Why the Hyundai Stargazer is the futuristic “barkada” mobile
Joey Deriquito · Nov 29, 2023 01:30 PM
When the opportunity for a long weekend presents itself, you take it as a break from your busy work week. It's a great time to go on a road trip or catch up with friends. That’s precisely what I did with my recent Hyundai Stargazer test unit on loan. It was the perfect opportunity to test if the South Korean 7-seater had what it took to be the ultimate “barkada” mobile and if it had what it took to be a proper multi-purpose vehicle.
The road trip we would embark on would start in Quezon City and take us on long stretches of highway and provincial roads to test out the capabilities of the Stargazer. These roads would ultimately lead us to our accommodations for the night at Redwood Farm Villa in Florida Blanca Pampanga.
Futuristic looks that stand out
The Hyundai Stargazer stands out in a sea of predominantly Japanese vehicles in the Pampanga area with its futuristic looks and loud Dragon Red paint job. The MPV looks sleek even with a short nose and has various LED lighting elements. These take the form of LED headlights, which are found in the middle of the bumper, and an LED light strip stretching across the entire width of the vehicle's front fascia.
The red paint also enhances the curves and creases of the MPV, showing off its subtle angular styling underneath. These elements make the vehicle a unique addition to Philippine roads as a stand-out car. Even with its space-age looks, the Stargazer still felt at home on the farm grounds of Redwood, which was a spacious place to rest, relax, and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
One highlight of the Stargazer is its spacious cabin. The vehicle is a 7-seater, so one would expect it to be tight inside. However, that isn’t the case, as space inside the vehicle was plentiful despite having taller passengers in the car.
Thanks to its moveable second row, we created more space for our third-row passengers, giving them more legroom and a more comfortable riding experience. We even squeezed eight people into the car for a short trip out of the resort for a quick lunch stop in Angeles Pampanga, with plenty of room in the third row.
The third row can also lean back further creating more legroom, but at the cost of luggage space at the back. Its a bit of a trade off, but if you are just transporting people it does come in handy.
Cruise control for the win
This quick lunch outing was the ideal time to test out the Hyundai Stargazer's advanced driving features, including regular cruise control but with a lane keep assist feature. While I had the features turned off for the drive going to the resort and when my fiance took the wheel for the short lunch trip. I did turn it on for the trip back to the resort and back Manila. The features made travel to and from a breeze without me needing to maintain the throttle position and thanks to the stellar ride comfort of the Stargazer, a few of my passengers even dozed off. Its a testament to how comfortable the vehicle is even when its fully loaded.
The acceleration of the cruise control system was smooth and very linear, gaining speed slowly instead of doing it in one burst. However, there were times when the car’s engine had to rev to 3,500 to 3,800 rpm to maintain highway cruising speeds, but we can attribute that to the full load it had to carry around. It did hurt the fuel economy figures a bit but the end results were still impressive to say the least.
Great fuel economy
Speaking of fuel economy, the Hyundai Stargazer took the trip like a champ, sipping away at the fuel. Despite the MPV being initially loaded with five occupants and luggage for a three-day, two-night overnight stay, it was able to return around 20.3km/l on the excellent highway. However, the figure did go down when we had eight occupants in the vehicle, where the fuel economy numbers would drop to 16.5 km/l.
Despite the drop in fuel efficiency, the numbers it produced were still impressive, to say the least, especially coming from a vehicle with a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated engine. Speaking about its engine, it produces 115 PS and 144 Nm of torque and is mated to an Intelligent Variable Transmission, essentially a CVT.
Is it an ideal "barkada" mobile?
The Hyundai Stargazer ticks all the right boxes for being the ideal "barkada" mobile. It has the space to comfortably seat seven or even more. It has the right technology with its 8-inch infotainment system that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to make navigation and entertainment a breeze.
It even has the right convience features such as a tray table in the second row and cruise control to make long haul driving simple and easy. It even has a cold air conditioining system to make sure every one in the vehicle stays nice and cool despite the unit not having tint.
Priced at Php 1,298,000 it faces competition against the likes of the Honda BR-V and Toyota Veloz, but it sits in the happy middle of the two in terms of its pricing and feature set. We certainly enjoyed our time with the unit and I highly recommend that you take one for a test drive to see why the Hyundai 7-seater has to offer.
A car enthusiast at heart, nothing excites Joey more than an open road and a full tank of gas. Ready with the latest information about cars, he constantly studies and researches the latest happenings in the motoring world while caring for a car that's an extension of himself.