2012 Hyundai Starex Review
2012 Hyundai Starex at a glance
The 2012 Hyundai Starex represents plenty of value for the money. For a start, it exceeded all our expectations by a margin with its handling and refinement, and of course, the 2012 Hyundai Starex offers space for eleven people.
2012 Hyundai Starex quick specs
2012 Hyundai Starex ratings (overall rating : 3.5/5.0)
Meant as an outright people carrier, the 2012 Hyundai Starex looks like a modern MPV, much better than the utilitarian van-look. At certain angles, we saw glimpses of the Toyota Alphard, which is an attractive luxury MPV to start with. Inside, the well-designed cabin is something you would not be disappointed with in a modern MPV. For a van, the overall styling certainly exceeded our expectations.
The 2012 Hyundai Starex is much easier to drive than its imposing bulk suggests, thanks to passenger car-like monocoque structure. The light steering makes city driving undemanding, helped by a turning circle no more than 5.6 metres, despite a length in excess of five metres. Not that we recommend pushing this mammoth of a car too hard, but the grip levels and body control are reasonable by MPV standards. Considering the 2012 Hyundai Starex's mass and high centre of gravity, Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), in addition to Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), should be standard.
Ride comfort suffers over rough surfaces. The suspension fails to absorb the impact of bumps, and the cabin fixtures rattle that exists alongside does little for comfort. The ride should improve with more load on board though. Refinement scores better with a cabin insulated from wind, road and engine noise. The non-van-like driving position gives unhindered outward visibility. But the flat seats can do with more support. With big wing mirrors, a boxy shape, and rear parking camera, parking is manageable, although a lower-placed camera view and use of reverse sensors will help.
Quality + Reliability
Build quality is Hyundai-solid, meaning good fit-and-finish throughout. Soft plastics are used for the top of the dashboard, while other materials still represent a world of difference from normal van standards. According to JD Power customer satisfaction surveys, Hyundai models scored well for their reliability, and we expect that positive trend to continue with the 2012 Hyundai Starex.
To haul the massive car, a 2.5-litre turbodiesel with common rail fuel delivery and Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT) is used. The output from the 2.5-litre engine: 168 bhp at 3800 rpm and 392 Nm between 2000-2500 rpm. With enormous torque from a low rpm, the engine never feels strained, and should have no problems with a full load. The five-speed automatic shifts smoothly, but it is not the most responsive to throttle movements, and using the sequential manual shifting will not get much faster responses.
The 2012 Hyundai Starex holds up to a maximum of eleven occupants, using a 3-3-3-2 seating arrangement. Middle seats in the second and third row can be folded for use as tables, while the remaining four seats in the two centre rows can recline and slide individually. Boot capacity is limited with all seats up, but the last row can be folded to free up more luggage space. Expectedly, the first three rows enjoy more room than the last row, but all rows do get their own air vents. Rear passengers have easy access with the twin sliding doors.
The diesel has reasonable fuel economy. Servicing and repairs should be affordable, and the reliable mechanicals should lower maintenance cost in the long run. Depreciation, on the other hand, could be more of a concern. The Hyundai badge contributes little in preserving value, although the brand reputation is steadily improving. The lack of comparable alternatives to the Hyundai Starex in the second-hand market would help mitigate the depreciation.
Value for Money
Direct rivals like the Ford Transit and Volkswagen Transporter are not available in Malaysia. Only the significantly more expensive Mercedes-Benz Vito offers an alternative. At its price level, the 2012 Hyundai Starex has the market segment to itself. For those who need a people carrier at a relatively low price, Hyundai has just the car for you.
Equipment level is decent, even including a roof-mounted LCD screen. Safety kit includes twin SRS airbags and Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), but we think Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) is necessary when Grand Starex is dealing with its large mass and high centre of gravity, not to mention the number of lives involved. A customised luxury version of the 2012 Hyundai Starex, complete with a meeting table, audio system and DVD ICE, can be ordered. But that of course means more money and waiting time for the car.
Being powered by a diesel gives the 2012 Hyundai Starex “greener” credentials than many petrol MPVs out there. Combining reasonable fuel economy, commendable carbon dioxide emission level, and the ability to carry eleven people (meaning less carbon dioxide emissions per person), the 2012 Hyundai Starex does well environmentally.
Live Life Drive Verdict
Handles well for its size
Space for eleven
No Electronic Stability Programme (ESP)
See Another Model
Price    :   from RM96,581
Price    :   from RM94,024
Price    :   from RM165,427
Price    :   from RM132,832