January 17, 2023 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Isabel N. Delos Reyes

2023 Hyundai Stargazer GLS Premium

The Miniature Staria with the iconic Disco name

Mostly only folks of a certain age will fondly remember and celebrate the Philippines’ answer to New York’s Studio 54: Louie Ysmael’s legendary Stargazer discotheque at the Silahis International Hotel. I am certainly one of them and I still lament the fabulous days of festive dancing and frivolity. So, even if the Hyundai Korea team responsible for the development of the newest compact multi-passenger vehicle in the country were not aware of the void to fill with the use of such a moniker for our Philippine market, whether they were thinking about the flower, the fish, or literally the act, I definitely had very high expectations with their all-new entry.

Using the full maximum length of the joint Hyundai-Kia K2 scalable platform intended for B and C segment vehicles, the all-new Hyundai Stargazer hugely resembles its significantly larger full-size Staria minivan sibling to favorable effect. It is built at the PT Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Indonesia (HMMI) manufacturing plant located in Cikarang, Bekasi Regency, West Java, Indonesia.

The top-spec Hyundai Stargazer GLS Premium, here tested in Magnetic Silver Metallic exterior with charcoal grey synthetic leather interior, has plenty of attractive design features to differentiate itself from its direct competition. That direct competition is now more formidable than ever before led by the all-new Honda BR-V, the multi-award-winning Mitsubishi Xpander, the dual Toyota’s Avanza and Veloz, and the newly released Suzuki Ertiga Mild Hybrid.

The Toyota Veloz V is the only current compact MPV in the segment that has rear disc brakes, all the rest of the category all use rear drum brakes, and all use their own independent Macpherson struts up front and rear torsion-beam suspension setups on variable monocoque chassis. The Honda BR-V has the most athletic powerplant and the only one to have variable seating for the most versatile interior capacity configurations. The Stargazer has the second most powerful powerplant currently available in the segment. The segment standard, since its launch in 2017, has been the Mitsubishi Xpander. With the new revised Xpander Cross launching after this writing, we will assess which compact MPV will be the new leader of the segment before the grand Daddy of them all in our market, the all-new 3rd generation Toyota Innova mid-size MPV is also launched.

The Hyundai Stargazer currently has the longest wheelbase in the segment and it travels with a lower ground clearance than its direct competition. It feels the most spacious in its class by its bulbous design, lower seat height and tall ceiling.  The second row can be adjusted fore and aft to optimize space with the third row. The front passenger seat has a retractable tray that can carry up to 3.5 kgs of weight, good enough to hold a laptop in place while you keep the device charging with the extra USB ports found behind the front center armrest. Speaking of armrest, the substantial unit found in the center of the second row makes the seats function closer to actual captain chairs.

Like in most Hyundai models today, the Stargazer comes with multiple drive modes that alter the behavior of the throttle, electronics, and transmission at a touch of a button that also changes the colors of the instrumentation background which you can also customize through the sharp 8-inch center infotainment system that also displays the guided reverse camera and manages the Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity applications. The sound quality from the standard 6-speakers were pretty good and above average for the segment. The wireless smartphone charger is an excellent feature along with the numerous storage compartments and cupholders (the center console are backlit even). The cruise control is conventional as well as the manual handbrake.

There is quite a sea of plastics, seems to have more hard surfaces than its competition but thankfully the quality is very good. With the name Stargazer, I did expect to be able to see the stars through a panoramic moonroof and have adjustable ambient interior lighting. The exterior light show is great though I wish Hyundai applied its energy saving and bright illumination exercises to all the sources from the front fog lamp to the rear license plate.

As an initial crack at a very competitive segment, the Hyundai Stargazer is very compelling. The intelligent CVT is a huge factor that makes the compact MPV fuel efficient with elastic power delivery. Aesthetically, the overall design is very good though you would think it would have been packaged even better with electrification.

Specification – 2023 Hyundai Stargazer GLS Premium

Engine: Inline-4

Location: Front, Transverse

Displacement: 1497 cc

Cylinder block: Cast Aluminum

Cylinder head: Cast Aluminum, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, D-CVVT

Fuel Injection: Multi-Port

Max power: 114 bhp @ 6300 rpm

Max torque: 106 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm

Transmission: Intelligent Continuously Variable Transmission, front-wheel-drive.

Front suspension: Independent MacPherson Strut, dampers with anti-roll bar.

Rear suspension: Torsion-beam, coil springs, and dampers.

Fuel Capacity: 40 liters (10.6 gallons)

Ground Clearance: 185 mm

Load Capacity: 200 liters with third row fixed. 585 liters with third row folded.

L x W x H: 4460 mm x 1780 mm x 1695 mm

Wheelbase: 2780 mm

Brakes: Front 11-inch (279 mm) ventilated discs with 1-piston calipers / Rear 9-inch (229 mm) drum, ABS, Electric Stability Control, HSC, and Hyundai Smartsense Technology.

Wheels: 16”x 6.5J complex two-tone alloys

Tires: 205/55R16 91H Kumho Solus HS63

Weight: (kerb) 1270 kg. (2794 lbs.)

0-100 km/h (0-62 mph): 11.3 seconds

Top Speed (mph): 187 km/h (117 mph)

Fuel Mileage: 6.1 L/100km (Overall)

Price as tested: PhP 1,218,000.00 (with the promotional price discount of P40,000.00)

C! RATING 9/10

+Genuine segment challenger, smooth transmission, attractive unique design, neat signature LED lighting, clear rear camera even in the dark, wireless smartphone charger, fuel efficient, versatile and spacious, 5-year/200,000-kilometer factory warranty.

NVH can be improved more, more traditional halogen lighting than expected, instrument graphics could be much better with the option of more attractive designs and analog dials, choppy ride, rear drum brake.

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