Minivans have fallen out of favor due to the rise of crossovers and SUVs, but Hyundai is infusing some pizzazz into the shrinking segment with its all-new Staria. Much like sister brand Kia and its Carnival people mover, you won't find the word "minivan" anywhere in the press release. Instead, the two family haulers from South Korea are both labeled as multi-purpose vehicles (MPV) because apparently calling them minivans is old-fashioned.
Hyundai says the Staria has a "future-oriented, innovative exterior resembling a spaceship." That's debatable, but there's no denying the minivan looks futuristic and has a clean appearance. We're particularly fond of the ultra-wide LED light bar at the front and the vertical taillights with a pixel-like design similar to the new Ioniq 5 electric midsize SUV.
Gallery: 2021 Hyundai Staria
Shown here is the range-topping Premium trim level with its glitzy radiator grille, full-LED headlights, bespoke 18-inch alloy wheels, and chrome accents throughout the exterior. Much like the Carnival, the new Staria can be had with up to 11 seats along with other configurations featuring nine, seven, or just two seats for the van version.
A digital instrument cluster is positioned at the top of the dashboard and is complemented by a 10.25-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system. Go for the Premium variant with seven seats and the middle row has what Hyundai refers to as "premium relaxation seats," which automatically recline at the press of a button to enable a comfortable position. The nine-seat Staria Premium has second-row seats that swivel 180 degrees to face the passengers sitting on the rearmost seats.
The Staria Premium also gets ambient LED lighting in 64 colors while all trim levels have various storage areas, including above the overhead console, the top and bottom of the center console, and below the driver's display. The center console box contains USB ports, cup holders, and extra storage space for miscellaneous items, while the button-type gear selector has freed up more space.
Hyundai says it will release full technical specifications in the first half of the year and mentions the 11-seat Staria will be exclusive to domestic market South Korea.