Home Editors' Picks Hyundai enters compact MPV segment with Stargazer

Hyundai enters compact MPV segment with Stargazer

By Kap Maceda Aguila

LAST OCT. 19, Hyundai Motor Philippines (HMPH) opened the order books for a forthcoming vehicle to join its local portfolio. The Hyundai Stargazer, a seven-seater multipurpose vehicle (MPV) manufactured in Indonesia, is expected to compete in the highly competitive segment here.

In a release, HMPH said that the model, which debuted at the Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show (GIIS) in Jakarta last August, will be formally launched on Nov. 8. Of note: The Philippines is only the second territory to offer the Stargazer.

The model’s exterior styling particularly calls to mind its larger, previously launched Staria sibling. “Some people refer to it as the ‘baby Staria,’” said HMPH Assistant Manager of PR Section Carissa Castell to “Velocity.” And while the most affordable Staria people mover starts at P1.85 million, the Stargazer is expected to be more appealing to people looking at lower price points. HMPH said that the most affordable variant, the base 1.5 GL, will be priced from P998,000. There will be a total of three trims — the two others being the 1.5 GLS and 1.5 GLS Premium.

“Hyundai Motor really intends to set a benchmark in the segment. It looks nothing like your conventional MPV. This future-oriented style was intentional. We wanted to communicate the brand’s pioneering spirit,” continued Ms. Castell. The Stargazer gets a horizontal line of LED daytime running lights (DRLs) and positioning lamps in front, just above its Hyundai logo. A so-called one-curve silhouette is said to “optimize cabin height” while simultaneously improving aerodynamics by curbing wind drag — leading to “a smoother ride and better fuel economy.”

The variant that “Velocity” recently previewed (the top-spec GLS Premium) rides on 16-inch dual-tone alloys, and boasts chrome-colored door handles, power-folding and adjusting side view mirrors, and doors that unlock without having to fiddle with a key fob (as long as it’s in the driver’s pocket or bag).

The design of the front fascia also takes on an H design, and the grille is fringed by uniquely shaped LED headlamp clusters, below which are halogen foglamps. The rear is similarly marked by an H design through the lights in the rear; a high-mount brake lamp enhances visibility and safety. The GLS models receive a shark fin antenna.

The Stargazer has 185 millimeters of ground clearance, and stretches 4.46 meters from front to back. On its sides are sharp, angular creases which aid to heighten the dynamic, futuristic design of the vehicle.

Under the hood is a 1.5-liter, naturally aspirated engine generating a maximum of 113hp at 6,300rpm and 144Nm of torque at 4,500rpm. The driver accesses the output via an intelligent variable transmission (IVT), which is similar to a CVT system.

HMPH pointed out that the Stargazer has the longest-in-class wheelbase — translating into more generous space in the second and third rows — on top of a flexible seating configuration.

Inside the cabin, the MPV’s seats are covered in leatherette for the GLS models and fabric for the GL. A center armrest is standard for the GLS trims as well, as are a seatback pocket and console box, plus a very useful seatback table with beverage holder. An eight-inch touchscreen display boasts Bluetooth, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay connectivity, and the infotainment system finds expression through four speakers and two tweeters.

In front of the driver is an all-digital instrument cluster platformed on a 4.2-inch TFT LCD screen. To accommodate mobile device charging, there’s a port in the front row, and an additional two in the second row. Ms. Castell also suggested to check out a myriad of multifunctional storage spaces such as a hidden dashboard tray, and headrest bag hook.

All variants are equipped with Hyundai SmartSense, the brand’s advanced driver assistance system. “This includes, but is not limited to, collision avoidance, blind spot detection, tire pressure monitoring and rear occupant alert,” said HMPH.

“The share in the market of MPVs continues to increase year on year,” observed HMPH Managing Director Cecil Capacete. “And along with this growth are the evolving considerations when choosing the right one. As a brand, our focus on humanity is driven by our commitment to understand what people want in life so we can offer them an ownership journey that is meaningful and rewarding. Which is why Hyundai Motor is bringing in the Stargazer as it is not just a head-turner, but a game-changer. With the Stargazer we wish to set a new benchmark in its segment. We recognize the emergence of the modern lifestyle and needs among Filipino families. And we intend to address these through our future-oriented design, top-of-class advanced safety and technological systems and unmatched driver and passenger comfort.”

The Hyundai Stargazer will be publicly launched on Nov. 9 through Facebook (HyundaiMotorPhilippines). For more information, visit www.hyundai.com/ph/en/find-a-car/stargazer/highlights.