Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hyundai H-1 Starex - 11 seater MPV!

Saw this giant on the roads today, near One Utama ... this is the Hyundai H-1 or locally known as the Starex.
Hyundai has just launched the new Hyundai H1 11-seater van at the 2007 Thailand Motor Expo. The Hyundai H1 - also known as the Hyundai Starex in certain markets - is a van that can be configured with either 8 or 11 seats aimed at customers who wish to have a people mover but do not want to spend so much on luxury MPVs.
The Hyundai Starex goes head to head against vehicles such as the Ford Transit, the Volkswagen Transporter and the Mercedes Benz Vito. The Thai model is configured with 11 seats.
There are two engine options available - a 2.5 liter turbocharged intercooled oil burner with 100 PS and 226Nm of torque, a 2.5 liter CRDi turbocharged intercooled oil burner with a variable geometry turbocharger making 170 hp and 392Nm of torque, as well as a 2.4 liter Theta family gasoline engine delivering 170 horsepower and 223Nm of torque.
The pricetag which starts at RM135,533 (including insurance) for the 7-seater may be higher than the locally-assembled models mentioned and it provides an alternative but it would certainly be something that those in the market for a Toyota Estima or Alphard might take a look at too.
For the 7-seat layout, the fourth row is omitted which gives extra space for luggage. Then it is three rows with a 2-3-2 seating arrangement. Hyundai Sime Darby / HSD also has a more customized luxury version of the Starex which can serve as a mobile office with a meeting table, audio system and DVD ICE provided. The cost of this customization is RM37,355 which takes the price up to RM172,888. According to a HSD executive, the customer can specify what is required and there is some flexibility in options. Of course, this also means waiting a bit longer as customization is a one-off exercise.
I believe the ones available locally are equipped with the more frugal diesel engine, this is really a cool niche player in the MPV market, as it is probably the only other car (Besides a strange looking Ssangyong) in its class which can seat > 8 pax. And with customisation options, it makes sense as both a mobile-office as well as a transport vehicle for hotels etc. Not sure about the badging and brand image though, I guess the Mercedes Vito still wins in that respect.


suechoong said...

Went to Vietnam last month and our friend just bought this car / vehicle. Very comfy and it fit all 7 us plus 1 driver very nicely. Even managed to fit all our shopping bags too!!! Heheh. Worth checking out. BTW, nice blog, esp on the food. Found you through google - peking duck!!

Julian Si said...

Thanks for the feedback! Ah hah, I didn't know it was available in Viet, and glad to hear it is comfy too.

Real good value at RM$135+ K I reckon, if you can put up with the SIZE (it's huge!) as well as not being a brand-snob.

Hope you found your duck :-)

driving school worcester said...

One of the few gripes I have with the Starex is the absence of a rear screen wiper when even a reverse camera is standard. You know how an expansive rear windscreen on a near-vertical tailgate gets easily sprayed with smudges after a rainy day drive.