In South Africa, the SUV rules the roost. But lately, the MPV has enjoyed a comeback, particularly the luxury models (such as the Mercedes-Benz V-Class and VW Caravelle) seeing great popularity with affluent parents.
The shuttle industry is also large in SA, with myriad hotel and tourism-related companies requiring luxury transport for clients. Hyundai has always been a leader in this segment, the H-1 model offering value-for-money, comfort and space.
Known as the Starex overseas, the H-1 has been available internationally since 2007. A facelift has kept the load-lugger fresh, but the Korean brand has decided it's time to replace the MPV with the futuristic looking Staria.
Priced from R789 900, the Staria R2.2 Executive 9-seater. The Executive trim level boasts an impressive array of features, with ISOFIX child seat anchorages, cruise control, an infotainment system with Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality, fold-away side mirrors and wireless phone charging are all made standard. An 11-seater model is also available, for an extra R10 000.
Next up is the Elite 9-seater, with a list price of R959 900. The bump in price also comes with a bump in equipment - tyre pressure monitors, “Smart Power” side sliding doors and a tailgate and rear window curtains add to the premium ambience. Naturally, the 8-inch infotainment system also has a rear park assist camera and parking sensors, front and rear. This is fitted to the Executive models as well. Elite models also gain front seat heating and cooling.
Heading up the range is the V-Class battling Luxury model. Available only as a 9-seater, the Luxury boasts some impressive amenities. Nappa leather seats are standard and available in a range of colours - brown, grey or black. A 12-speaker Bose sound system, a dual sunroof and a pre-collision avoidance system is also standard. Aside from the heated and cooled front seats found in the Elite, the Luxury model also gains this for second row passengers. R1099 900 gets you in the driver’s seat.
All models receive six airbags. Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist and Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist are also available in the top derivatives. An impressive feature found on the Elite and Luxury versions is the Safe Exit Assist feature, which doesn’t allow the door from opening “in a situation where a passenger attempts to open the power sliding door while a rear-side vehicle is passing by.” Lastly, Rear Occupant Alert makes use of a radar sensor to “detect and alert the driver if a rear passenger is left in the car after exiting the vehicle,” a boon for parents of small children.
All Staria models are powered by the same 2.2-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel motor. It produces 130 kW of power and a hearty 430 Nm of torque. This is sent to the wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The Staria receives Hyundai’s seven-year/200 000 km warranty, which offers roadside assistance for the same time period or 150 000 km. This is standard on all models.
While the Elite and Executive receive a six-year/90 000 km service plan, the range-topping Luxury gets an extra year and 15 000 km added to that, for a total of seven years and 105 000 km.