Staria Gazing

by Petrol Mum

The all-new Hyundai Staria is an eight-seat people mover based on a passenger car platform, with a bold exterior design and an interior packed full of handy features to make driving with up to seven passengers in the vehicle with you more enjoyable.

Hyundai claim the Staria is a “new frontier for people movers”, so I went for a road trip to one of the oldest observatories in Australia to check out what it has to offer. Tebbutt’s Observatory in Windsor NSW was built by John Tebbutt, a private astronomer and a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, in the 1870s. John Tebbutt made hundreds of notable observations over his lifetime and his image and the observatory was on the $100 note from 1984 to 1996.

I found that even though the Staria has a high driving position, it feels stable and not like you are in a boat. If you have passengers prone to motion sickness, this is a very good thing. The Staria is also large, both on the inside and out; it only just fitted into my garage! The spacious interior may also help with motion sickness as would the roof mounted air vents that are above the third and second row seats and the fact that all rear windows can be manually opened.

I drove the Staria Highlander powered by a 2.2 litre turbo-diesel engine with 130kW and 430Nm. The diesel variant comes with all-wheel drive and the option of 4WD lock while the V6 petrol-powered model is front-wheel drive only. The official combined fuel use is 8.2 L/100km and for my week with the Staria I used the same amount as this.

There are four drive modes to select from, Normal, Eco, Sport and Smart and I defaulted to Normal mode. I did find that the 8-speed automatic transmission struggled to find the correct gear and frequently the Staria would labor up a hill where I expected that it should change down a gear.

The Hyundai Staria model lineup was recently awarded with a 5-star ANCAP (2021) safety rating and an Adult Occupant Protection score of 32.38 points out of 38 (85%) and a Child Occupant Protection score of 42.32 points out of 49 (86%). Dual frontal, side chest-protecting and side head-protecting (curtain) airbags, plus a centre airbag which provides added protection to front seat occupants in side impact crashes are standard on all variants.

The Staria comes standard with a long list of Hyundai SmartSense safety features including Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Follow Assist, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist – Junction Turning, Smart Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, High Beam Assist, Safe Exit Warning and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance-Assist. The Highlander I drove also had a 360o rear view camera with front and rear sensors and 3D view, Safe Exit Assist and Blind-Spot View Monitor that displays a video in the driver’s dash when you indicate both left and right.

The ANCAP score for Safety Assist systems on the Staria is 74% and ANCAP tests of the autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system (Car-to-Car) system showed GOOD performance with collisions avoided or mitigated in most test scenarios and overall, the effectiveness of the AEB (Car-to-Car) system performance was rated as ADEQUATE. ANCAP tests of lane support system functionality showed GOOD performance in lane keep assist scenarios, and ADEQUATE performance in the more critical emergency lane keep scenarios with overall performance classified as GOOD.

The driver is well catered for in the Staria with a large digital dash and power adjusted seats for recline, forward/back, seat cushion height front and rear and 4-way lumbar adjustment, but there are no memory positions. The passenger seat only has manual adjustment for recline and forward/back, but both front seats are heated and cooled. The leather appointed steering wheel is also heated, an added benefit for those cold winter mornings.

Storage options are plentiful in the front of the Staria, with not one but three glove boxes across the dash. There are four different storage cubbies of varying sizes in the front doors, but my mum was a little confused by the cubby at the bottom of the door and almost stepped into it when she got out of the Staria because it was so big. The main centre console has removable cup holders and the space here would be large enough for a hand bag. Below the 10.25-inch infotainment screen there is a wireless charging pad for compatible devices and cubbies for your phone with two USB ports and one 12V outlet.

Apple CarPlay/Android Auto needs to be connected via a USB cord and the voice control for the infotainment system can only be used when this is done. And like other Hyundai vehicles the voice control is designated by a masculine looking silhouette on the steering wheel.

This eight-seater could actually accommodate eight adults and their belongings, something that all people movers cannot lay claim to. I found that head and leg room in the third row was adequate for me and I liked that the height of the headrests could be adjusted. To exit the third row, you pull on the red strap at the base of the second row seat and slide it forward.

There are no child seat restraint points fitted to third row and on the second row seats there are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points. Regarding car seats, the Staria has a good feature, on most three row vehicles you need to fold the second row down in order to access the third row. This can be difficult if you have a car seat fitted and in the Staria you don’t need to fold the second row, it can remain upright while the second row seat is manually slid forward and there is even enough room for adults to step into the third row.

There are separate climate controls for second/third row passengers with digital temperature/speed switches and mode selection located above the second row seat on the driver’s side or you can control the rear climate from the front of the vehicle. But of greatest importance, the speed controller for the second row does not adjust the air speed for front seat passengers, like in some other vehicles that I have recently driven. There are two USB ports for second row passengers at the rear of the centre console and there is one USB on each side of the vehicle for third row passengers.

I lost count of the number cup holders/storage cubbies in the Staria, but suffice to say you should be able to fit everything needed to keep eight people happy. Special mention goes to the hooks though at the back of the front seats, with my children using these to hand their masks on.

Some handy features if you have younger children include the manual blinds on all of the rear windows and removable carpet mats across the floors. There is also an internal rear view camera you can display this on the infotainment screen and therefore you don’t need to turn your head around to check what your children are doing. The sliding rear doors can be opened by the driver and the driver can also lock the rear doors so they can’t be opened by the passengers in the back.

The Staria tailgate is large, so you will need to make sure you have enough space behind you if you want to fully open it. The Highlander does have a Smart Tailgate that should automatically open when you approach the rear of the car with the key fob on you, but I could figure out how to make this work. It can also be opened/closed using the button under the boot lid, on the key fob or at the front of the cabin.

Like in the rest of the Staria, the amount of space available in the boot is plentiful, even with the third row seats fully back. If you want even more space, then you can fold up the cushions on the third row seats and push the seat forward and another 0.5 metres of space becomes available. There are no tie down points in the boot and only two useful hooks, but I did discover that the boot was the perfect height for sitting on and the tailgate provides a ‘verandah’ so you could watch you children playing sport is relative comfort. For convenience the full-size spare tyre is located under the vehicle.

All new Starias come with Hyundai iCare, with owner benefits including 5 year unlimited kilometre warranty, Complimentary Roadside Assist for 12 months on new vehicles, 1,500km complimentary first service, a dedicated Customer Care centre and myHyundai – an exclusive owner website. The Staria service interval is one year or 15,000km and owners can purchase the first five services up front for $1,800. When servicing with Hyundai, customers will also receive a Sat Nav update plan and a Roadside Support plan for up to 10 years.

The Hyundai Staria is an eight seat people mover that could actually move eight people and their belongings in comfort. The price for the 2.2 CRDi AWD Staria Highlander starts at $66,500 excluding dealer delivery and on-road costs. As tested with premium paint ($695) and Beige interior ($295) the Staria I drove was $67,490 excluding dealer delivery and on-road costs. Visit your preferred Hyundai dealer for more information about the all-new Staria people mover.

The spacious interiorThe large exterior
Boot can be used as a bench seatThe Smart Tailgate did not work for me
Internal rear view cameraNo child seat restraint points on third row seats

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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