This is the All-New 2022 Hyundai Staria eight-seater people mover. Watch out Kia Carnival and Honda Odyssey the Staria is EPICAL as my daughter would say and it definitely makes the people mover segment much more exciting!
The Staria is super spacious and roomy like the VW MultiVan but with a more people-mover-like driving experience and out-of-this-world styling. It is packed full with lots of luxuries and family-friendly features, especially the top-of-the-range Highlander version I tested! Let's waste no time and dive straight in to see how good it is as a BabyDrive…
The first thing I have to tell you about is by far the BEST FAMILY CAR FEATURE EVER! Eyes in the back of your head with the rear passenger view monitor fitted to Highlander versions.
I have joked about how good this feature would be previously and now it's a reality! WOOP WOOP!! To be able to keep your eye on all your rear passengers whilst driving along takes parenting anxiety from a level ten down to a zero! You no longer need to worry if rear-facing babies are okay, you can see they're fine on your media screen. You can see if kids remove their seatbelts or are annoying each other and they love to watch themselves in it too. We even had great fun playing hide and seek with it when we had five minutes to wait for a pick up!
My second favourite thing about the All-New Hyundai Staria is that all the 2.2L diesel engine variants have all-wheel drive (there is also a V6 petrol with front-wheel drive). This is because, believe it or not, the whole car is based on the same technology as the Hyundai Santa Fe SUV, so it is great for a bit of dirt road driving for family camping trips or family trips to the snow.
AWD people movers are rare, especially at this price point, and both engine choices including the AWD diesel are available from entry-level Staria to the top-spec Highlander I tested.
The Staria has a 2.5-tonne towing capacity but like the Hyundai Santa Fe it can only take 100kg on the tow ball, which doesn't make it as practical for towing for family camping holidays as we'd hoped for.
The Hyundai Staria's rear seats are so spacious that when it comes to installing child seats it's really easy. There are top tether anchorages on the back of each of the second-row seats and ISOFix points in the two outer second-row seats so I was able to install three Infasecure child seats really nicely across the second row. I fitted the Infasecure Optima and Serene rear-facing in the outer seats and Infasecure Roamer II forward-facing in the middle seat. There is plenty of space across the seats so three forward-facing or rear-facing child seats would fit.
There is plenty of space for an adult to sit between two child seats as well. Legroom is fantastic in the Hyundai Staria. We found with a rear-facing child seat installed in the second row we could fit a 182cm driver and passenger in the third row behind it too.
Accessing the third row is fantastic in the Staria! You can bring the second-row seats forward and climb through to the third-row seats if you have used the ISOFix to install your child seats rather than the seatbelt.
In the third row, there are no top tether anchorages or ISOFix (unlike the Kia Carnival) but I was able to easily fit three Infasecure Versatile Folding Booster seats because they are so lightweight that they do not use top tether anchorages. You can learn more about these and the other Infasecure child seats I tested with our Infasecure child seat guide.
The Hyundai Staria has smart power sliding doors that open automatically when you walk up to them with the key in your pocket or bag. I found this so helpful during my week with the Staria so I could carry my baby up to the car and put her straight into her seat without having to fumble in my bag for the key.
Storage and connectivity are fantastic throughout the Staria too, with a whopping 16 cup holders giveing you ample in each of the three rows of seats. Pictured below is the third row's storage on one side and there are USB ports for charging too.
The second-row passengers also get two USB ports, cup holders, map pockets and storage drawers.
In the front, there are my favourite dashboard cup holders as well as multiple storage boxes
and a central console box as big as my toddler!
The front doors are cascades of useful storage that remind me of the terraced rice fields in Asia.
You can read even more details of the storage in the Hyundai Staria in the expandable storage section below.
Keeping with the Staria's practicality and the boot size is another place that the Staria excels! It's bigger than my baby's playpen!!
The boot floor is flat and when using all eight seats I can park a twin pram in the boot!
When the boot is empty it is cavernous and any size pram, stroller or family pet dog will fit. It will hold 16 shopping bags which trounces the Kia Carnival that holds 10 shopping bags, the VW Multivan that takes eight and the Honda Odyssey that has room for just six.
When only using the second-row seats you can slide the third-row seats forward easily, giving you an even bigger boot space! It's almost enough room for the family pet horse, let alone dog!
When the seats are in this position any size pram or stroller will fit and 24 shopping bags fit easily in the boot, matching the Kia Carnival. The VW Multivan and Honda Odyssey both fit 20 shopping bags.
The Hyundai Staria has a smart powered tailgate, so you can walk up to it with your kids or their bike in your arms and the key in your pocket and the tailgate will automatically open! I found this a fantastic feature for my family because I am usually carrying my baby when I go out to the car and at least her bag if not the others bags too, so to have the boot door open without having to do anything is fantastic! I did find that you definitely have to consider where you park to ensure you have enough space for the large tailgate to open.
Space, as well as comfort, are things the Staria does well, with aircon vents in all three rows of seats. There are four across the front dash…
…as well as round vents in the ceiling above both rear rows of seats.
There are controls in the second-row ceiling for when you are transporting adults and older kids.
You can lock these and control them from the front media screen when you have little ones in the back or kids that squabble over them!
The Staria is really light and visibility is great throughout with enormous windows in all three rows of seats and, in the top-spec Highlander I tested, two sunroofs too.
There are built-in window blinds in both rear rows of windows (on mid-spec Elite and Highlander) which is great for shielding rear passengers from the sun while driving. I did wish there was something on the front windows because they are so big that I found I was getting cooked down one side by the sun and that was in our Queensland spring so it would be worse in the summer.
Although visibility is very good out of the Hyundai Staria with its enormous windows, when it is loaded up with child seats and eight passengers onboard it is obviously greatly effected. Hyundai have thought of everything with a surround-view monitor (on the Elite and Highlander), which gives you a 3D visual around the exterior of the car so you can check for kids and pets when manoeuvring.
The Highlander tested here also has blind-spot view cameras that come up in the display in front of the driver when you indicate. This is great for seeing down the side of the car when you are turning or changing lane.
The Hyundai Staria has a 10.25″ media screen with a really easy to use and navigate media system. It's really intuitive which makes it a pleasure to use when you have other distractions like kids in the car and you are concentrating on driving.
It is full of family friendly features like Sounds of Nature, which is different white noise at your finger tips! I love playing the calm ocean waves for my little one it calms her down and sends her off to sleep!
Voice memos, well I thought I would use to dictate my mum and work to do list while driving but I have recently found I use it to record the funny conversations I have with my kids in the car!
Quiet mode fades the sound from the back speakers to the front, which we find great when kids are on devices in the back or have fallen asleep so I can listen to my music or podcast in the front without disturbing them.
The built in navigation is easy to use and you can adjust the volume of the guidance voice easily on the left of the screen.
The Hyundai Staria has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto too, which is fantastic for easily accessing your phone and apps.
There is a seatbelt removal visual on the dash and warning for both rear rows of seats. Although you will probably have seen in the rear view monitor if anyone has undone their seatbelt, it is good to have the alarm too.
The Staria has seven airbags including side curtain airbags for the second and third-row passengers and a central airbag between the front passengers too.
The Hyundai Staria is yet to be put through ANCAP Crash testing and receive a safety rating however it has many of the safety features we all want for our families car including safe exit assist, which ensures no passengers can get out into the path of another road user coming along side you.
Overall the New Hyundai Staria stands out in the people mover segment as being very different from the rest. This Highlander model in particular is filled with the luxury and practical features wanted by families, teamed with the spaciousness and flexibility of an eight seater people mover. The Staria is a great car to drive, it is large but the steering is light and the turning circle is very good, if not quite as good as the Kia Carnival, but is still very impressive given it is longer and, surprisingly, makes it easier to park and manoeuvre in school and supermarket carparks than most SUVs.