After nearly 14 years on sale, the iLoad has been retired and in its place steps a van from a whole new galaxy in terms of comfort and safety.
Replacing the ancient iLoad, the Staria Load addresses some key criticisms its predecessor received from ANCAP on the safety front and is now based on a passenger-car platform, shared with the Santa Fe, to push the boundaries of capability and comfort.
Hyundai offers the Staria Load in two-seat van configuration from $45,740 (before on-road costs) or as a five-seat crew van from $48,240 (before on-road costs).
Buyers can opt for either a single-piece tailgate or barn-door-style twin doors at no extra cost, though the latter – also known as the ‘twin swing’ – won’t be available until the fourth quarter of this year.
With this completely new model line-up, the price of entry on a Hyundai commercial vehicle has jumped by a substantial $6,000, however this is partly due to the decision to offer the Staria Load without a manual transmission option, which was both cheaper and offered less grunt than the auto in the previous iLoad.
Using Hyundai’s updated 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, mated exclusively to an eight-speed torque-converter automatic, grunt is sent to the front wheels exclusively.
The smaller engine provides slightly more power at 130kW but also slightly less torque at 430Nm than the iLoad’s gruntiest turbo-diesel, however towing capacity has been increased by an entire tonne and is now rated at 2.5-tonnes braked.
The automatic turbo-diesel four is the sole drivetrain option for now, however the Staria is set to adopt a hydrogen fuel-cell drivetrain overseas and Hyundai Australia has expressed its interest in bringing this technology to our shores.
Payload is rated at 1,018 kg, which is slightly down on the 1,117kg offered on the iLoad, but the space inside has increased in every direction, with the total volume in the van configuration up by around 500 litres to 4,935-litres (VDA).
This increase in space has unlocked the ability to load three euro pallets or two Australian standard pallets. Additionally, the 41mm lower loading height (at 573mm) will make it slightly easier to clamber in and out of.
While an official ANCAP score is yet to be released, the Staria Load is sure to keep occupants much safer in the event of an accident than its ageing predecessor, which launched way back in February 2008, while perhaps avoiding one entirely.
ANCAP took aim at the iLoad earlier this year, along with some of its rivals, for its lack of crash prevention technology such as pedestrian-detecting autonomous emergency braking (AEB),and actively recommended against purchasing the van.
In contrast, the Staria Load includes AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection along with rear cross-traffic avoidance assist, blind-spot collision avoidance assist, lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control all as standard.
Additionally, the AEB is capable of detecting a potential collision at an intersection when turning across oncoming traffic.
Along with front and rear parking sensors, Hyundai also includes a 360-degree camera however only when there’s a regular tailgate, not with ‘twin swing’ doors.
While likely not the top priority for a work van, Hyundai has taken a similar approach to Volkswagen by not skimping on the technology in its commercial vans, while keeping the approach strictly practical.
Upfront, Hyundai has fitted black cloth seats with a leather steering wheel and gearshift knob, along with a number of storage areas in the dash and roof, though it misses out on the huge centre bin found in the people mover variant.
In front of the driver is a 4.2-inch display, flanked by two digital instrument dials. There’s also an 8.0-inch centre touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Other handy features include a wireless phone charger, heated and power-folding mirrors, and a full-size spare wheel at the back.
The Staria Load is now on sale in Australia, though if a cheap price is everything then you’ll need to move fast because less than 100 units of the previous iLoad remain in dealerships.
About Chasing cars
Chasing Cars reviews are 100% independent.
Because we are powered by Budget Direct Insurance, we don’t receive advertising or sales revenue from car manufacturers.
We’re truly independent – giving you Australia’s best car reviews.
Hyundai Staria 2021: campervan built to take on Volkswagen California Beach ‘unlikely’ for Australia
Hyundai Ioniq 5 2022: rich specification for single Australian launch variant, other models to follow next year