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Glenn Butler

Hyundai’s all-new people mover-based commercial van delivers on practicality, safety, performance and equipment, as Glenn Butler discovers.

  • Long list of active safety features
  • Practical cabin with plenty of storage
  • Robust and economical powertrain
  • Firm ride at the rear when empty, but to be expected
  • Front-end styling can be polarising

2021 is a good time to launch a new van in Australia. Thanks to government incentives designed to offset challenging COVID-related conditions for businesses, van sales are up a massive 56 per cent year on year. And while the Toyota HiAce is certainly benefiting from this unique set of circumstances, the rest of the van market is also reaping the rewards.  

The market leader – by a long way – is the Toyota HiAce, but the battle for second is fiercely contested by Hyundai, Ford and LDV, with Renault and Volkswagen not too far behind. 

So, can Hyundai’s all-new Staria build on its iLoad predecessor’s appeal to leap ahead of the chasing pack and cement itself as Australia’s second-favourite van? Or could it possibly close the yawning gap to market leader Toyota?

As you’ll read below, this all-new replacement for the Hyundai iLoad certainly comes armed for battle. It’s a significant step up in practicality, safety, equipment and value – all qualities that will win attention from commercial fleets and van buyers. 

The Hyundai Staria Load shares its platform with the equally new Staria eight-seat people mover, which means it should be more refined than the average van. Styling and external dimensions are the same, and they both share the robust and refined 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine and eight-speed automatic powertrain.

However, whereas the Staria people mover is all-wheel drive and has independent multi-link rear suspension, the Staria Load is front-drive with a leaf-sprung rigid rear axle. That’s not only cheaper but means it should cope better with heavy loads.    

The 2022 Hyundai Staria Load arrived in dealer showrooms in late September. The two-variant range consists of single cab (three-seat) and crew cab (five-seat) variants priced at $45,740 and $48,240 respectively, which is well above the old iLoad’s starting price of $39,680 (all before on-road costs). 

To compare apples with apples, we need to focus on the iLoad variants that came with automatic transmissions. Their prices kicked off at $42,710 for the single cab and $44,730 for the crew cab. That makes the true price difference between $3000 and $3500 and, as we’ll discover further on, this price rise is more than justified by additional features and safety equipment, and more modern drivetrains.

The Staria Load’s body is 5253mm long, 1997mm wide, and 2000mm high, making it 103mm longer, 77mm wider and 65mm taller than the old iLoad. Despite this, kerb weight is down by around 124kg (auto v auto) to 1938kg for the single cab and 2002kg for the crew cab. 

A Twin Swing barn-door set-up on the rear will be offered as a no-cost option to the single-door liftback.

Key details2022 Hyundai Staria Load Single Cab CRDi
Price (MSRP)$45,740 plus on-road costs
Colour of test carShimmering Silver
Options and accessoriesPremium paint – $695
Cargo barrier – $785
Rubber cargo mat – $429
Floor mats – $139
Price as tested$47,788 plus on-road costs
Price on-road$52,189
RivalsFord Transit | LDV G10 | Toyota HiAce

The Staria Load’s interior benefits greatly from the quality and feature upgrades first seen on the Staria people mover. 

Storage options include big door pockets, front roof trays, a dashboard tray in front of the driver and a huge centre console storage box – in addition to that cavern behind you. The Staria Load’s cloth driver and passenger seats adjust manually for slide and recline, and the steering wheel adjusts for tilt and telescope – the latter over a useful range. 

Remote central locking is standard, as are electric windows and electric heated mirrors. The side and rear doors are manually operated, as you’d expect on a commercial vehicle (unlike electric operation on some Staria people mover models). Air-conditioning of the non-climate control variety is standard.

Hyundai claims the Staria’s electronic park brake is a first in the van segment.

The growth in exterior dimensions detailed above brings a commensurate increase inside as well. The Staria Load single cab’s cargo bay is 232mm longer, 20mm wider, and 96mm taller than the single-cab iLoad. This, combined with a 1250mm gap between the wheel arches, means it can take three Euro pallets or two standard Australian pallets in the back. 

Hyundai claims the loading height is now 573mm (41mm lower than iLoad), but our tape measure suggested it is closer to 600mm. The tailgate cavity when open is 1350mm wide at the bottom and 1150mm wide at the top. This was more than wide enough to take a test pallet laden with concrete – thanks again Frank at Newport Pre-mix Concrete and Garden Supplies for helping us test the loading capabilities on-site.

But the bigger problem was the liftgate’s maximum height when open. The rear liftback opens to an impressively high 1900mm, although this still isn’t high enough for a standard forklift to clear when loading a pallet, as our photos show. If you have a reach stacker or counterbalance forklift, this will be less of a problem.

The cargo bay has a durable rubber floor mat, from the genuine accessories range, there are eight tie-downs on the floor, and bolt holes in the C-pillar for a second cage if you want to separate side door and back door storage.

When open, the side doors provide a 970mm wide opening, although the available cargo cage fitted to our test car (which separates occupants from cargo) eats into that width somewhat. 

In terms of cargo weight, the Staria Load comes with a 3020kg gross vehicle mass (GVM), which means it can carry up to 1082kg of humans and cargo, down slightly on the iLoad’s 1098kg rating. The cargo area is rated to carry a maximum of 800kg.

If you prefer your cargo capacity expressed in litres, the Staria Load can take 4935L compared to the iLoad’s 4426L. That’s a welcome increase, but still shy of the segment favourite Toyota HiAce with 6200L.

2022 Hyundai Staria Load Single Cab CRDi
Cargo volume4935L

Infotainment and Connectivity

The Hyundai Staria Load has an 8.0-inch centre touchscreen that houses the entertainment system, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and basic vehicle information. 

The instrument binnacle in front of the driver consists of a single LCD screen displaying speedometer, tachometer and small information screen between. This is a simple and clean approach to instrument binnacles, and has all the other information you need, such as trip computer, fuel gauge, odometer and gear selected.  

The Staria also has a large oddments tray in front of the driver, and a wireless charging pad under the air-conditioning controls.

The Staria Load does not have digital radio or satellite navigation. 

When it comes to safety and equipment, the Staria Load leaves the 14-year-old iLoad for dead. Hyundai claims the Staria has “segment-leading” active safety and technology with features like blind-spot collision avoidance, forward collision avoidance with cyclist and pedestrian detection and intersection intervention, rear-traffic collision avoidance, lane-following assist, active cruise control with intelligent speed limit assist, and safe exit warning all included in Hyundai’s SmartSense active safety suite that is standard on the Staria Load.

The Staria Load also has seven airbags – front driver and passenger, front centre airbag, driver and passenger thorax airbag, and curtain airbags for both rows (crew cab).

The Hyundai Staria Load – and the Staria people mover – have not been crash-tested by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) at the time of writing. 

2022 Hyundai Staria Load Single Cab CRDi
ANCAP ratingNot tested
Safety reportN/A

The Hyundai Staria Load comes with a five-year, 160,000km warranty for commercial use. Servicing intervals are every 12 months or 15,000km and cost $360 for each of the first five services. 

Hyundai claims fuel consumption has improved, the Staria Load rated at 7.0L/100km on the urban/extra-urban combined cycle. That’s 1.8L/100km better than the iLoad’s 8.8L/100km rating. During our test, we averaged 8.2L/100km.

At a glance2022 Hyundai Staria Load Single Cab CRDi
WarrantyFive years / 160,000km
Service intervals12 months / 15,000km
Servicing costs$1080 (3 years) | $1800 (5 years)
Fuel cons. (claimed)7.0L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test)8.2L/100km
Fuel typeDiesel
Fuel tank size75L

The Staria Load is front-drive compared to the iLoad’s rear-drive, and is powered by a newer 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine that produces 130kW (+5kW) and 430Nm (-11Nm) and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. There is no manual option this time around. 

While the Staria Load’s torque rating is down 11Nm, peak torque is available across a much wider engine operating range (1500–2500rpm), which should make for better performance, not to mention the added benefit of an eight-speed auto compared to the iLoad’s five-speed auto. 

On the road, these advances transform the Staria Load. The engine is very willing and has good response down low, which pays dividends when you’re loaded. The eight-speed transmission does a good job of picking the right gear for the situation, and is more than willing to hold a lower gear on inclines to maintain speed. Gearchanges are smooth.

The Staria Load’s ride is surprisingly supple over small amplitude bumps, and isolates the cabin from little irregularities well. Over bigger bumps there is an element of firmness, especially when it’s empty, but this is less evident with a load in the back. 

The front-drive Staria Load’s steering is the same ratio as the Staria people mover. It’s direct enough on-road, but will need a few cranks in tighter manoeuvres and when parking. It’s light, though, so this is not a big problem. The Staria Load has a bigger turning circle than the old iLoad, 11.94m compared to 11.2m.

The Staria Load has ventilated disc brakes all around along with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist. They have no problem handling the van unladen or with half a tonne in the back. 

The Staria Load can be fitted with a tow bar, and is rated to tow a 750kg unbraked trailer and a 2500kg braked trailer (including load). The iLoad could only tow a 1500kg braked trailer.  

Key details2022 Hyundai Staria Load Single Cab CRDi
Engine2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
Power130kW @ 3800rpm
Torque430Nm @ 1500-2500rpm
Drive typeFront-wheel drive
TransmissionEight-speed torque convertor automatic
Power to weight ratio67.1kW/t
Weight1938kg (kerb)
Tow rating2500kg unbraked, 750kg unbraked
Turning circle11.9m

In a market where boxy is best – if the sales charts are to be trusted – the sleeker, more rounded Hyundai Staria Load’s biggest problem may be its extroverted, spaceship styling. When we polled a few guys at our photo location of Newport Pre-mix Concrete and Garden Supplies, they all had an opinion. Some liked it, some didn’t.

Those who like the look will also like the high levels of safety, bigger interior, better performance and value benefits this new-generation Hyundai van brings. 

Those who don’t may not take the time to see the Staria Load’s many positives. 

Ratings Breakdown

8.3/ 10

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Infotainment & Connectivity

Glenn Butler

Glenn Butler is one of Australia’s best-known motoring journalists having spent the last 25 years reporting on cars on radio, TV, web and print. He’s a former editor of Wheels, Australia’s most respected car magazine, and was deputy editor of before that. Glenn’s also worked at an executive level for two of Australia’s most prominent car companies, so he understands how much care and consideration goes into designing and developing new cars. As a journalist, he’s driven everything from Ferraris to Fiats on all continents except Antarctica (which he one day hopes to achieve) and loves discovering each car’s unique personality and strengths. Glenn knows a car’s price isn’t indicative of its competence, and even the cheapest car can enhance your life and expand your horizons. 

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