Well, this is a pleasant surprise.
Just weeks after Hyundai released a new teaser for the Starex/Staria, the South Korean automaker has now revealed the redesigned van. It's about time too, as the current Starex is now well over a decade old now.
The new-look is a seismic change from the present model with its rakish and streamlined (for a van) silhouette. If anything, it's a stark contrast to the Starex. But perhaps the most attention-grabbing piece of design is the entire front end. A thin LED strip runs across the width of the van. Below it is a massive grille that houses the headlights and the fog lights. This look isn't exclusive to the top-spec version, either. Even the entry-level versions get the same design.
Its flanks are dominated by the massive windows that take up more than half of its sides. Unlike the outgoing model, there isn't much in the way of defined lines. Instead, Hyundai opted for a clean look with gentle curves to add some flair.
At the rear, there are tall, vertical taillights mounted high for maximum visibility. Depending on the variant, there are two versions of those lights available. The base and mid-level models get red lights while the Premium Edition has clear covers. The tailgate is almost vertical with a sizable windshield for good measure.
Hyundai says the interior is inspired by the lounge of a cruise ship. At the front are a 10.25-inch front display screen, touch-based center fascia, and a button-type electronic shift lever. The dash features a wraparound design with a pair of air-conditioning vents for both driver and front passenger. It's not short on storage bins either, with pockets on the center stack and more on the doors.
The Starex/Staria is available in four seating configurations. The two-seater has cargo hauling in mind and the seven-seater aims for the luxury van shopper. There is also a nine-seat and eleven-seat version available with four rows. The Premium seven-seater model includes a one-touch relaxation mode on its second-row premium relaxation seats with an automatic reclining feature. Meanwhile, the 9-seater Starex/Staria Premium has second-row seats with the added ability to swivel 180 degrees to face passengers in the third row.
At the moment, Hyundai did not mention the engine line-up. However, the 3.5 badge on the Premium's tailgate hints at a V6 option. That said, There is a strong chance that these will come with a 2.2-liter turbodiesel used in the Santa Fe. Should Hyundai de-tune that engine, it should have at least 177 PS to keep it on par with its chief rival, the Toyota Hiace.
It's likely that we will see the all-new Starex/Staria in local showrooms before the end of 2021. That's because Hyundai Philippines said they will launch four new models soon. If the shadow of the Starex seen in the teaser is any indication, Hyundai will surely heat up the van wars this decade.