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Car reviews - Hyundai - Staria - Load Premium


We like
Passenger car drive feel, high safety rating, relatively economical, roomy passenger compartment, easy access, half height load space liner
Room for improvement
Front wheel drive compromises, Robocop styling, laggy throttle response, intrusive driver assist functions, getting expensive

Hyundai's Robocop-looking Staria Load Premium commercial van has more to offer

13 Jun 2023



Hyundai’s Staria Load van and MPV appeared a couple of years ago amid mixed responses to its Robocop styling and the adoption of front wheel drive (all-wheel drive on diesel passenger models). 


A two seat Premium variant was recently added to the working van line-up with extra features and a higher safety score from ANCAP priced from $51,240 plus on road costs. 

Staria comes in a number of configurations including a blind van, five seat crew cab van and the eight seat people mover with V6 petrol (front wheel drive) and turbo diesel (AWD) availability. This is because it’s based on Hyundai’s Santa Fe and other passenger models in the group, not forgetting Kia’s Carnival.


Staria Load Premium’s extra kit makes it difficult to compare (apples with apples) to competitor brands that may not offer their vehicles in the same spec’ but you’ll pay from $43,590 for a Toyota HiAce, from $43,397 for a Peugeot Partner, from $50,390 for a Ford Transit Custom and from $43,590 for a VW Transporter, all plus on roads.


Standard Staria Load (from $45,740+ORC) boasts a full size spare, smart cruise control, power folding and heated exterior mirrors, driver attention warning, smart phone connectivity and streaming, PVC floor mat, safety exit warning, steel cargo partition, park distance warning, 2 x USB ports, drive mode select and an electric parking brake as well as a suite of SmartSense advanced safety features.


Over the standard Staria Load, the Premium model gains a 10.25-inch supervision instrument cluster and 10.25-inch navigation multimedia unit, LED headlights and tail lights, LED light bar, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, smart key with push button start, auto climate control, smart key with button start, high beam assist and a smart power tailgate.


The Premium is further differentiated by available new colours that include Abyss Black, Graphite Gray and Moonlight Blue, in addition to the existing Creamy White and Shimmering Silver. 


The high score five-star ANCAP rating achieved by this and other Staria models equates to a Platinum level of safety, the highest of any commercial van available in Australia at the moment.


In ANCAP’s Commercial Van Safety Comparison analysis, which sits alongside the ANCAP star ratings for occupant and pedestrian protection, Staria Load performed highly in each area to earn the first Platinum level of crash avoidance in the segment, with a score of 90 per cent.


Staria Load Premium goes a step further through additional standard safety technology contained in its SmartSense safety suite. 


Hyundai says the Staria Load Premium resets the commercial van safety benchmark based on the ADAS features fitted.


It retains Staria’s standard drive train using a 2.2-litre CRDi turbo diesel engine hooked up to an eight speed automatic transmission.


Both are shared with other Hyundai vehicles including the Santa Fe and Palisade.  

Driving Impressions


Hyundai offers the commercial Staria Load van in diesel front wheel drive only and the thing with that is traction loss when starting off when loaded or when towing (especially in the wet).


Hyundai has partially addressed the traction issue by electronically engineering it out through delaying or restricting available power at low speeds. That’s OK except when you need or want full power for whatever reason.


Once the desired speed is attained, you wouldn’t know as the Staria Load Premium tested bops along like a passenger car and is an impressive long distance hauler.


The tried and tested 2.2-litre VGT turbo diesel engine with 130kW and 430Nm has been around for years and is never found wanting in the Staria Load Premium offering up smooth, quiet and economical operation with plenty of get-go underfoot. This is aided by the slick 


shifting eight speed auto that seems almost predictive in its selection of gears. 


On our test drive, the Premium clocked a best of 7.8-litres/100km unloaded and when towing a 2.0-tonne rig, averaged 11.5 litres/100km which are impressive figures for a one tonne commercial vehicle.


We had a large new model diesel fourbie along on the towing effort and it used more fuel than the Staria with a similar weight behind and there wasn’t much in the definitive uphill haul that always sorts out the good tow vehicles from the also-rans.


Ride comfort is impressive considering the rudimentary suspension that comprises a firm MacPherson strut front and rigid axle with leaf springs at the rear. As you’d expect, it’s more comfy with a load in the back. 


Commercial drivers will appreciate the vehicle’s power tail gate, relatively tight 11.9 metre turning circle and the towing capacity of 2500kg, up a tonne over the old iLoad. The Staria weighs in at around 2000kg and provides generous space in the back with loads up to 2600mm long and 1600mm wide accommodated. Half height hard plastic side protectors in the load space are a welcome inclusion.


The big cabin proved popular with passengers on our long tow, preferred every time over the passenger seat in the large fourbie along for the trip.


Reason? It’s roomier and more elevated with commodious seats and legroom to stretch out. Access is easy though the tall front doors and side sliders. 


The cabin, fitted with a cargo barrier, is well designed and the better for having two large 10.25-inch info’ screens in the Premium model.


Driver assist tech makes its presence felt but some can be deactivated if it becomes annoying or distracting. It would be good if Hyundai provided a permanent off switch for the active lane keeping assist that intervenes to the point of being a distraction for the driver. 


Perhaps that will come when the Staria gets an OTA update facility.


It’s a big vehicle that occupies plenty of room in a parking space but the upside is generous passenger and load space. We are not convinced about the styling but it certainly isn’t a boring box. 


Then there’s Hyundai’s iCare to factor into a commercial vehicle purchase starting with fixed price annual or 15,000km servicing at $360 apiece along with a 5 Year/160,000 Km (whichever occurs first) commercial vehicle warranty and a swag of other benefits.

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