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Hyundai confirms new Staria people carrier

Predictions ring true as Hyundai confirms and teases new Staria, here H2

11 Mar 2021

AS PREDICTED by GoAuto late last year, Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) is gearing up to launch a new generation of people mover with the brand this week revealing the first images of the Staria, a replacement for the aging iMax which could be here within the next six months.


Set to be available in both standard and ‘Premium’ guises, the Staria will wade straight into battle against the recently launched fourth-gen Kia Carnival, by far and away the dominant force in the sub-$60,000 people carrier segment.


Teased in a series of six darkened teaser images, HMCA says the Staria is futuristic both by name and design with a heap of new-age styling cues sure to set it apart from its competition.


Unlike the current range of passenger cars within the HMCA portfolio, the key feature of the Staria is its inherent lack of harsh lines and contours; everything is swooping and gently curved, so much so many may actually think it’s electric – while unlikely, GoAuto has contacted HMCA for confirmation.


At the front we find the increasingly familiar low-set headlight arrangement either side of the mesh grille, above which resides a new full-width LED light strip, something not previously seen from the brand.


The star of the styling show however is the Staria’s silhouette, the lines of which could almost be likened to a stretched, scaled-up first-generation Mercedes A-Class with its gradually curving windscreen and roofline.


Adding to the unique proportions is an extremely tall glasshouse, the result of a particularly low window-line which will no doubt offer superb visibility for passengers.


At the rear there is a set of vertically stacked tail-lights running from the base of the roof-mounted lip spoiler right the way down almost to the bumper.


The teaser images reveal a few key details regarding the Premium version’s interior, most of which point to it being a more upmarket offering aimed at nabbing sales from vehicles like the Toyota Granvia and Volkswagen Multivan.


Armed with “premium features and variant-exclusive finishes” like leather upholstery, ambient lighting and reclining rear captain’s seats, the Staria’s interior is ruled by a huge floating infotainment screen which also looks to house the HVAC controls.


Going by the icons on said screen, we expect the Premium to feature both heated and cooled seats, dual or tri-zone climate control as well as the almost guaranteed Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone compatibility.


With no gear lever in sight, Park, Reverse and Drive are selected by a new button-style selector on the driver’s side of the dash.


Using the segment-leading Carnival as a basis, it would be safe to expect the standard Staria to offer seating for up to eight people including the driver, which could in some ways place it at odds with the Palisade large SUV.


HMCA isn’t worried about any potential crossover between the two however, citing they occupy two very different markets and are aimed at different customer bases.


“Staria is a dedicated people mover, while Palisade is a large SUV,” HMCA corporate communications general manager Bill Thomas told GoAuto.


“They have very different roles to play in our range, offer different solutions to customers and the exterior design, interior layout and space are very different.”


Mr Thomas also revealed the brand was pushing for a local launch in the second half of this year, falling neatly into line with GoAuto’s predictions made last year following the discovery of the Staria’s trademark filing.


While HMCA has previously said it was satisfied with the sales performance of the current iMax and the related iLoad van, it will undoubtedly be hoping for a stronger showing from the Staria as the Carnival continues to increase its share of the segment’s sales, which is now up to 62.4 per cent (1048 units) as of February.


“Staria is Hyundai’s new people mover line-up that opens up a new mobility era,” Hyundai head of design SangYup Lee said.


“Staria will provide a completely new experience and value proposition for customers through its unprecedented design features.”


HMCA has shifted just 118 examples of the now 12-year-old iMax so far this year ending February, earning it a 7.0 per cent market share behind the aforementioned Kia, Honda Odyssey (194/11.5%), LDV G10 Wagon (139/8.3%) and Volkswagen Multivan (132/7.9%).

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