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Hyundai Staria: First drive in the new luxury van

The new Hyundai Staria competes against Mercedes V-Class and VW Multivan. What the van can and cannot do is explained in the first driving report.

On these pages we often talk about different mobility concepts on the road, rail and in the air. Can't you combine that in one story? So it fits quite well that suddenly a black box turns the corner. A time machine? He could be from the future.

Clear shapes, a thin LED strip above deep headlights at the front and LED rear lights with a pixel look make the car look like a concept car on the way to the trade fair appearance. Then you hear the sound of a diesel engine and realize: The Hyundai Staria is driving in the here and now. What does all this have to do with road, rail and air? We clarify that in the following lines.

With the new Staria, Hyundai primarily wants to compete against the established Mercedes V-Class and VW Multivan vans in the MPV segment. The Koreans have already won the competition for their visual appearance. This is also shown by the looks of the passers-by who follow us during the first test drives.

ICE style in the cockpit

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Behind the large windshield, as a driver, you feel like the engine driver of an ICE - and we're already on the subject of rails. However, the Staria does not use rails, but it is also wonderful for collecting kilometers. The instruments are gathered on a digital display that is shown high up and close to the disc. So you look over the steering wheel rim at the monitor, in front of it there is still space for one of many storage compartments.

The navigation system, whose display uses the 10.25-inch touchscreen monitor in the center console, also shows the way with real-time traffic data thanks to online access.

The 2.2 liter diesel engine known from the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento works well insulated in the background. Here it delivers 130 kW /177 hp and makes its maximum torque of 430 Newton meters available from just 1,500 rpm. The standard eight-speed automatic transmission has an easy time moving the 2.4-ton van forward. 13.5 seconds for the acceleration from zero to 100 km/h are appropriate for its class, and a top speed of 185 km/h is more than sufficient. If you want to go faster, you have to take the ICE.

But you can also mumble "Thank you for traveling with us" to your passengers in the Hyundai Staria. And you don't even have to raise your voice. Because an intercom system allows relaxed communication inside the large box -Headlining camera also keep eye contact with the passengers

Business Class in the second row

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And that brings us to the topic of airplanes. Because the layout of the Staria interior is reminiscent of line machines. Behind the cockpit is Business Class.Here, the noble equipment line Signature, with which Hyundai starts selling the Staria, offers two comfort seats with heating and ventilation. They can be laid flat at the push of a button, and an additional leg rest ensures relaxation. Drinks find a safe place in the fold-out cup holder at the rear of the center console. Jackets or bags can be hung on the front seat backrests.

As in an airplane, you have to go through business class to get to the economy compartment. Because the large seats in the second row cannot be folded forward, so you find your way to the very back through the middle. A comfortable 3-seater bench seat awaits even tall people here. Ambient light, shelves and USB ports ensure suitability for everyday use. It's a shame: in contrast to the seats a row further forward, the seat has no Isofix anchorages for child seats.

The rear side windows can be opened manually. Electrical actuation, which can also be carried out from the driver's seat, would be more practical. At the back there is space for manageable luggage. Depending on the position of the rear seat bench, which can be slid on the rails in the floor, there is a volume of 117 to 431 liters left. Not enough for prams or dog box. Families, animal lovers or athletes with large equipment have to wait for less travel-oriented equipment variants of the Hyundai Staria.

Back on the road

So now that we've landed on the ground, we're getting back on the road. The chassis of the Hyundai Staria is quite tightly tuned. The dampers sometimes pass through dry frost or root cracks. There is no air suspension or adaptive dampers for the Staria, as offered by Mercedes or VW for an extra charge. Still, the tall Korean quickly lulls you in with its comfort. On the comfortable driver's seat you can enjoy the good view thanks to low window edges and the low noise level in the car.

According to the on-board computer, we used 9.8 liters of diesel on the test drives. There was no time to run empty and refuel, because with a generous 75 liter tank volume, the diesel Staria promises long ranges. Incidentally, the manufacturer specifies the WLTP standard value as 8.9 liters per 100 kilometers. Surprising detail: There is no automatic start-stop system to save fuel when stopping at traffic lights.

Only 1,500 kg trailer load

The optional all-wheel drive that our test car was equipped with usually sends 100 percent of the driving force to the front. Depending on requirements, he can make the distribution variable up to a 50/50 split. The even distribution on the front and rear axles can also be fixed at the push of a button. The 4WD option is particularly interesting for team drivers. With a trailer load of 1,500 kilograms, the Hyundai Staria throws itself into the limelight less well in this target group than the V-Class and T6.1 Multivan, the 2.500 kilograms on the hook.

Hyundai not only writes lower numbers in the data sheet, but also in the price list. The Hyundai Staria Signature, which is very well equipped as a signature with nappa leather, Bose sound system, navigation, 18-inch rims, dark windows in the rear and all kinds of driver assistance, including camera images from the blind spot warning system, costs from 56,150 euros, as an all-wheel drive version 58,150 euros. Mercedes V250d or VW Multivan are more expensive by a five-digit amount with comparable equipment. For this, the Hyundai customer has to do without adaptive headlights; the Staria's LEDs offer only a conventional high-beam assistant.

There is also little choice when it comes to body length. At 5.25 meters, the Hyundai Staria offers maximum space for passengers, but no longer fits in standard parking spaces. After all, it towers over the V-Class "Lang" by twelve centimetres. But you can also tackle underground and multi-storey car parks with the Korean, because at 1.99 meters its height is just under the maximum specified.

Conclusion

The Hyundai Staria impresses with its futuristic design and the high level of comfort in the Signature top model. The diesel engine suits the large touring car, but seems less future-oriented than the first impression might suggest. But an electric staria with a fuel cell has already been announced.

In terms of price, the luxury van is well below the competition. Compared to Mercedes and VW, the three-year guarantee fits. But not with a view to the rest of the Hyundai model range, where five years apply.

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