The Hyundai Staria will be launched in Malaysia tomorrow, October 27. Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors (HSDM) announced the date via teasers on its Facebook page, accompanied by graphics saying “A class of its own” and “Drive the future”.

UPDATE: The Staria is now launched in Malaysia – full report here.

Order books for the futuristically designed MPV opened last week. We will be getting the Staria with seven seats and a 2.2 litre turbodiesel with 177 PS and 431 Nm of torque. The CRDi is mated to an eight-speed conventional automatic transmission sending drive to the front wheels. The van it replaces – the long-serving Starex – is rear-wheel drive.

If the design of the Staria is galaxies apart from the Starex, so will be its positioning, and price. We’re getting the Premium variant, a seven-seater with individual Premium Relaxation Seats in the middle row. These two business class-style chairs can slide fore and aft and come with a one-touch relaxation mode that reclines the seat electrically and extends the ottoman.

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The interior is so big that even with the VIP seats reclined, Hyundai says that there’s enough room for adults to sit in the third row. The Premium also comes with luxuries like 64-colour ambient lighting and a Bose sound system. Hyundai’s latest SmartSense ADAS suite should be present too.

How big is the Staria exactly? Well, the Starex is one of the largest common vehicles on our roads, and the Staria – at 5,253 mm long, 1,997 mm wide and 1,990 mm tall – is 103 mm longer, 77 mm wider and 55 mm taller still. Its 3,273 mm wheelbase is 73 mm longer than the old van. The Staria is also much bigger than the Toyota Alphard/Vellfire, and will surely stand out at the lobby with its spaceship design.

One important point is that the Staria is a more sophisticated MPV that the Starex, thanks to unibody construction and multi-link rear suspension. It also has revamped dampers and brakes, and Hyundai promises for a more comfortable ride. The Staria’s smooth head and streamlined body also improves aerodynamic efficiency.

The Staria was launched in Thailand in July for the equivalent of RM256,800 for the highest spec SEL 11-seater. But we’re getting the top Premium with the fancy chairs and luxury goodies, so expect this jaw-dropping MPV to have a higher price tag, one that could be in excess of RM350k. CBU South Korea, of course. The Vellfire 2.5L from UMW Toyota Motor is priced at RM367,881 with SST exemption, by the way.

Like big cars but prefer SUVs? The very busy Hyundai local distributor is also readying the Palisade for our market. The Palisade is Hyundai’s flagship full-size SUV that seats up to eight, and is powered by a 3.8 litre V6 engine. HSDM said earlier this year that the Palisade will arrive in 2021, and we spotted the SUV locally yesterday – check it out here.

What do you think of the Staria as a luxury Alphard/Vellfire alternative?

GALLERY: Hyundai Staria

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