All vans look the same, you say? Feast your eyes on this!
Hyundai has teased a new people mover called the Staria that’ll replace the iMax, known elsewhere as the Starex.
It’s due here in the second half of this year, and we expect an iLoad cargo-carrying version to follow.
UPDATE, 4:10pm 11/03/21: The new Staria, also known as the iLoad or iMax, has been leaked on Autospy. We’ve updated our headline, along with the image below.
The teasers show the Staria in top-spec Premium trim, which wears distinctive snowflake-style alloy wheels, LED ice-block style headlights, and a chrome grille with tessellating octagons.
Above the low-set grille is a full-width, horizontal daytime running light.
All Starias have a dramatic silhouette that has more in common with a Starfleet shuttlecraft than any van on sale today, with a surprisingly low belt line for a modern vehicle that promises impressive visibility.
The belt line steeply curves to meet the windscreen.
The rear, too, has a distinctive look with vertical LED tail lights with grid-like graphics, à la the Ioniq 5. The grid pattern continues towards the roof, potentially incorporating the reversing lights.
Inside, there’s a prominent, tablet-style centre stack which incorporates the touchscreen and an array of what appear to be touch-capacitive buttons for the climate control.
There doesn’t appear to be a conventional instrument cluster, with only a chrome strip visible ahead of the steering wheel.
It isn’t clear whether there’s a digital instrument cluster hidden out of view or if the speedometer is instead on the centre screen as on a Tesla Model 3.
In the rear of the Premium, there are two captain’s chairs with leg rests. Soft ambient lighting also features throughout the cabin.
Hyundai says it’ll reveal more details of the Staria and Staria Premium in the coming weeks.
It has yet to reveal any specifications, though it says it’ll come with “various driver-centric features and futuristic design elements”.
We expect it’ll offer a full suite of active safety and driver assist features like recent Hyundai models, and in stark contrast to the ageing iMax which lacks any of that technology.
The Staria’s silhouette is reminiscent of the 1990 U-Body minivans from General Motors – the Chevrolet Lumina APV, Oldsmobile Silhouette and Pontiac Trans Sport – which proved to be too racy for early 1990s American sensibilities.
The radical styling resulted in an overly expansive dash area but it also earned the minivans the nickname “Dustbuster”, leading GM to shorten the front overhang of the Chevrolet and Pontiac models by around 76mm for a mid-cycle refresh.
While the Staria has a similarly dramatic slope up front, its wheels are pushed further out to the corners of its body than in the GM minivans which results in even more futuristic proportions.