Feature: all-new Hyundai Staria MPV in Malaysia

Hyundai Staria 2.2 Premium, the MPV aimed at the executive market but does it hit the mark? We had a pre-launch preview.

Most MPVs in Malaysia are family vehicles first. Depending on the marque and model, the income profiles vary but they were intended as family transporters although the Toyota Alphard has gained popularity as a symbol of business and social success with businessmen and MPs frequently seen stepping out from the recesses of the darkened windows.

Hyundai-Sime Darby pitches their Hyundai Staria 2.2 Premium as a people carrier for the executive user with relaxed comfort in yacht-like surroundings prioritised: suedette door panels, 10-colour dimmable ambient lighting, directional air vents in the ceiling and doors, floor ventilation and second row executive leather seats with heat, ventilation and multiple angles of recline and leg rests to support weary calves. There’s also a 12-speaker Bose Audio System.

The Hyundai Staria is assembled in Korea. There are seven exterior colours available. The radiator grille, outside mirrors, door handles, headlamp surrounds, 18-inch wheels and Hyundai emblem can be specced in either Tinted Brass Chrome or Dark Grey to individualise the MPV.

There might be some confusion between the Staria and another Hyundai MPV, the Grand Starex. A quick summary of the differences are:

  • The Staria is a seven seater while the Grand Starex, 11.
  • The Staria, on an all-new MPV platform is longer than the Grand Starex by a few millimetres.
  • The Staria is front-wheel drive, has a 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine which produces 177bhp at 3800rpm and 431Nm of torque at 1500-2500rpm, with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
  • The Grand Starex is rear-wheel driven with a 2.5-litre turbodiesel engine, 168bhp at 3600rpm and 441nm of torque at 2000rpm, five-speed automatic gearbox.

The Staria engine has lower output but it weighs less than the Grand Starex because it is constructed from high strength steel, advanced high strength steel and ultra high strength steel, all of which weigh less than conventional steel and is more rigid for better safety. The reduced weight gives it at a slight advantage over the Grand Starex for straight line performance.

The front and rear lights are LED cubes which give the Staria’s lights a distinctive, modern box pattern design.

The glasshouse is large and there is a high roofline and two sunroofs which makes the cabin bright and airy.

The cabin comfort controls are on a glossy black panel mounted at a 90º angle to the centre console. We are still undecided whether this is futuristic or awkward. There is an eight-inch touchscreen panel to access the infotainment features which includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with voice recognition.

Below the panel is the gear selector, R, N and D buttons, with the P by the side on its own. The transmission is fly-by-wire. Gear changes made on the steering-mounted paddle-shifts.

The traditional dashboard with the instrument cluster under a moulded cowl has been replaced by a single screen mounted in a recess in front of the driver. The 10.25-inch LCD screen looks more like a displaced infotainment screen but all the relevant information for driver is there. The display changes according to the drive mode: Eco, Normal, Sport, Smart. In each mode the meters have a distinctive colour and style.

The driver gets an eight-way adjustable seat with four-way lumbar support while the front passenger gets just four-way adjustment. Between the front seats is a large storage console which houses four of the 18 cupholders in the Staria. The large console demarcates the front from the two other rows.

The middle row has two arm chair-style executive seats. Similar in design to the driver’s seat but larger and plusher, they have more adjustments, one-touch operation and leg rests. There is space between the seats to walk to the rear three seat bench. The mid and third rows can be moved along a track to vary legroom and the volume of the rear cargo area. The seats have a long sliding range of 300mm each. The backs of the third row seats can also be folded down and the bench flipped up to flatten the seats in order to expand the space for carrying goods. The cargo area volume, by VDA standards, is 431 litres when the third row seats are in standard position.

The highlights of the Staria are its safety and its convenience features. It comes packed with the kit which any good manufacturer would now include as standard: six airbags, ABS, ESC, VSM, EBD, TCS, Hill-start control. In addition, there is Hyundai SmartSense, a combination of passive and active safety features with alerts for different situations when sensors detect the driver is inattentive and needs a reminder and or help.

  • Blind-spot Collision Assist
  • Blind-spot View Monitor
  • Rear Cross Traffic Collision Assist
  • Lane Keeping Assist
  • Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go
  • Forward Collision Avoidance Assist
  • Safe Exit Assist
  • Rear Occupant Alert
  • High Beam Assist
  • Parking Distance Warning
  • Surround View Monitor
  • Driver Attention Warning
  • Leading Vehicle Departure Alert

There are numerous innovative convenience features. Our two favourites are the walk-in device on the front passenger seat – a one touch button on the right hand shoulder to reposition the seat and make it easier for the rear passengers to get in and out. Very useful if the last person in the front seat left it extended all the way back, in a reclined position.

The other favourite was Smart key with Push Start Button. The key does the standard lock and unlock actions but it also opens and closes the sliding doors – left, right or both . There is also Remote Start which enables the driver to start the car from up to 50m away. Cool it down (or heat it up), the cabin is at a comfortable temperature by the time you get in.

The Staria will definitely be one of the better-looking and better specced MPVs on the road. It will also be more stylish than some of its Japanese counterparts, some of which have descended into cartoon country. Although this one is front wheel drive, in Korea, four-wheel drive is available which, seeing as the Staria is built-to-order, should be make it a possible future option.

The price of the Hyundai Staria Premium was not available when we previewed the car.

On Wednesday 27 October, the Hyundai Staria Premium was launched and the price announced. It is

  • RM358,888 with a two-year or 50,000km (whichever comes first) warranty
  • or RM368,888 with a five-year or 300,000km (whichever comes first) warranty and three-years or 50,000km (whichever comes first) free maintenance service.

The prices are for Peninsula Malaysia. On-the-road price is inclusive of the Penjana Sales Tax waiver but excludes insurance.