Hyundai’s School Bus is Cooler Than Yours
We’re already on record as liking the looks of the Hyundai Staria minivan. We won’t get to really check one out because they’re not hitting our shores. But now Hyundai is seeking new avenues for its futuristic van to conquer, and one of them is a school bus.
The Staria Kinder seats 15 children
Only available for its home market, the Staria Kinder is a 15-seat school bus. That qualifies as an honest-to-goodness actual bus. The consumer Staria has seating for 11 seats, which itself is quite good.
Those yellow and black seats look inspired and are a far cry from the gas chamber green interiors of our youth. Seatbelts are fully adjustable for different bellies and heights. Lightbars have been added to help the driver see and be seen.
At 34.78 million won-about $29,000 in US dollars, that’s not bad. For the 15-seat version, you’ll have to pony up $31,000. Still, that’s not bad either. And it’s powered by LPG. South Korea has incentivized LPG use for new busses by chopping off almost $11,000 from the prices above.
Rebates in South Korea bring the Staria Kinder’s price in at $18,000
So the shorter Staria Kinder after rebates goes out the door for only $18,000. “Staria Kinder has implemented the highest level of safety performance by applying a lot of special parts that have passed thorough safety tests,” a Hyundai press release says. “And we expect to travel comfortably.”
For those unfamiliar with the Staria, we called it more like a spaceship than a minivan. Besides the 11-seat passenger van, there is also a cargo van version. And both a manual transmission and eight-speed automatic are available along with the all-wheel drive.
Currently, Hyundai is only making the Staria with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel engine. It is rated at 175 hp and 318 lb-ft of torque. Of course, there is a gang of intelligent assist and safety features available. A panoramic glass roof can be yours for just under $1,500.
You can get one in South Korea, Australia, and Europe, but not the US
Besides availability in South Korea, it is also now sold in Europe and Australia. Prices start at under $47,000 and the top Signature trim and all-wheel-drive in comes in at just under $70,000. And there is a slew of noteworthy features.
For the driver and front passenger, there is a “Passenger View” camera that lets them monitor what is going on in the seats behind them. There are a host of backrest and leg rest adjustments. All seats have USB ports, and Bluelink telematics is available.
Hyundai says it has no plans for bringing the Staria into the US. We don’t possibly know why. Maybe it has something to do with the Chicken Tax applied to cargo vans, but the Staria is mostly a passenger van. Let’s see what happens once the chip crisis is behind the automakers.