Hyundai Staria Premium: Haul with style

By LEE PANG SENG | 16 December 2021

THE luxury multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) market in Malaysia is simply too good to overlook given the runaway success that Toyota is enjoying with its Alphard and Vellfire.

Hyundai has stepped up to the challenge with the Staria Premium.


While the South Korean maker also has the Starex in the line-up, it wasn’t quite in the same league where luxury details and refinement were concerned.

What adds to Staria Premium’s exclusivity is that it’s not a luxury MPV you could buy straight off the showroom although Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors has a demo model at its Ara Damansara premises.

You could check out the demo model and confirm your purchase by customising the body colour (more than 10 options) and four matched interior appointments, among other things, which would then be forwarded to Hyundai in South Korea.


And you would receive your personalised Staria Premium in the chosen colour option and interior combination in about three to six months’ time.

That’s about as exclusive as you could get as it is akin to buying a customised super sports or luxury car from either the Italian or German stable.

On first glance, what stands the Staria Premium out is that it looks like a concept model with its clean, flushed and sweeping body lines.


In the third respect, the efficient body aerodynamics is said to set the benchmark for MPVs with a respectably good aerodynamic co-efficient factor of 0.32.

This is better appreciated when looking at the Staria Premium from the side as the gently tapered front appears to do the job of forward motion with the least of wind resistance.

Another impression is how big it is; from the front where the expansive grille at the lower end lends its broad stance to the side where the body stretches out like a limousine.


The Staria Premium is said to be bigger all round than the Toyota Alphard with a body length above 5,250mm; it is also wider at almost 2,000mm and taller at 1,990mm.

Stepping inside the Staria Premium reveals the focus of its luxurious design, the second-row seats in particular.

The Staria Premium carries seven people but those occupying the middle row seats are the prime passengers, much along the lines of the single rear seat focus by Lexus in its early LS 430 executive sedan.


Hyundai wants the second-row folks to be fully pampered and one of the ways in achieving that is a seat that reclines almost fully flat for napping on long distance drives.

Unlike the business class seats on an airliner, you need to adjust the leg support as it doesn’t operate in tandem with the backrest recline function.


And with the seat fully reclined, it doesn’t limit legroom for the occupants in third row and leaving all on-board comfortably accommodated.

However, if you need luggage room by sliding the third-row seats about 30cm or so to the front, there would be some compromise on passenger space.

Doing that would yield about 117 litres of luggage room and by folding the seatrests, that space is tripled to 431 litres, ideal for low passenger load but maximum luggage on board.


Nappa leather is standard for upmarket appeal and third-row passengers could control air-conditioning to suit them best.

Some ‘smart’ features that come with the Staria Premium are doors that could open on detecting an approaching passenger and a far-side sliding door that wouldn’t open if approaching traffic is detected when getting out.


On the move, the Staria Premium is well insulated for a quiet and comfortable ride but the firmness of the rear multi-link torsion bar suspension might have a slight jarring note.

The driver is well pampered with good ergonomics and pleasant aesthetics in the instrument panel design; it is akin to a multi-info panel without a hood or cowl that complements the centrally located 10.5-inch multi-info panel.


As our drive impression was in the mid-afternoon, the strong sunlight didn’t affect the reading of the information available, which includes the air pressure of the four tyres.

Gear selection is as simple as it could be, merely by pressing Reverse, Neutral or Drive; Parking is automatically disengaged when Drive is selected.

And if you want to enjoy the thrill of selecting the gears – the Staria Premium has an eight-speed shift-by-wire automatic – the steering wheel paddle shifters should come in handy.


For power, it has the 2.2-litre turbodiesel that churns out a decent 177PS at 3,800rpm and lots of torque at 431Nm between 1,500 and 2,500rpm.

We could feel this hefty torque delivering a nippy pace the moment we hit the road, never mind the Staria Premium’s kerb weight of above 2,000kg and five people on board.

Depending on the warranty package, the Staria Premium is priced at RM358,888 and RM368,888 to make it very attractively positioned against its dominant rival.

You would just have to wait a bit to enjoy the luxury ride in an exclusive people mover that is customised to your ideals.