The 2023 Hyundai Stargazer has finally arrived in the Philippines, just a couple of months after the South Korean automaker was relaunched into its new distributor, Hyundai Motor Philippines (HMPH). The first-ever Stargazer is Hyundai’s first entry into the entry-level subcompact seven-seater MPV segment, competing with the likes of the Mitsubishi Xpander and Toyota Avanza/Veloz.
Three variants of this subcompact MPV will be sold: GL, GLS, and GLS Premium (as shown). Regardless of which variant you’re choosing, all have a futuristic design that consists of a horizontal mesh grille, a horizontal LED light bar (which are also the daytime running lights for the GLS and above), and a distinct set of H-shaped taillights at the rear (with the GLS and above variants having LED elements). All variants also come with 16-inch alloy wheels, but the GLS and above come with a two-tone finish. Other exterior features that the Stargazer GLS and higher trims get include remote engine start, while exclusive to the GLS Premium are LED headlights.
Inside, the 2023 Hyundai Stargazer is just as futuristic as the exterior. While it’s not as plush as the Xpander’s soft-touch interior, the design is probably the best in its segment to our eyes as it’s also the most modern. There are numerous sweeps and curves across the dash, which not only makes it look nice, but it enabled designers to add a two-tier shelf. In addition, the use of silver trims, as opposed to gloss black panels, means that the interior won’t be a fingerprint magnet.
As for features, GLS variants and above get leatherette upholstery, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a digital gauge cluster, folding picnic tables, and a six-speaker audio system. Splurging for the top trim GLS Premium adds the benefit of wireless charging.
Under the hood of the 2023 Hyundai Stargazer is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine that produces 115 hp and 114 Nm of torque. This is mated exclusively to a CVT with pre-programmed shift points to mimic a traditional automatic transmission. If this powertrain sounds familiar, that’s because it’s shared with the Creta. It’s the same story with regard to its platform, and out on these roads, the Stargazer seems to be the most refined in its segment.
During my short drive around Silang, the Hyundai Stargazer makes no pretense of being a sporty MPV. All it’s offering to its occupants is a cossetting ride and a highly-rigid platform. Whereas a number of its competitors tend to fill like tin cans when driven at high speeds, the Stargazer has a higher degree of delicacy when it comes to ride and stability. The suspension deals with bumps well, but the result is a bit of body roll that at least comes in a controlled manner. The Stargazer is best treated as a relaxing long-distance cruiser instead of a canyon carver.
That’s perfectly fine for the Stargazer’s target market, which are families that are simply looking for a comfortable subcompact MPV. The light steering and linear powertrain are tuned for comfort and efficiency, though since this is just a short drive, we weren’t able to fully test its fuel economy.
Where the Stargazer is undoubtedly setting the benchmark is with regard to its advanced driver-assistance tech. The Stargazer GLS Premium comes with Hyundai SmartSense, which includes Forward Collision Assist, Lane Following Assist, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist, Safe Exit Assist, and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist. These come on top of the reverse camera, rear parking sensors, hill start assist, and electronic stability control that’s equipped on GLS variants and above.
The 2023 Hyundai Stargazer is now available at Hyundai dealers at the following introductory prices:
- GL: P998,000
- GLS: P1,128,000
- GLS Premium: P1,218,000
As mentioned, these prices are introductory, which means that it’s subject to an eventual price increase down the line. All Stargazers also come with a segment-leading 5-year/200,000-kilometer warranty, whichever comes first.