The Hyundai Staria is the best-looking minivan maybe ever. It’s cute, it’s futuristic and it even looks great in full van form. So it’s not surprising that Hyundai, who really hasn’t missed with design choices lately, has found a way to re-up the Staria for another cool version.
Available now in Hyundai’s home market of South Korea, the Staria Kinder is a genuine rework, not just a paint job. The original Staria seats up to 11, while the Kinder will be available with room for up to 15, properly turning it into a proper minibus.
The bus version of the Staria comes in at 34.78 million Korean won (about $29,000 USD) for 11 seats or 37.48 million won (a little over $31,000 USD) for the 15-seater version. That’s pretty good, but it gets even better in the Korean market because it runs on liquid petroleum gas.
LPG has lower emissions than diesel, so the Korean government is incentivizing trading in diesel buses for LPG-powered ones. There’s a scheme that, if you get rid of a diesel bus for LPG, can net you up to 13 million won ($10,861) in discounts.
Anyone who’s spent time in the former Soviet world—anybody?—will probably be familiar with LPG-powered yellow buses in the form of marshrutka, the cheerfully cheap, if erratic form of cross-country transport where rail networks fail to reach. Old LPG vehicles—especially, say, converted, clapped-out Transit vans—are pretty sketchy experiences but the Staria promises to buck that trend. Presumably, it’ll be better by ensuring they’re not driven by someone running entirely on Sobranie cigarettes.
Hyundai said, via a statement translated from Korean, that “Staria Kinder has implemented the highest level of safety performance by applying a lot of special parts that have passed thorough safety tests. And we expect [to] travel comfortably.”
To that end, the interior has been kitted out with tidy rows of seats that might not be generous on space for adults but then, this is a school bus. There are also additional light bars on the roof to keep the kids well-lit, and those slotted seat belt holders are an adjustable system, so children can make the seat belt fit their own height.
As someone with a serious minivan agenda, the Staria rocks anyway but it’d take a really hard heart not to dig this cheerful school bus version. Just imagine the joy of seeing a bunch of these on your road every morning.
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