When Hyundai revealed its futuristic-looking Staria people mover in 2021, it showed off a posh Lounge version that hasn't ended up coming here. That could change, however.
"We're looking at it. It's not 100 per cent confirmed yet but yes, we're very keen to get it in," said Bill Thomas, general manager of corporate affairs at Hyundai Australia, to CarExpert.
Mr Thomas didn't confirm when we should expect to see the plusher people mover in Australia, or which variants will come here.
There's a trio of Staria Lounge models offered in Korea: a regular Lounge, a high-roof 'Limousine', and a Camper.
The Lounge features distinctive copper accents, including on the grille and star-style alloy wheels.
Inside, the second row features individual reclining captain's chairs with heating and ventilation, two-way backrest and seat cushion, and a four-way leg rest.
The Staria Lounge can also be specified with a nine-seat layout, with second-row seats that swivel up to 180 degrees.
Other standard equipment includes features found on the Australian-market Staria, such as power sliding doors and a power tailgate.
The Staria Lounge Limousine ups the ante again, with power side steps and a raised roof, increasing overall height from 2000mm to 2200mm.
Inside, the elevated headliner features a rather Rolls-Royce-like illuminated starry sky setup. If you don't want to watch the 'stars', you can look ahead at a 25-inch display with wireless, USB and HDMI connectivity.
The captain's chairs sit on either side of a sliding console with USB-C outlets, an expandable table and cupholders.
Unlike the regular Lounge, which can be had with a 3.5-litre petrol V6 and front-wheel drive, the Limousine is offered exclusively with the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive.
This features a fully automatic pop-up roof, a retractable awning, seats that fold completely flat, a 36L fridge, and a built-in kitchen and fresh water supply.
Hyundai Australia product general manager Andrew Tuitahi said back in 2021 the company wanted to bring the Staria Lounge here, but faced some regulatory hurdles.
"Those particular seating configurations, as they're currently set up, don't meet some of the Australian design regulations so we're currently sitting with the eight-seat option that we have at the moment," he said.
Should Hyundai introduce the Staria Lounge to Australia, it's unclear which members of the extended Lounge family it would offer and how much more they would cost than the standard model.
The Staria currently tops out at $67,000 before on-road costs for the Highlander AWD diesel, comparable to the range-topping Kia Carnival Platinum diesel ($67,580 before on-roads).
Hyundai says it has been happy with how the Staria has been performing since it arrived here in mid-2021. In its first full year on the market, it sold 1721 examples of the people mover, not including the related Staria Load cargo van.
To the end of October this year, however, Staria sales are down 33 per cent to 951 units, while the related Carnival is sitting at 9646 sales.
Even with two months left in the year, the Carnival has already set an all-time record in the Australian market – Kia sold 8054 examples during calendar year 2022 – and that's despite V6 sales being paused due to high demand for the entry-level engine in other markets.
Content originally sourced from: CarExpert.com.au