Launch Report: 2021 Hyundai Staria

Welcome to the year 2030!

Hyundai has released the all-new Staria which replaces the H1 in it’s entirety! I’ll never forget when Toyota released the Previa (years ago) which seemed like they had imported it from the future. Do you also remember their TV ad, stating ‘I have never seen anything like it before’?

Well, the Staria is not just one decade ahead of its time, but originates from another galaxy. With all the launches I have been on, I have never seen the crowd bending backwards just to earn more viewing time with this bus passing. One spectator even suggested that it has to be an EV.

When we saw the invite pictures, we initially thought “this be true?” Well, upon arrival on launch day, it looked even better in the flesh. For the first time, I was excited to drive a bus! And I can say for sure, tt does not feel like a heavy lump, like most do. It’s more MPV-like and feels quite light on its feet.

…excited to drive a bus!

We drove off from Erinvale Hotel near Somerset West after a lovely breakfast, and headed towards Hermanus via Clarence drive. From the go, the vehicle felt nimble and actually handled quite well for its weighty size.

We are not going into so much detail for now, like cup holder counts, and centre screen size, as we know that these days people google their way through the internet quite well when they need to make important decisions.

Let’s just emphasise some key factors for now:

The Staria range  will be available in 2 to 11 seat configurations, and initially in South Africa will be launched with three variants: the Luxury, Elite and Executive, with different seating configurations, features and trim levels. Next year, a Staria Panel Van and a versatile five-seater version, similar to the previous H1 Multicab will be added.

Exterior Styling: (key features)

Apart from the unique rounded off grill, with horizontal daytime running lights and a positioning lamp, two low-set headlamps are integrated into the wide grille with the same architectural style.

The luxury model employs exclusive brass chrome finishing, imported all the way from Carrol Boyes to add to the model’s premium look. It really works!

Ever heard of panoramic ‘side’ windows? Hyundai invented it with the Staria. Open the window and you almost feel like sitting outside. Kruger National Park, we are on our way. The design theme carries over towards the rear with a wide window supported by vertical tail lamps.

The Staria is available in five exterior colours: Abyss Black Pearl, Creamy White, Graphite Grey Metallic, Moonlight Blue Pearl and Shimmering Silver Metallic.

Then some interior stand-outs:

The obvious 8-inch screen we will test properly when we drive a test unit for a week, hopefully very soon. Like in the luxury Palisade, there is no gear lever, but a very easy to use, button type selector for the Luxury and Elite versions.

A real stand-out feature is an innovative blind spot monitor in the Luxury derivative, that shows an image in the 10.2-inch Supervision instrument cluster in front of the driver, replacing either the rev counter (for right turn) or speedometer (left turn) momentarily with a real-time rear-view image.

The engine bay:

Contrary to the rear wheel drive H1, the Staria is driven through the front wheels by the improved 2.2 L VGT turbo-diesel engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It puts out 130 kW with torque peaking at 430 Nm.

The improved ride comfort is a result of mechanical upgrades thanks to the application of a multi-link suspension at the rear axle for the Luxury, Elite and Executive models. A rigid rear axle has been employed in the Staria Panel Van.


The Luxury and Elite versions offer a host of extra safety features, such as Safe Exit Assist (SEA) which prevents the power sliding door from opening while a vehicle is passing by, and Rear Occupant Alert (ROA), which uses a radar sensor to detect and alert the driver if a rear passenger is left in the vehicle. How clever is that…


Staria R2.2 Executive 9-seater          R 789 900

Staria R2.2 Executive 11-seater        R 799 900

Staria R2.2 Elite 9-seater                   R 959 900

Staria R2.2 Luxury 9-seater               R 1099 900

Then, for all the derivatives, a 7-year/200 000 km manufacturer warranty and roadside assistance for 7 years or 150 000 km are included in the price for all models.

The Luxury version also comes with a 7-year/105 000 km service plan included as standard, while the Elite and Executive have a 6-year/90 000 km service plan.

Leave a Comment