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    Hyundai Staria Load 2022 review


    Daily driver score

    4/5

    Tradies score

    4.7/5

    Farewell Hyundai iLoad. Hello Hyundai Staria Load.

    The Staria Load is the all-new bigger, smarter, safer van that replaces the iLoad commercial box-on-wheels, which was on sale in Australia for 14 years.

    As you'd expect, there's a lot of progress to be had in that many years, and the new Staria Load is - according to Hyundai - the smartest and safest van on the market.

    That's a bold claim, and one directed straight at the segment leading Toyota HiAce, while also no doubt taking aim at the impressive Ford Transit Custom.

    This new-generation model is longer, wider, taller, has a bigger cargo capacity, a higher towing capacity, more power and torque, and has seen immense improvements to its technology and safety gear inclusions.

    And just have a look at it - what a statement! If you haven't seen the Staria people mover, they're essentially the same thing - but this is a load lugger where the other one has two rows of rear seating. They share the same platform, the same diesel engine, but in the Staria Load's case, it is front-wheel drive. The old iLoad was rear-drive, and the Staria people-mover is all-wheel drive when equipped with this diesel unit.

    Don't despair, though - in this test we'll let you know whether it performs well enough with that new drivetrain, and whether or not it's as big a step forward as Hyundai claims it is.

    Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

    At $45,240 (MSRP - before on-road costs) the new diesel-auto-only Staria Load seems kind of pricey, especially considering the iload was once considered a “cheap” van in the segment. But over the years the MSRP of the iLoad crept up to $42,710, and you're getting a lot more equipment for the $2530 step up. A lot.

    And at that $45K price point, it's close to what you're paying for a HiAce diesel auto (identically priced at $45,240), and undercuts the diesel-auto Transit Custom in both short-wheelbase ($46,090) and LWB ($48,090) guises.

    Of course, it's well and truly over the likes of the cut-price Chinese LDV G10 (from $32,490 drive-away for ABN holders), which is the third-biggest seller in the segment behind the HiAce and existing iLoad.

    There's an 8.0-inch touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android auto. (Image: Matt Campbell) There's an 8.0-inch touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android auto. (Image: Matt Campbell)

    There will also be a Staria Load 5 Seat Crew Van arriving in November 2021, which will likely be priced “close to $50,000”, according to the brand.

    And it should be noted that if you choose either the 2 Seat or 5 Seat Staria Load, you have the choice of rear “Twin Swing” barn doors, or a liftback tailgate - there's no cost to choose either, but the barn-door-equipped versions miss out on the standard-fit surround view 360 degree camera offered on the tailgate models (instead, they get a standard reversing camera). Hey, that's still better than Toyota, which doesn't even offer you a barn door option on the HiAce!

    Okay, so does the Staria Load justify its price by offering lots of equipment?

    The Staria Load rides on 17-inch steel wheels. (Image: Matt Campbell) The Staria Load rides on 17-inch steel wheels. (Image: Matt Campbell)

    Standard inclusions for Staria Load comprise 17-inch steel wheels with a full-size spare, auto dusk-sensing halogen headlights, front and rear parking sensors, cloth interior trim with rubber flooring, a leather steering wheel and gear knob, an 8.0-inch touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android auto, a two-speaker stereo, an electronic park brake, wireless smartphone charging, a 4.2-inch digital instrument cluster, and a digital speedometer and tachometer.

    All grades come with twin side sliding doors with filled-in window panels on both sides, and there's a rubber floor liner, half-height panel liners and eight tie-down hooks fitted.

    What's missing? Any form of LED lighting, for one, and there are no auto wipers, either. No sat nav, and there's just one cargo area light right at the back of the van - a second one in the middle wouldn't have gone astray.

    The Staria load misses out on LED's, and instead, has auto dusk-sensing halogen headlights. (Image: Matt Campbell) The Staria load misses out on LED's, and instead, has auto dusk-sensing halogen headlights. (Image: Matt Campbell)

    There are several accessories available for the Staria Load, though it isn't quite as configurable as the “make it how you need it” Volkswagen Transporter van range.

    There's the choice of a bulkhead partition ($1799 fitted), cage style cargo barrier ($899 fitted), headlight protectors ($229 fitted), bonnet protector ($229 fitted), side wind deflectors ($199 fitted), a towbar kit with wiring harness ($1390 fitted) and 17-inch alloy wheels (price TBC) among others.

    But there is no option for side windows unless you choose to buy the Crew Van 5 Seater, and even then the brand isn't offering the option of the rear-most panels being glazed. Some competitors offer that, so if you need better outward visibility you can spend more to have it - maybe you could just buy a Staria people mover and remove the back seats?

    There aren't many colours to choose from - Hyundai reckons customers will prefer the blank canvas Creamy White finish at no cost, or they might choose the Shimmering Silver metallic at $695. Those are the only options - no red, yellow, brown, green, blue, black or grey.

    It comes with a full-size spare. (Matt Campbell) It comes with a full-size spare. (Matt Campbell)

    Is there anything interesting about its design?

    If you can't find anything interesting about the design of the new Staria Load, you need to go back to your optometrist.

    This is one of the most daring and interesting looking vans ever made. It is unashamedly different, but you can thank the Staria people mover for that fresh new look - despite the fact the people mover gets the LED strip across the front of the car (the Load version just gets a black plastic filler), and the passenger van also gets LED headlights and tail-lights, but the Load spec model has dull halogen headlights and the rear lamps are bulbs, too, despite the high-tech look of them.

    This is one of the most daring and interesting looking vans ever made. (Image: Matt Campbell) This is one of the most daring and interesting looking vans ever made. (Image: Matt Campbell)

    The Staria Load uses its substantial dimensions to allow it considerably more load space than the existing iLoad van - that's no surprise, given the new model is 5253mm long (iLoad was 5150mm), has a 3273mm wheelbase (was 3200mm), and is now notably taller at 2000mm (up 65mm) and is wider, too, at 1997mm (adding 77mm).

    Its size presents some challenges for urban delivery drivers - the roof height is a consideration for underground car parks, and it's not going to be as easy to squeeze down narrow lanes as the old iLoad was. But the brand has built in technology to help navigate tighter spots, with the standard fitment of a surround view camera for the liftback models certain to help out when things get squeezy.

    The people mover gets an LED strip across the front of the car, but the Load version just gets a black plastic filler. (Image: Matt Campbell) The people mover gets an LED strip across the front of the car, but the Load version just gets a black plastic filler. (Image: Matt Campbell)

    More than just a bigger body, the interior has seen dramatic improvements to its carrying capacity. Because of the taller, wider, longer interior, there is no the capability to fit three Euro pallets in (if you can find a way to fork them in the back of the liftgate, that is), and that puts the Staria Load on par with the LWB Transit Custom and the Toyota HiAce, too.

    The cargo dimensions are as follows:

      Staria Load dimensions Compared to iLoad
    Cargo length 2607mm +232mm
    Cargo width 1640mm +20mm
    Width between wheel arches 1235mm -37mm
    Cargo height 1436mm +94mm
    Load-in height 573mm -41mm
    Side door opening width 870mm +225mm

    The load in height has dropped because the new Staria Load is front-wheel drive only, built on a platform capable of all-wheel drive (as in the diesel AWD Staria people mover and the Santa Fe SUV), but this van is only 2WD/FWD.

    Being as tall as it is, the roof height is a consideration for underground car parks. (Image: Matt Campbell) Being as tall as it is, the roof height is a consideration for underground car parks. (Image: Matt Campbell)

    The openings / apertures are bigger, too, meaning loading in items is easier, too. The one thing I'd say you must be mindful of, though, is the size of the tailgate. It's very large, so you need to leave about two metres of space behind the van when parking if you plan to unload out the back door.

    If you're curious about how much smaller the cargo area is in the 5 Seat Crew Van version, the cubic metre volume is 4.0m3, or 2.1m3 smaller than the 2 Seat model. The cargo length in the two-row van is 1705mm (down from 2607mm).

    How practical is the space inside?

    It's a cleverly designed space up front - it's clear the company has ensured that business owners and drivers will be able to use the cabin as a mobile office of sorts.

    The driver's seat has height adjustment and the steering wheel has rake and reach adjustment, and while it doesn't have a desk or anything, I could find plenty of ways to make the space messier than my workzone in my home office.

    There are overhead folder holders with mesh netting to stop things falling out, and the dashboard has a section that allows you to store items on top, too.

    It’s a cleverly designed space up front - business owners and drivers will be able to use the cabin as a mobile office of sorts. (Image: Matt Campbell) It’s a cleverly designed space up front - business owners and drivers will be able to use the cabin as a mobile office of sorts. (Image: Matt Campbell)

    There is a high-mount cup holder on the driver's side dash top, and that isn't mirrored on the passenger side, oddly. But there is a pop out cup holder next to the gear shifter.

    The glovebox is quite shallow, but you've got those other storage options overhead, as well as multiple tiered storage sections in the doors – one just below the handle, a second mid section that's a little deeper below that, and a large trench with bottle holder capacity on the bottom part of the door.

    Below the 8.0-inch touchscreen media system (more on that in a sec) is a wireless phone charging bay, and further down there are also a couple of slots and caddies for additional stowage, as well as two USB ports and a 12-volt outlet.

    • There are eight tie down hooks for securing your load. (Image: Matt Campbell) There are eight tie down hooks for securing your load. (Image: Matt Campbell)
    • The openings / apertures are bigger, meaning loading in items is easier. (Image: Matt Campbell) The openings / apertures are bigger, meaning loading in items is easier. (Image: Matt Campbell)
    • The 300kg of weight definitely helped settle the suspension at the rear considerably. (Image: Matt Campbell) The 300kg of weight definitely helped settle the suspension at the rear considerably. (Image: Matt Campbell)

    There's nothing between the front seats in terms of storage, but there is a large flat area to allow you to store other items like backpacks, and if you don't have a cargo barrier, you can even walk through to the cargo zone.

    The steering wheel is lined in a leather-appointed material and feels very nice in the hand, and it is a really nice piece of design as well. The controls on the wheel are easy to come to terms with, and while it's hardly the sort of thing a tradie would tell their mates about, the wiper and indicator stalks are beautiful - they have the jeweled design that we've also seen in Kia models. It's amazing what a difference a small thing like that can make to the overall perception of quality in a car, let alone a work van.

    The sun visors have mirrors with lights in them on both sides, and they can be lengthened by sliding them across if the sun is in an annoying spot. The rear vision mirror has no auto dimming, and there is no sunglasses holder.

    There are overhead folder holders with mesh netting to stop things falling out. (Image: Matt Campbell) There are overhead folder holders with mesh netting to stop things falling out. (Image: Matt Campbell)

    ​​Now, that media system. There's a lot to be said for having multiple Bluetooth connections possible on a touchscreen, and further to that, wireless Apple CarPlay is going to excite some potential buyers. But for me, it's a pain - the Bluetooth connection to your phone can be frustrating to establish, and there's a painful delay on phone calls - a good two seconds on some of the calls I took and made during my loan. You can't hook up to the screen using USB, either - it's wireless or nothing.

    I do love the big digital dials in front of the driver, and the 4.2-inch driver info display is easy to learn and simple to navigate. That binnacle almost looks like it should pop up and retract down, but it doesn't.

    Rear of the driver zone, there are eight tie down hooks for securing your load, and every Staria Load has half-height lining in the cargo zone and a vinyl floor covering to stop things scratching or puncturing the metal below. Just beware, that can be slippery when wet.

    There's just one light in the back of the van, and if you're wondering where the spare wheel is, it's under the cargo area floor - a full size steel spare wheel.

    What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

    Powering the Staria Load is a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, producing 130kW of power (at 3800rpm) and 430Nm of torque (from 1500-2500rpm). The motor is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the Load version of the Staria is front-wheel drive (FWD/2WD) only.

    That means the Hyundai doesn't quite have as much punch as HiAce (2.8L diesel, 130kW/450Nm), but out-grunts the Transit Custom (2.3L diesel, maximum 136kW/405Nm). And if you're wondering, the old iLoad's ancient 2.5L diesel produced similar outputs - 125kW and 441Nm - and it was rear-wheel drive (RWD) using a five-speed automatic.

    Powering the Staria Load is a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine. (Image: Matt Campbell) Powering the Staria Load is a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine. (Image: Matt Campbell)

    There is no petrol version available, though the Staria people mover has a 3.5L V6 FWD petrol available.

    Hyundai has said it isn't planning any hybrid, plug-in hybrid or EV versions of the Staria Load anytime soon, but there might be a chance of an alternative fuel version at a later date - perhaps even a fuel-cell hydrogen model.

    How much fuel does it consume?

    The official combined cycle fuel use figure is 7.0 litres per 100 kilometres. That's very good, as the Ford Transit Custom claims 7.2L/100km and the HiAce claims 8.2L/100km.

    Over our time with the Staria Load, we did a loaded test run (with a modest 300kg of ballast in the rear) that resulted in a real-world at the pump figure of 10.2L/100km. We also did an empty fuel run, and saw 8.4L/100km.

    Emissions info, if you need it: Euro 5 (diesel particulate filter [DPF] fitted but no Adblue required); 183g/km CO2. Fuel tank capacity is 75 litres.

    What's it like as a daily driver?

    Being largely based on the same bits as the Staria people mover, it's no surprise that this is an easy van to drive on the daily.

    It's more refined than you'd expect, comfy and cruisy to pilot on the highway or in suburbia, and quieter than most vans I've driven over the years without anything on board. Sure, there is some road noise from the rear, and if the road is wet you can hear it through the wheel arches, but it's a nice place to be. It would be even more cocoon-like with a steel bulkhead fitted, and that's something I'd definitely consider if I was buying one.

    The engine is really strong, the eight-speed auto smart, and the overall effortlessness of progress quite outstanding. Not much to complain about there.

    The steering wheel is lined in a leather-appointed material and feels very nice in the hand. (Image: Matt Campbell) The steering wheel is lined in a leather-appointed material and feels very nice in the hand. (Image: Matt Campbell)

    The suspension - Macpherson strut front suspension and solid-beam leaf spring rear suspension - isn't as good as it could be when driving without a load. It can wobble and bobble over lumps and bumps, and falls into potholes quite noticeably, too. A VW Transporter, Peugeot Partner, Toyota HiAce and even the existing iLoad arguably have the Staria Load's measure when it comes to unladen driving comfort, and the Hyundai is not nearly as ‘squishy’ in its body control as a Ford Transit Custom, either. And no doubt the placard-stated highish tyre pressures - 42PSI front and 48PSI rear - have something to do with that.

    The reason not to offer all-wheel drive might seem an odd one, but presumably the extra weight of those underpinnings would adversely affect the payload capacity on offer, and the market for an all-wheel drive van is quite limited as it is. Still, if you need an AWD van like this, the VW Transporter 4Motion remains the best choice.

    There is an 'auto hold' function for the transmission but oddly it doesn't work when the van is in reverse - which can mean the van will roll forward if you're parked on a slope, which is annoying. And while the electronic park brake is a nice touch, it would be even better if it automatically applied when you put the vehicle in Park, not just when you turn the van off. It does auto deactivate when you choose a gear after start-up, though.

    What's it like for tradie use?

    While hardly pushing the limits of the van's payload capacity or GVM, my loaded drive consisted of a typical amount of weight for a parcel delivery operator, with 300kg of ballast loaded into a heavy duty palletized box in the back. That eight definitely helped settle the suspension at the rear considerably.

    As such, the Staria Load felt like it had a lot more still to give when driving around with this much weight, easily accelerating away with swift progress in traffic, on the highway and from a standstill. The engine is refined and easily punchy enough for this sort of load, with smooth and smart gearshifts, too.

    My loaded drive consisted of 300kg of ballast loaded into a heavy duty palletized box in the back. My loaded drive consisted of 300kg of ballast loaded into a heavy duty palletized box in the back.

    While some customers may be cautious of the FWD factor for the Staria Load, the “bum dragger” does a good job of taking away from traffic lights, even with a slippery road surface under the tyres. There is some slippage at times but it's reined in capably and commendably by the van's traction control system.

    The steering is light and accurate, making it easy to contend with in tight quarters - but as good as the surround view camera is, there are still side- and front-side blind spots you need to be aware of. Over-shoulder vision is nil, and it can be difficult to ascertain what's just on the other side of the nose of the car when reversing out of parking spaces.

    Further, the turning circle - at 11.94m - is okay, but not what you'd call tight.

    What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

    There is no ANCAP crash test rating as yet for the Staria Load, but safety is one of the strongest suits of the Staria Load - it's more than a leap and bound better than the old iLoad, too.

    All grades come with forward collision avoidance with front auto emergency braking (AEB) that operates at city and highway speeds (operable from 5km/h to 180km/h) and it incorporates pedestrian detection and cyclist detection (5km/h to 85km/h).

    The Staria Load with barn doors gets a standard reversing camera. (Image: Matt Campbell) The Staria Load with barn doors gets a standard reversing camera. (Image: Matt Campbell)

    There is blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert with avoidance technology (it can buzz the steering wheel if you're about to merge into someone or even steer away from a potential crash), plus there is lane departure warning and lane keeping assist (from 64km/h to 180km/h) and lane follow assist as part of the adaptive cruise control (0km/h to 150km/h).

    All Staria Load models have front and rear parking sensors and there's a surround view camera on the model with the tailgate (reversing camera only on the barn door model), while there is also speed sign recognition, driver fatigue warning, and seven airbags including a centre front airbag and second row coverage, even if you don't have a five-seater.

    All signs point to a new benchmark for van safety, here.

    There is no ANCAP crash test rating as yet for the Staria Load. (Image: Matt Campbell) There is no ANCAP crash test rating as yet for the Staria Load. (Image: Matt Campbell)

    What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

    Hyundai offers a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty for all of its models… except the Staria Load, which has a five year/160,000km commercial vehicle warranty.

    Service intervals are every 12 months/15,000km, whichever comes first, and the cost per visit is $360 for the first 60 months/75,000km. Customers can prepay for services if they want to roll the cost into their finance payments.

    There is also a roadside assist plan that rolls over each year you have your vehicle serviced at a designated workshop, out to a maximum of 10 years.

    The Staria Load has a five year/160,000km commercial vehicle warranty. (Image: Matt Campbell) The Staria Load has a five year/160,000km commercial vehicle warranty. (Image: Matt Campbell)

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    The Hyundai Staria Load - silly name aside - is one of the most impressive newcomers in the commercial vehicle segment in years. Not since the all-new HiAce launched in May 2019 has there been a van that has changed the game in so many ways for the brand it represents, and for the segment as a whole.

    It could ride better without a load, there's no doubt about that. But given the intent of this vehicle, if it fits your needs - and your garage - you really should put this at the top of your shopping list.

    $45,740

    Based on new car retail price

    Daily driver score

    4/5

    Tradies score

    4.7/5
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    Price Guide

    $45,740

    Based on new car retail price

    This price is subject to change closer to release data
    Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.