The rise of Hyundai from the brand that sold cheap econoboxes to bedroom poster-worthy dream cars has been impressive. Perhaps the best example of the powerhouse of Hyundai is two new completely different products that Top Gear got to test side-by-side. Top Gear Magazine‘s Ollie Marriage got to test the teardrop-shaped Ioniq 6 and the excellent Staria van but outfitted as a camper that few people can buy.
The first vehicle Marriage got to take a spin is one we’ve seen so much of. Hyundai’s Ioniq 6 is a hit out of the park in so many areas. We love its streamlined design, its pixelated lighting, and the fact that it has some seriously long legs. The teardrop sedan sports a 361-mile range, placing it third in EPA ratings behind the Lucid Air with 516 miles and the Tesla Model S with 405 miles.
It’s exciting to see sedans still have a place in the world playing the role of EVs with huge range numbers.
The base Ioniq 6 is powered by a 77.4 kWh battery and propelled by a 225 HP motor. Both of those are pretty healthy specs for an EV and it comes draped in a body that doesn’t just look like it’s aerodynamic. As our Thomas Hundal covered, Hyundai is actually using some streamlining tricks:
An Ioniq 6 Road Trip
To test this great range, Top Gear Magazine‘s Ollie Marriage drove one essentially the length of South Korea, plus a visit to Jeju island to experience its interesting culture. Marriage’s journey started in Seoul with stops to play around in weird sculptures before reaching a fishing town on Udo island with a 50 percent charge remaining.
The Ioniq 6 driven by Marriage came with 324 HP thanks to a second motor, which can get the car up to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. His tester was rated for 323 miles, which Marriage says is notable as the vehicle could travel the length of South Korea without requiring a recharge.
Even better is the fact that real-world range appears to match the rated range.
Marriage felt that the styling was perhaps a little overwrought, but the driving experience is exactly as you’d expect. The Ioniq 6 handles like the big comfortable cruiser that it appears to me. And it has neat technology like a system that automatically slows down for speed cameras. Of course, it also has neat cameras for mirrors that we don’t get here.
After a ride aboard a ferry, Marriage arrived at Jeju Island, South Korea’s largest island. Here, Marriage made his way up Hallasan, a shield volcano with an elevation of 6,388 feet, making it the highest point in South Korea. Here, the Ioniq 6 showed itself to have good handling; it was also where Marriage met up with the real star of the show: the Staria Lounge Camper.
Sleeping In A Weird Camper Van
This is a real piece of forbidden fruit. Hyundai’s futuristic Staria van is already a vehicle that we don’t get here in America, but at least you could enjoy one if you’re a reader in Europe. The Staria Lounge Camper? As of now, the only people who can enjoy them are people who live in South Korea.
Like Hyundai’s Ioniq cars, the Staria is a marvel of modern design and something that I love is its massive greenhouse. In an era where windows seem to be getting smaller, the Staria reminds me of the minivans of old where you had no problem watching the world go by. This was intentional, as Hyundai designed the van to be tall with massive panoramic windows. The van–which was released in 2021–sits at six feet, six inches tall, and so much of the van’s space is used to allow occupants to enjoy the ride.
This sort of setup is great for a camper, and back in spring 2022, Hyundai revealed the Staria Lounge Camper. Top Gear notes that camping in South Korea is a huge market and Hyundai wants at least a small slice of it. The Staria Lounge Camper is made in the style of a Volkswagen California. That’s to say that, like the California (or even a bit like the EuroVan MultiVan Weekender), the Staria Lounge Camper’s equipment is stationed on one large piece behind the driver seat.
In it, there’s a sink, refrigerator, and a fold-out table. The Staria Lounge Camper boasts little storage areas throughout and the van, which can be configured to carry 11 people, features seats that fold flat into a large bed.
The pop-up tent area spans the whole roof and features another bed good enough for two. There are more goodies, too, like a table that comes out of the rear of the van and a detachable shower head that allows for outdoor showers.
Marriage doesn’t really show off these features, but he does show one neat trick that the Ioniq 6 can do. Since the vehicle has a Vehicle-to-Load function, it can output AC power to act like a generator. In this case, it was used to power the Staria Lounge Camper for a night of sleep.
Driving the Staria Lounge Camper, Marriage described the handling as ponderous and the transmission as slow. Indeed, the Staria is not an EV, instead getting powered by a 2.2-liter diesel making 175 HP and connected to an eight-speed automatic. These could be had on the local market for between about $40,000 to $50,000, but once again, most people will never see one of these unless they visit South Korea.
For Marriage? He got to use the van to explore the island’s many wacky museums.
Jeju is more than weird museums, too. Hyundai is using it as a testing ground for renewable energy, electrification of transportation, and even plans to adopt hydrogen. Jeju Island has a carbon-free plan that seeks for vehicles to be all-electric by 2030. It’s an ambitious plan and one that involves using renewable energy as well as giving incentives for people to go electric. However, electric cars made just a six percent market share in 2022 when the island expected 23 percent in the same time. So, there’s a way to go to improve, and Hyundai will be a part of that EV expansion.
Perhaps one day Hyundai will also notice that camping is huge here in America and send us over the Staria. If the Staria Lounge Camper could be anywhere close to that state price here in the States, I bet it would sell well.
Give a watch to that Top Gear review. While the usage of what seems to be Chinese background music is a bit bizarre, Marriage’s road trip and exposure to South Korean culture are worth the watch!
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Both the passenger Staria and commercial Staria vans are available in Oz. The former is notable for being available in diesel AWD as well as petrol FWD. Commercial version is FWD only due to having different rear suspension. Regardless, both sit on the Santa Fe platform…
Given that VW already offers the California version of the T6 then I’d imagine that Hyundai Oz will have their hands up for the Staria poptop!
Ooh. I’m in Korea for a couple of weeks soon. Maybe I’ll hire an Ioniq for a day (if they’re available).
Jeju’s great, especially out of season, although not so much for an autonut as the max speed limit is 80kmh/49.7mph and there are a lot of speed cameras.
The Staria isn’t available here in the UK either. It so much cooler than the VW Buzz, I love it.
I’d buy a BEV Staria in the US if I could get it with AWD. I don’t need the pop top and all that but I’d really like those fold flat seats.
I really dig that camper van, it figures that we wouldn’t get it here.
I want the Staria. I am not in a hurry in a camper. It seems to me to be the evolution of the Previa, which was/is the coolest mini Van ever.
I feel its not as radical as the Previa / Tarago in anything but looks. traditional van engine and transmission. The AWD diesel would be a great base for a camper conversion by some of our local conversion companies but most use the popular VW Transporter as a base as the Syncro has a good range of off road parts available.
Bedroom poster of a Hyundai… that’s quite a stretch. My kids are not picking out any Hyundai’s from the Hot Wheels rack.
I really like those wheels on the Staria.
The way the look changes from a uniform pattern straight on to what look like jagged sharks teeth at an angle.
It’s a good look.
We have the staria here in indonesia, and they just announced a partnership with Lombardi, a local luxury coach builder that makes luxury vans out of Toyota Alphards, Vellfires, or Merc Vitos. The staria is available here with a 2.2 CRDi Diesel with an 8 Spd Auto, power is at 180hp and 440 nm of torque to rhe front wheels, they got H-Trac on other markets but qe sadly dont get one because its not too necessary.
The Staria is awesome! they need to sell it here 🙂