The Starex for the masses
Introduced early this year with an eye out on carving a profitable niche in the urban commuting express business, Hyundai Asia Resources Inc is throwing into the mix the Starex Super Express to lock horns with the Nissan Urvan and the Toyota Hi-Ace Commuter. This vehicle is Hyundai’s contribution to the fast-growing commuting requirements of mobile Filipinos. Based on the Grand Starex luxury van, Hyundai stripped off this variant of creature comforts and other luxury amenities and came up with this Spartan commuter express variant.
“While the Grand Starex aims to give luxurious comfort to families on-the-go, the Starex Super Express was engineered with the Filipino commuters and drivers in mind, for Hyundai truly understands the daily stress of commuting in a cramped space, travelling in back- breaking seats and embarking/disembarking to the inconvenience of other passengers,” states Pam Perez-Dacanay, marketing and communications chief of HARI.
To experience how it is like to tackle the monstrous urban traffic jams on a basic Starex van, HARI gave me the keys to a low mileage unit and let me loose on a rainy weekend. For starters, this unit is equipped with a 2.5 liter TCi diesel engine matted to a five-speed manual transmission. It is not as spiffy as the luxury version, but this diesel unit gets the job and is fuel efficient, which is a plus for fuel price conscious owners who curse the high heavens every time fuel prices goes up a notch. The front seats are comfortable and well-bolstered, although I cannot recommend the folding bench type rear seats to my Grandmother. Despite being touted by HARI as being a 15-seater commuter, the second row leg room for the rear seats are uncomfortable, unless if you’re Peter Dinklage of the popular Game of Thrones franchise. The third row up to the rear have ample leg room, but does not have headrests, which could have been a plus for the rear seats of this variant. Did I mention that the audio system goes out once you’re driving under a skyway or an MRT overhead track? Replacing it would not break the bank of your personal finances anyway.
Easy Ingress and Egress
A plus factor of this commuter variant is the cavernous cabin which boasts of a high ceiling and plentiful of space for cargo and people who lugs around town with a knapsack or even a travel bag. It is also perfect for hauling huge boxes and tall cargos such as bicycles and if you fold the rear bench type seats, it can accommodate a Vespa scooter with enough room for spare parts and mechanics. The massive rear door which swing upwards is makes hauling easy as loading an egg tray in your fridge.
Designed to be passenger-friendly, the Hyundai Grand Starex Super Express stands out from the other 15- seaters in the market with its double sliding doors. These doors allow passengers to load and unload from both sides of the vehicle, making it a game-changer in the transport industry. Another plus factor for this variant is the powerful climate control system with A/C vents strategically placed around the cabin. Despite having not window tint and we were travelling with on a hot Sunday afternoon on our way to Quezon Province, we hardly felt the humid temperature outside.
Suspension play is average, and it could be improved by bolting on a more pliant wheel and tire combination. Steering is precise and the engine is just right for this variant. Will it give its competitors a serious run for their money? Well, we’ll see at the sales report by the end of the year.
The Hyundai Starex Super Express brings peace of mind with its 3-year or 100,000 kilometer warranty—a premium benefit for vehicles used for commercial purposes. With the Hyundai Starex Super Express, you can finally change the way you define “commute”. Suggested Retail Price is at P1,398,000.