Ever wondered why Hyundai doesn't offer a compact MPV? Sure, they have the Grand Starex which is practically one of their most important models to this day, but that is a full-sized van. What they need is a smaller, more compact people carrier that they can sell at a more affordable price.
With help from Kia via the Carnival, it looks like Hyundai will soon be joining the compact seven-seater market with the 2021 Custo. Spotted over in China a few days ago, the soon-to-be-launched MPV will supposedly be made by Beijing-Hyundai, will feature a unique design inside and out, and is reportedly based on the Carnival's platform.
While it does have the shape of an MPV, the Custo's front fascia looks to be SUV-inspired with its bold front grille and sweeping headlights. It also has a cool set of alloy wheels, full-width taillights, and blacked-out accents. Unlike typical MPVs however, the Custo comes with rear sliding doors for easier ingress/egress. This further implies that the Custo could be based on the much larger Kia Carnival.
As for the interior, it looks like the Hyundai Custo will have a high-tech and luxurious cabin. Based on the images, the Custo can come with captain seats on the second row (making it a six-seater rather than seven), rear aircon vents with a separate climate control panel, as well as rear USB charging ports.
Other parts of the cabin feature piano-black accents, faux metal finishes, and high-quality leather. The driver, on the other hand, gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a button-style gear selector, high-tech touchscreens for the infotainment and climate control, and a fully-digital instrument display.
Under the hood, the 2021 Custo will supposedly be powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine. It will reportedly put out 237 PS, and 353 Nm of torque. Power will then sent to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
With the 2021 Custo set to be launched in China this October, Hyundai may have just what they need in the MPV/7-seater market. But could the 2021 Custo be a hit in the Philippines? Well, with its dual sliding-doors, it just might. Whether someone is seated at the right side or left side of the vehicle, they will be able to get out of the vehicle faster.
More importantly, passengers will be able to get out of the Custo safer since they can immediately step down to the curb instead of oncoming traffic, no matter which side of the vehicle they're on. For malls with drop-off points on the traffic side (like Greenhills and SM Megamall), Custo's dual sliding doors will surely make for safer exiting/entering a vehicle.
Could the Custo be offered outside of China once it's launched? Well, with Hyundai Asia Resources Inc (HARI) already sourcing the Reina from China, perhaps there is a possibility of it being offered here in the future. But the bigger question is, can the Custo co-exist with the Grand Starex?