March 01, 2023 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Isabel N. Delos Reyes

2023 Hyundai Staria Premium+ AWD

The Revolutionary People Mover

The brilliant all-new 2023 Hyundai Staria MPV has finally officially arrived and is available for immediate sale replacing the ubiquitous long-serving Starex. The Hyundai Starex has finally been supplanted after its incredibly successful model run from 1997 to 2022, that is a solid 25-year success story! Heck, during that period we have owned several models from both generations of the Starex in our C! Fastfleet ourselves.

The long wait was absolutely worth it too for many reasons that include the establishment of the new Hyundai Philippines distributor Hyundai Motor Philippines, Inc. (HMPH) as well as receiving the most updated model variants of the Staria as well. In fact, ironically, there is an interesting parallel with the foundation of the previous official Hyundai distributor, Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), responsible for the brand in the Philippines since 2001. The domestic grey market sold the Hyundai Starex for several years before it was finally sold officially by HARI. I was one of these early adopters having been one of the very first in the country to buy a Starex Club model in 1998. This time around in current times, the grey market once again took the opportunity to sell the most kitted outgoing Starex models as well as introduce the all-new Staria replacement to the local market before HMPH began official operations.

To be frank, we weren’t too sold on the initial grey market Staria’s even if they were fully optioned and fairly supported mainly because they did not look fully polished. We respect the avant-garde modern styling but somehow the “face” looked rushed and the odd alloy designs were also not too attractive. Before HMPH launched the Staria in the Philippines we even felt that the model combined with the application of a detuned (by 22 bhp and 8 lb-ft of torque) RII 2.2-liter turbodiesel engine would not age well. We currently still have an endearing late 2018 Kia Grand Carnival EX in our C! Fastfleet that uses the old RII engine but with the full 197 bhp and 325 lb-ft of torque mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox which is smaller and lighter than the Staria Premium+ AWD so I felt that Hyundai HQ was trying to keep its latest minivan friendly against the new Kia Carnival which is leagues better and larger than its predecessor and is powered by the more potent and lighter Smartstream D4HE engine.

But then HMPH launched with what you see here in combination Creamy White and Tinted Brass (Bronze), the Hyundai Staria Premium+ AWD which is essentially the more upscale Lounge model in other markets. It is also available in Abyss Black Pearl with the contrasting Tinted Brass for the 7-seater AWD Premium+ variants. The 11-seater GLS+ model is less expensive but loses a significant amount of essential standard kit. There are also 6-speed manual variants for cargo and commercial use. Not only are the aesthetics of the Premium+ model significantly redesigned beginning with the exquisite mesh-patterned front radiator grille that matches tastefully and elegantly with the front and rear bumper lip garnishes as well the mirrors and door handles, but even the full-LED headlights were also redesigned and are more powerful. The new complex alloys also match with the contrasting tinted brass finish. The signature front hood DRL is very cool, as well as the futuristic signature rear parametric pixel lights.

Compared to its rear-wheel driven commercial chassis Starex predecessor, the primarily front-wheel driven Staria uses an even longer version of the Hyundai-Kia N platform (by 183 mm) shared with the award-winning current Kia Carnival, so the wheelbase is 73 mm longer, the body is 103 mm longer, 77 mm wider, and 55 mm taller. The transmission gained 3 more gears, and the suspension is now fully independent. The brakes on the Staria are appropriately larger than the Kia Carnival given that it is much larger and heavier too.

If the exterior doesn’t enthrall you then the glorious new interior will for sure with its elegant embroidered brown two-tone Nappa leather, 7-seater “premium relaxation seats” with powered ottomans and climate control on the second-row captain chairs, dual moonroofs, 12-speaker Bose® audio, 64-color ambient mood lights, abundant storage compartments and power outlets for everyone’s devices, a wireless smartphone charger in the dashboard, paddleshifts, 10.25-inch TFT LCD Instrument Cluster with blindspot projection (BVM), 4-drive modes, floating shift-by-wire transmission, 8-inch Display Audio with wireless Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto Smartphone integration and 360-degree camera parking assist, front and rear sonar, powered dual side doors and trunk, both the second and third row slide fore and aft easily to optimize passenger comfort, electrochromatic rearview mirror, and the largest greenhouse in the business. The sliding doors have manual sliding windows while the third row passengers can also open their windows with a manual crank, both having additional retractable sunshades. All in a very quiet and safe cabin with a Five-star ANCAP rating with multiple passenger airbags and a myriad of active and passive safety measures.

The HTRAC AWD system always runs intelligently in the background as you drive but the system can be locked via toggle switch for an even torque split up to approximately 65 km/h. The HTRAC system has no differentials but works well nonetheless to keep the Staria safe and on track especially on wet and unpaved roads. Depending on the selected drive modes the system will also adjust the distribution of power as follows: Comfort – Power is split approximately 70/30 between the front and rear wheels for stable control is all weather conditions, Smart or Eco – Majority of power is sent to the front wheels for improved fuel efficiency, and Sport – Up to 50% of the torque is sent to the rear wheels for dynamic control and greater agility.

The Kia Carnival is naturally still more agile and swifter given that it uses a more potent powerplant in a smaller package, but for maximum passenger and driver comfort (the front seats also have climate control), space, luggage capacity, semi-all-terrain versatility, and multi-passenger luxury, the all-new Hyundai Staria is an efficient and great looking superstar. We loved it so much that we bought one and hope to acquire a second unit for the C! Fastfleet!

Specification – 2023 Hyundai Staria Premium+ AWD

Engine: Inline-4

Location: Front, Transverse

Displacement: 2199 cc

Cylinder block: Compacted Graphite Iron

Cylinder head: Cast Aluminum, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder

Fuel Injection: Direct Injection Commonrail Intercooled E-VGT Turbodiesel

Max power: 174 bhp @ 3800 rpm

Max torque: 317 lb-ft @ 1500-2500 rpm

Transmission: 8-speed Automatic with Active On-Demand 4WD, Primarily Front-Wheel-Driven

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

Rear suspension: Independent multi-link, dampers and anti-roll bar.

Fuel Capacity: 75 liters (19.8 gallons)

Load Capacity: 1303 liters (behind 2nd row) / 831 liters (behind 3rd row)

Ground Clearance: 186 mm

Wading Depth: 350 mm

Approach Angle: 17.6 degrees

Departure Angle: 19.3 degrees

Ramp-over angle: 14.9 degrees

L x W x H: 5253 mm x 1997 mm x 1990 mm

Wheelbase: 3273 mm

Brakes: Front 13.6-inch (345 mm) ventilated discs with 2-piston calipers / Rear 12.8-inch (325 mm) vented discs with single piston calipers Integrated Electric Parking Brake, ABS, BA, HAC, MCB, TCS, VSM, EBD with Hyundai SmartSense™

Wheels: 18”x 7J Complex Tinted Brass Two-tone Aluminum Alloys.

Tires: P235/55R18 104H Kumho PorTran KC53

Weight: (kerb) 2255 kg. (4961 lbs.)

0-100 km/h (0-62 mph): 10.7 seconds

Top Speed (mph): 192 km/h (120 mph)

Fuel Mileage: 8.1 L/100 kms. overall

Price as tested: PhP 2,930,000.00 (GLS+ 11-seater retails for PhP 2,320,000.00 / the Commercial Variants are the 6MT Cargo at PhP 1,560,000.00 and the 6MT Commuter at PhP 1,850,000.00)


C! RATING 10/10

+The new Luxury MPV standard. Elegant. Optimal packaging with full options as standard. Standout looks inside and out. The most spacious and most comfortable in its class. Intelligent AWD HTRAC system. Fabulous 12-speaker Bose® audio. 5-year 200,000-kilometer factory warranty.

Only wish it used the updated more powerful and lighter Smartstream D4HE engine used in the Kia Carnival instead of the RII D4HB engine. Single rear reverse light and standard rear license plate bulbs.

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