Driven: The Hyundai Staria

“I’d buy that for a dollar!” Urgh, my love of Sci-Fi has me obsessing over the Robocop-like styling of the new Hyundai Staria. So I’ve given the task of an impartial review to Brent vd Schyff instead. Over to him.

Hot topic around the Staria involves the futuristic design. It’s the polarisation moment this segment needed. A stylistic bus? Yes, A Stylistic bus! Think Robocop (oh no, he did it too – Ed) meets Iron Man, inspiring the design. Even though there’s been a few murmurs here and there, against such a bold move forward, regardless of which side of the fence you sit, it’s certainly created a wave.

As celestial as the name suggest, space is what you get but a different type of space on the inside. Bigger, wider, and longer than the outgoing H1. All resulting in a rather uber posh and comfortable experience for your passengers. It may be a bit of a challenge when it comes to the tight confines of city life and that pressured entry into parking lots. On the open road, covering wide areas of commuting, this carrier will offer the premium experience and leave your guests/travellers well rested for whatever waits on the other side. Tender deals, wine tour experiences or family holidays Hyundai has you covered with the Staria. Chop chop. The only thing you’ll have to ensure is packing in the padkos.

It achieves this extra space by transversally mounting the engine and sending power to the front wheels, freeing up extra space as opposed to the H1 which was rear-wheel drive. The driving experience from the 2.2 diesel for a big car like this is refreshing. Although on launch, we never quite got to test the Staria under load, the car does grip and move across through the bends of clarence drive with aspiration. Not quite your I30N in the handling department but it’s a bus so it shouldn’t be.

The base spec exec ticks all the boxes for what it’s needed and at that sort of pricing it’s hard to ignore. But if you’re hunting for a more premium experience then have a look at the luxury 9-seater option which has more tricks up its sleeve and at the price, you’re getting a lot of car. The swivel seats. The configuration of the seating. The captain’s seating. For a luxury transporter, this ticks all those needs. Nothing is boring about this design both inside and out. The boldness of the design outside creeps its way inside.

The taillight cluster borders on a ‘China Town’ moment and the general trend of designers to push the envelope of light design is clear. But Hyundai gets a pass on this as the rest of the car is well thought out.

Want a four-wheel-drive option? Yes, there is an option for a four-wheel drive, but Hyundai South Africa says that there aren’t plans on getting it Mzansi side anytime yet. Time will tell.

Hyundai has done a number on this one. A good one at that. If we as the general bus fan population can be wedged away from the mainstream options and give it a chance, we may be pleasantly surprised. The pricing and the success track of Hyundai in this segment are all in support that they’re moving in the right direction and should be considered.

Likes:
– Futuristic design
– Modern Interior
– Level of comfort and list of options
– Competitive pricing

Dislikes:
– No four-wheel-drive option to comprehensively take on the competition
– Power could be a little on the low side compared to the rivals.
– The large size of Staria for city driving

Pricing and models:
Staria R2.2 Executive 9-Seater AT: R789 900
Staria R2.2 Executive 11-Seater AT: R799 900
Staria R2.2 elite 9-Seater AT: R959 900
Staria R2.2 Luxury 9-Seater AT: 1099 900

*7 year 200,000km Manufacturer’s warranty
7 year/105000km service plan – luxury
6 year/ 90000km service plan – Executive & Elite
7 year/150000km roadside assistance

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