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FIRST DRIVE | 2022 Hyundai Staria Multicab excels at work and play

02 February 2022 - 10:35
The Staria’s styling is love-or-hate
The Staria’s styling is love-or-hate
Image: Supplied

Towards the end of 2021 Hyundai launched its Staria, the large multipurpose vehicle that replaced the H1. Initially it was launched in leisure-focused executive, elite and luxury grades, but a more utilitarian multicab version has been added to the line-up.   

We attended the launch last week at the Bedfordview headquarters of the South Korean carmaker. From there our driving route saw us traversing provincial back roads on a jaunt to Cullinan in Tshwane.   

Visually, the Staria has been a divider of sentiments. Some loved the RoboCop-inspired face while others felt it bore closer resemblance to a Huawei router, especially in the basic shade of white.

Love or hate it, there is no denying that the model has character by the bucketload which cannot usually be said for products of this nature.   

The multicab is a five-seater. The portion that would otherwise be used for additional seating rows has been reconfigured for cargo, compartmentalised as a separate cabin replete with window bars.   

Even in multicab guise its interior is stylish and modern.
Even in multicab guise its interior is stylish and modern.
Image: Supplied

Hyundai believes uptake will be strong among buyers who require the duality of load-hauling ability and family vehicle. Its loading volume is a huge 2,890l.    

Aside from the exposed metal panels of the loading bay and the barn-like doors there is little to give away the working class status in comparison to its swankier siblings.  

 You still get a set of attractive alloy wheels (17-inch) and the leatherette-upholstered interior is as well-equipped as they come.

Features include an eight-inch infotainment system (Android Auto and Apple Car Play standard), a 4.2-inch digital instrument cluster, leather-wrapped, multifunction steering wheel, automatic climate control, wireless smartphone charging, blind-spot detection, reverse camera and rear cross traffic alert. The latter reveals its usefulness in a busy mall parking environment. Occupant safety is taken care of with anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, dual front, side and curtain airbags.   

Under the skin, the biggest difference between the multicab and its more upmarket brethren is at the rear axle. In this case a solid beam with leaf springs is employed, compared to the more sophisticated multi-link suspension used in the executive, elite and luxury versions. While the trade-off is a less polished ride quality the upshot is durability and greater suitability to a lifetime of heavy loads.

Rear compartment offers a massive 2,890l of cargo space.
Rear compartment offers a massive 2,890l of cargo space.
Image: Supplied

While the rear suspension set-up is different the integrity of the chassis we praised in higher-up Staria models still applies. The multicab is insulated superbly and inspires confidence on the road with its precise steering and accomplished road manners, unusual traits in a robust commercial vehicle.   

As with the rest of the range, power comes from a proven 2.2l turbocharged diesel motor with four cylinders paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Output is 130kW and 430Nm. Claimed consumption is 8.7l/100km.   

Rich in features, pleasant to drive and fit for the purpose of cargo hauling, the Staria Multicab is a compelling proposition. But it does carry a premium over its direct rivals which, admittedly, do not match the equipment levels of the Hyundai. A Toyota Quantum 2.8 LWB Crew Cab costs R574,800, the Volkswagen Transporter 2.0 TDI Crew Bus LWB goes for R680,600. The more powerful 2.0 BiTDI version in SWB guise goes for R756,600.   

The multicab costs R759,900. Included in the price is a seven-year/200,000km warranty, six-year/90,000km service plan and seven-year/150,000km roadside assistance plan.


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