reversing camera to remain on when driving to allow constant surveillance of road conditions and trailers behind. There are also four cameras placed around the vehicle which provide different views to scroll through when parking or maneuvering in tight spots, including a commanding 360-degree ‘bird’s eye’ view.

What’s it like for tradie use?

We loaded 650kg into the cargo bay which combined with accessories and crew equalled a total payload of 900kg, that was about 100kg under its maximum rating.

Even with the bulk of this cargo positioned on or behind the rear axle line, there was still a good 40mm of static bump-stop clearance remaining in the rear leaf springs, which ensured sure-footed support with no bottoming-out over bumps.

With accessories and crew equalled a total payload of 900kg. (Image: Mark Oastler) With accessories and crew equalled a total payload of 900kg. (Image: Mark Oastler)

Steering and braking were also largely unaffected and in Normal mode the drivetrain scoffed at our 13 per cent gradient 2.0km-long set climb, self-shifting down to fourth gear and maximum torque at around 2000rpm to easily pull this load to the top. Engine-braking on the way down was not as robust, but in our experience not unexpected in small displacement (sub-3.0L) turbo-diesels.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

The Staria-Load’s five-star ANCAP rating (achieved in 2021) and multitude of advanced active safety features is unmatched in the mid-sized van class. These include several that are unique in this market including forward collision avoidance assist – junction turning, rear blind-spot collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic avoidance assist, front centre airbag and surround view monitor.

Curiously, it also has a rear occupant alert which prevents the unintentional leaving behind of children or pets, but the rear seat has no ISOFIX or top-tether child seat anchorage points. However, there are aftermarket solutions for this.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

The Staria-Load is covered by Hyundai's five years/160,000km warranty with scheduled servicing every 12 months/15,000km whichever occurs first. Total capped-price servicing for the first five scheduled services is $1800, or $360 per service.

Hyundai has done an outstanding job in creating a new crew van that excels in performance and comfort while setting new benchmarks for safety and cabin storage. A fold-down inboard armrest for the driver’s seat, a more realistic tow-ball download limit and rear child-seat restraints are the only significant improvements we can suggest, for what is a worthy successor to the iLoad.

$45,740

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

4.5/5

Tradies score

4.5/5
Price Guide

$45,740

Based on new car retail price

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.