It might look like a van from the future, but the Staria Load is very much the ideal van for today.

What is it?

The long-in-the-tooth iLoad is finally gone, and Hyundai has a new van in its range – the 2022 Staria Load.

Right off the bat, it’s the most futuristic-looking van out there, with its bold styling making it stand out drastically in a sea of boring tradie vehicles.

Like with the iLoad and iMax before it, there’s a people-mover version of the Staria also on offer, which wears the same styling but is far less agricultural.

However, the Staria Load is far from basic despite its reasonable price tag. The regular two-seater tested here starts at $45,740 while the five-seat Crew Van is priced from $49,640.

What does it look like?

Any trade business owner knows it’s important to make a positive statement with your work vehicle, and the Staria Load is the ideal canvas for it in my eyes.

Although it lacks the signature lightbar of the passenger version – it’s simply blanked out here – the Staria Load’s futuristic front end and dustbuster side profile means it’ll grab attention. It might divide opinions, but personally, I dig it.

In optional Shimmering Silver paint like our tester – the only colour other than white – it’ll look smart on the job site as well. Its massive sides are also ideal for signwriting.

Practically speaking, it’s worth mentioning you can have it with a regular tailgate or split barn doors. The former goes high enough for taller folk to not have to crouch under it. The latter will make loading pallets with a forklift much easier.

There’s also a sliding door on each side of the van as standard. However, only the Crew Van gets rear side windows.

As you’d expect, steel wheels are the only option and they balance out the futuristic looks with some commercial van sensibility well.

What’s the Hyundai Staria Load like inside?

The futuristic exterior styling of the Staria Load is certainly mirrored inside with what feels like a thoroughly modern yet practical van interior. While there’s obviously a lot of durable plastic in here, Hyundai is actually treating van drivers to some luxuries for a change.

There’s a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a digital instrument cluster (with a hilarious shade on the top to prevent glare), and an 8.0-inch infotainment screen with wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless phone charging. It’s actually incredibly modern and civilised in here.

The amount of safety tech that features is off the charts, too. There’s front and rear autonomous emergency braking; lane keep assist with Level 2 semi-autonomous lane tracing; adaptive cruise control; and front and rear parking sensors.

There’s even a 360-degree camera that offers multiple focused views around the van. Not only is that good for safety when moving around the jobsite, but it’ll help you get into loading bays more easily as well.

Storage is obviously another important point, and the multi-pocketed door cards and overhead storage trays are certainly welcome.

The trays on the top of the dash are handy as well. However, it would be nice if they were enclosed like in the passenger version of the Staria.

It’s also nice that there’s a cargo barrier as standard to keep you separated from the rear cargo area. With it not being solid, though, it does mean the cabin can be noisy and echoey.

How much can I fit in the Hyundai Staria Load?

The cargo area of the Hyundai Staria Load has a capacity of 4935 litres using the VDA measurement system. That’s now enough to fit three Euro pallets; the iLoad only managed two.

Payload is rated at 1072kg including passengers. However, the maximum cargo weight is limited to 800kg in the regular van and 600kg in the Crew Van.

In terms of the size of items you can fit in there, the cargo area measures in at:

  • Length: 2607mm (1435mm for Crew Van)
  • Width: 1640mm
  • Height: 1436mm

Additionally, the sliding doors on either side of the van offer an 870mm opening. The Staria Load is also rated 2500kg braked towing and 750kg unbraked with a maximum towball weight of 100kg.

What’s under the bonnet?

Just one engine is offered in the Staria Load – a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel that makes 130kW at 3800rpm and 430Nm from 1500-2500rpm.

There’s only one transmission available as well – an eight-speed torque converter automatic with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is unavailable on the Staria Load despite being standard on the normal diesel Staria.

It’s also worth noting the Staria Load has a rigid rear axle with leaf springs to improve payload. The ‘regular’ Staria, meanwhile, uses independent multi-link rear suspension with coil springs.

What’s the Hyundai Staria Load like to drive?

With a well-proven engine under the bonnet – this 2.2-litre diesel has been around for a while, and has crucially proven to be free of DPF issues – it’s no surprise that the Staria Load feels incredibly refined from behind the wheel.

Combined with what is a very slick automatic transmission, it’s a powertrain you’ll never need to give much thought to. There’s power there when you need it, low-down pickup is good, and it handles a load confidently.

The suspension, too, is surprisingly smooth. Smaller bumps like you’d find around town are well-absorbed, although when unladen, larger bumps do cause a bit more of a thud as you’d expect with leaf springs.

However, with even a mere 90kg of weight in the back – an old fridge, car bonnet, and some other odds and ends – it settled it down almost completely.

Its turning circle is wider than the iLoad it replaces – 11.94m versus 11.2m – but you’d hardly call it troublesome. The steering feels well-weighted and perfectly easy around town in reality, and it makes this 5253mm behemoth a relative doddle.

This shares its platform with the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Carnival as well – both of which are cars that handle well for their size. Given all the driver aids it features as well – the semi-autonomous steering and 360-degree camera being the two that make life easiest – it feels just as easy and pleasant to drive as either of them really.

How do the numbers add up?

Like all Hyundai models, the Staria Load is covered by a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty. It also comes with capped price servicing for those first five years, with each service costing $360. The service interval is set at 12 months or 15,000km.

On the combined cycle, Hyundai claims fuel consumption of a mere 7.0L/100km. I saw a return of 8.7L/100km after 280km of driving, the majority of which was around town. That makes it especially impressive as the urban claim is actually higher at 8.9L/100km.

Compared to the automatic iLoad it replaces, the Staria Load costs around $3000 more at its base price of $45,740. That’s especially amazing to consider given this is a much better equipped and vastly more refined vehicle.

Despite being slightly more expensive than its biggest rival, the Toyota HiAce, I’d say the strength of its standard equipment level more than makes up the difference there as well.

Is the Hyundai Staria Load a good van?

Right now, there’s no better van out there than the Hyundai Staria Load. The Toyota HiAce might be very good, but this is just better.

If you can see past (or indeed like) the spaceship looks, it’s an amazingly well-equipped and refined van. It’ll be cheap to run and solidly reliable with that proven diesel engine, too.

And besides, the rest all play it too safe when it comes to styling. Dare to be different. It’s absolutely worth it.

2022 Hyundai Staria Load List Price: $45,740 | As Tested: $46,435
  • 8/10
    Performance - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Ride & Handling - 8/10
  • 8.5/10
    Tech & Features - 8.5/10
  • 8.5/10
    Practicality - 8.5/10
  • 8.5/10
    Value for Money - 8.5/10

Pros: Incredibly tech-laden for a commercial van, refined and economical drivetrain, compliant ride, looks a bit like a spaceship
Cons: No digital radio or integrated sat nav, no cheaper manual option, looks a bit like a spaceship

Full Disclosure: The vehicle tested here was provided by Hyundai Motor Company Australia for a week. All fuel costs were covered by the author.

Patrick Jackson
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