Hyundai has been spied testing a hybrid Staria prototype in Korea, suggesting the brand will offer a direct rival for its upcoming Kia Carnival hybrid corporate cousin.

    The Staria was spotted parked wearing no camouflage suggesting it was a combustion-powered production model, until Motorgraph noticed the stickers on the vehicle which tell a different story.

    The stickers plastered throughout the vehicle have “US4 HEV” printed on them. According to Motorgraph, US4 is the codename for the Staria and HEV is Hyundai Motor Group’s preferred acronym for hybrid.

    Hyundai is yet to announce it’s working on a hybrid model of the people mover, but it’s not an altogether surprising development given the related Kia Carnival is gaining a hybrid option with its mid-life update.

    The spied Staria on the outside looks exactly the same as its combustion-powered twin, and therefore visual differences could be limited to details like hybrid-specific screens for the digital instrument cluster and/or infotainment touchscreen.

    According to the news outlet, Hyundai is likely to use the 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder hybrid powertrain from the Santa Fe Hybrid and Tucson Hybrid. The former is already on sale here, while the latter is expected in 2024.

    According to Korean Car Blog, total system output for the Staria HEV could be 171kW of power courtesy of a different tune to that employed by the hybrid Hyundai SUVs and Kia Sportage and Sorento HEVs, as well as the Carnival HEV set for reveal this year.

    The Korean news outlet says the Staria HEV’s turbocharged engine could produce a maximum of 134kW of power and 270Nm while its electric motor may produce 44kW of power and 264Nm.

    In the other hybrid Hyundai and Kia models, total system outputs are 169kW and 350Nm courtesy of a 44kW/264Nm electric motor sandwiched between the six-speed automatic transmission and a 132kW/265Nm 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine.

    It’s worth noting the diesel and petrol engines from the current-generation Staria offer less power than the respective powertrains in the Kia Carnival.

    The hybrid Staria isn’t the only electrified variant on the horizon.

    Hyundai announced in 2021 it planned to bring a hydrogen fuel-cell version of its people mover to market during 2023, but it has said little about the Staria FCEV since.

    MORE: Everything Hyundai Staria

    Jade Credentino

    Jade Credentino is an automotive journalist currently based in Melbourne, Australia. Jade has had a chance to review a variety of vehicles and particularly enjoys SUVs. She enjoys traveling and going on road trips exploring Australia.

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