Thursday, December 12, 2013

Used Car Review - Hyundai Starex (1998-2004)

On the ninth day of Christmas Myk Belmonte gave to me... nine Hyundai vans.

1998-2004 Hyundai Starex

During the 90s, Hyundai vehicles are distributed and assembled by Italcar Pilipinas which is a subsidiary of Francisco Motors Corporation (the one who also assembles Fiats, Mazda trucks, and Jeepneys). Their van offering was the H100/Grace which is based on the L300. Going to the other side of the field, grey market dealers like those in Katipunan Avenue made some gold on selling Starex vans. Who wouldn't know these vans became hits especially to affluent families?

Replacing the Grace van in 1997 is the Starex, which is also based on the Mitsubishi Delica. This vehicle can be had in a multitude of accessories and engines that included a 3.0 V6 paired to LPG. Cargo, minivan, and minibus configurations are available.

Columbian Motors Corporation first sold these vans before Hyundai Asian Resources Corporation stepped to the scene in December 2001. This type is sold until 2004 with an update that gave way to a new engine. Available variants during this time included the Jumbo, SVX, and Club.

Value and Costs
Still a great pick in the used car land, especially that prices are now between P280,000-P450,000. In that range, you'll encounter local and surplus units in varying conditions and accessories. Since changes were minimal, do take time to hunt for something well loved than something beat-up.

No fancy CRDi engine resides under the hood, unlike the updated model, which makes maintenance easy on the pocket. With the proliferation of Korean parts specialists, finding for spare parts isn't no needle in the haystack. One must check for rust especially for surplus units, since snow is an occurrence in Korea

Exterior and Interior
Some units come with body stickers especially for the Club variants. Roof rack, roof rail, rear ladder, and bullbar are accessories which are made standard. Let's not deal with the design in a bigger scale since stealing glances isn't the top objective of this van. Good thing this van has a snout which is a boon for safety.

The advantage of the Starex is this: a car-like interior. The controls for the radio and climate are geared towards the driver and it is within reach. Unlike the Spacegear, the transmission shifter is positioned on the floor, not behind the wheel. Seven inside is comfortable, eight is a tight squeeze unless that person is small or a close friend.

The most common engine that you will encounter is a 2,477cc diesel which churns out 85hp at 4,000rpm and 170Nm at 2,200rpm. This one has enough power in the lower range but loses stream when driven hard. On the flipside, the Mitsubishi sourced Sirius 2,351cc gasoline that carries 112hp and 181Nm at 2,300rpm is best avoided as it is fuel thirsty and rare in the market.

Driving Impressions
Unlike competitors which will mistaken you for a bus driver, the Starex possess a steering wheel positioned similar to a sedan. It does bring you a jarring free ride without irritating the occupants or disturbing them from their sleep. Besides, you'll be respected than a nose-less van.

It became an overnight success by simply offering more than its Japanese twin. The Starex debunked the main notion of Korean vehicles: being unreliable. With more than 20,000 units plying Philippine roads - locally sourced or not - many buyers didn't make a mistake. A cheap option for those who want a reliable family van.

The Good:
  • Durable diesel
  • Numerous units available
  • Car like interior
The Bad:
  • Weak diesel
  • Fuel thirsty gasoline
  • Finding for the model with the options you want needs time
The Pick: SVX diesel

Engines: 2,351cc Sirius 4-cylinder gasoline and 2,477cc 4-cylinder diesel
Power: 112hp (gasoline), 85hp @ 4,000rpm (diesel)
Torque: 181Nm @ 2,300rpm (gasoline), 170Nm @ 2,200rpm (diesel)
Fuel Consumption: 4-8km/L (city), 7-10km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent double wishbone, rear rigid axle - five link with coil springs

Price (New): P800,000-P1,100,000
Price (Now): P280,000-P450,000
Rivals: Kia Pregio, Mitsubishi L300, Nissan Urvan, Toyota Hiace
On Sale: 1998-2004

VGT Korean Auto Parts - 0922 266-1106

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  1. Great review, it helped me a lot! thanks

  2. well said sir, you mean the pick is svx, means that if you are going to buy, this SVX is the promising one? honestly the reason i got into this site is im going to buy this kind of mpv svx 1998 model.

    1. Yup, our preferred model when it comes to equipment

  3. What can you say about the club variant?