Hyundai Staria Review Philippines: SPACESHIP For The Road

Hyundai Staria Review Philippines: SPACESHIP For The Road

Review Verdict: There’s no question that the Hyundai Staria in this review breaks necks, whether in the Philippines or anywhere else in the world. Its styling is just that radical. Thankfully, everything else about it screams VIP transport and we were extremely happy to be ferried in one. There are just some minor tweaks that could propel this to the top of its class. 


  • Otherworldly styling
  • Easier to purchase and obtain than its top competitor
  • Very fuel-efficient
  • Well-appointed interior, both in tech and materials


  • Suspension can sometimes get too bouncy
  • Some ergonomic improvements can still be made

Ever since the Hyundai Staria was introduced to the world, there were a handful of doubters who believed that what we were seeing was a concept. There was no way that the production model would come to the showroom floors looking like that. Much to everyone’s shock, it actually did. With a vehicle exterior looking like it belongs on a sci-fi film, how is it like to live with this cruiser? We’ll give you our thoughts and impressions.


A topic we’ve already touched upon many times even before getting to the meat of it, this car’s exterior is undeniably one of its main selling points. LED taillight strips became relatively mainstream with new vehicle releases within the past few years, but no one thought of implementing it at the front for a consumer vehicle. That’s why the linear full LED headlamps work out so well on this exterior. It’s undoubtedly futuristic and sophisticated beyond compare.

Since that small light bar may not be enough to illuminate the road, Hyundai made sure to incorporate more lighting elements into the vehicle’s MASSIVE front grille.This top-spec model has tinted bronze chrome accents sprinkling bits of elegance all throughout the body.

Looking at it from the side, the Staria’s overall shape appears to hover over the ground. Its elegance is matched by its practicality as a healthy amount of ground clearance gives you access over the occasional drives over rougher terrain and floodwater. The 18-inch tinted bronze alloy wheels are also engineered in an usual pattern that complements the quirkiness of the vehicle’s exterior design.

Most noticeable is how vast the windows are. You’ll see more of this in the interior but it really curves down to give the driver as much visibility as possible. We love this design choice and it fits the curviness of the Staria.

The most conventional angle of the Staria is when you view it from behind. The taillights are split into hundreds of tiny squares, but the overall silhouette resembles other vehicles in its segment.

Nonetheless, we must admit that the overall aesthetic is rather polarizing. It’s a neck-breaker for sure – we can literally see people turning their heads when we pass by. However, when we ask people for their thoughts, it’s either a love-or-hate thing. There is no such thing as a person who’s “just okay” with looking at this car. Either they’re bedazzled by its beauty or repulsed by its wild styling.


Things are nice and spacious on the inside. It almost feels like a lounge so we’re inclined to treat this more like a house tour than a car review.

People often say that minivans like the Staria are only meant to be enjoyed from the passenger side of things. But admittedly, we relished being in the front seats quite a lot. The driver’s seat still gets the same amenities such as the adjustable armrests.

Sure, touch quite a few points at the front and you’ll notice an abundance of plastics. But these ones are all high-quality materials that won’t begin rattling out of nowhere.

While the piano black surface used for the push-button gearbox, A/C controls, and head unit is too much of a fingerprint magnet for something you’ll be touching quite often, it’s still a stellar choice over other textures. It accentuates the grey portions rather well. The buttons themselves are reassuringly sturdy but still soft to the touch.

Practicality-wise, it would be an understatement to say that storage is abundant. There’s no shortage of cubbies, cupholders, and other pockets to store your stuff. There’s even a Qi wireless charging pad inside one of the phone holders, with its own light that activates when in use.

Onto the screens. The Hyundai Staria in this review for the Philippines comes equipped with a fully-digital cluster that changes depending on the Drive Mode selected. The first two modes, ECO and NORMAL, radiate cool blue hues. The final SPORT mode is designed to get your blood boiling and ready to stomp on that throttle. It’s high-resolution and doesn’t feel cheap in the slightest.

Our only comment is that the ambient lighting controls are surprisingly changed here via steering wheel controls. We’re not sure why this wasn’t just placed in the center display settings panel.

Moving on to the head unit, it looks a bit small but that’s only because the rest of the dashboard is massive. Believe it or not, that’s a 10.25-inch unit situated at the center. It’s compatible with both wired and wireless A.Auto/A.CarPlay. It’s extremely responsive, although there were some glitches with going wireless. It’s a common thing with all iterations we’ve tried.

Now it’s time to move to the VIP lounge: the second-row seats. Admittedly, they’re not as large as those seen in the Toyota HiAce Super Grandia Elite, but they also take up much less space. As such, the cabin doesn’t feel claustrophobic when you’re seated inside.

It’s very airy and the seats even recline with a footrest to match. These really give you a kingly experience and travel in the second row definitely gives off a first-class vibe. Buttons on the sides also show that these are both ventilated or heated, depending on what the surrounding climate calls for.

Interior amenities for second-row passengers also include a center deployable cupholder, a small storage drawer, two USB-A ports, and window shades on the side (although that last one also extends to the third-row). The module to control the rear A/C is also located on the right side.

Although we’d have to admit that this presents some ergonomic issues. With the middle-row seats reclined, reaching your coffee is near-impossible. We had to do a full ab workout to reach our drinks without changing our seat position. Another consideration is that the passenger on the RIGHT side has to be the one to adjust the A/C settings. If the person on that side is reclined, asleep, or there isn’t anyone there, then the passenger on the LEFT side either has to stand up to get it or to instruct the driver to change it up. Either way, it’s fairly inconvenient but not a huge dealbreaker.

The third-row passengers also aren’t forgotten here. There’s more than enough legroom even with the VIPs up front reclined comfortably. Also, there are storage cubbies, cupholders, ambient lighting strips, and USB-A charging ports on either side. No one in this cabin is ever running out of battery, as long as everyone brings their own cables.

You still get ample luggage space with all seats in the cabin occupied. Should you choose to put down the third-row, then of course it’s now opened up to much more room.

Comfort and Driving Dynamics

The Hyundai Staria in this review looks like it could float on roads in the Philippines. How much of outside noise actually makes it in?

We’re glad to say that NVH levels here are more than acceptable. It’s not eerily quiet, but interior road noise is kept to a minimum until you go above 120 KPH on select roads. Only then will a bit of noise creep into the cabin. That’s just normal and happens in more or less every vehicle, regardless of segment or positioning.

Of course, having your sound system on mutes it out. And the audio system here is without a doubt class-leading. The onboard 12-speaker BOSE system lived up mightily to the heightened expectations we had when we saw the logo. Having this many high-power units distributes the sound evenly throughout the cabin, with passengers experiencing the same high-quality audio regardless of where they’re sitting inside. This made for an enthusiastic carpool karaoke segment during our hours-long road trip.

Since we’ve likened the minivan to a spaceship, we expected it to float over bumps and crevices. City driving was no issue for the Staria. It flexed its regal muscles and elegantly drove through the hustle and bustle of the city. That’s why we were determined to take it out of town to see if its front McPherson/rear Multi-link suspension could take the poorly-maintained backroads in the boonies.

Spoiler alert: Yes, it did. For the most part. The Hyundai Staria glides over smooth pavement like no other. The kink in its armor revealed itself when we accidentally went over the bridge connectors on SCTEX at speed. It’s extremely bouncy – going through around three up and down motions before settling itself back into its normal state. The minivan still felt stable thanks to the All Wheel Drive system, but from a passenger’s point of view, we’d rather have less of that. It’s still an awesome cruiser though, and we all felt like we were in a living room on wheels.

How is it like as a driver? This review unit Hyundai Staria sold in the Philippines comes equipped with the 2.2-liter CRDi Diesel engine mated to an eight-speed automatic and AWD drivetrain. The torquey motor does well in pulling along the 2363kg minivan, even when it’s full of passengers and cargo. We never felt like we lacked power in any scenario.

Although admittedly, most of the Staria’s power comes down low. If you’re looking for an Autobahn top-speed record holder then this isn’t the vehicle for you. The Drive Mode adjustments do work in adjusting the throttle response. As expected, stepping on the throttle halfway will garner you less acceleration in Eco mode than in Sport mode. It functions as it should. One improvement we can recommend to Hyundai is to keep the vehicle in the same drive mode after it’s been turned off and started up again. I found myself putting it back into Eco mode each and every time.

Moving through some mountain twisties proved that the Staria’s handling is indeed the best in its segment. Thanks to reliable AWD technology, this minivan gripped onto the road like it was on rails – despite a full cabin with cargo.

In terms of fuel economy, we averaged a healthy 14-15 km/l on the highway and around 10 km/l in the city. Keep in mind that those numbers could have probably been higher had we been more conservative with opening up the throttle.

Wrap Up and Conclusions

The Hyundai Staria is a brilliant people-hauler. In this configuration it’s extremely sophisticated, the styling is just awesome, and there’s a lot to love about riding inside it. If attention is what you need and staying under the radar isn’t your thing, then this minivan is for you.

However, minor niggles in ergonomics and suspension tuning hold it back from being perfect. Some of these may play as factors when it comes to your purchase decision.

Nonetheless, it’s one of the best in its segment and could arguably be king of the hill, depending on your priorities. We’ve seen enough of these on the road which is a testament to the fact that a lot of consumers agree with our sentiments.

Hyundai Staria Review Philippines Price

This variant here will set you back PHP 2,930,000. Big thanks to Hyundai Motor Philippines for lending us such a spectacular unit!


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