The Hyundai Stargazer’s cabin sensibility

When we talk of design in cars here in the Philippines, most of the time it boils down to the exterior. Is it a looker? Unique? The question then extends to integration of modern tech like does it have automatic headlights, are they LED, are the mirrors power folding? We seldom take the conversation towards the cabin.

The interior has mostly been about features. Does it have a big touchscreen, automatic aircon, and what’s the upholstery? Sporty cues are left to faux carbon fiber accents while upmarket look and feel rely on gloss black trims and brushed aluminum pieces.

Things are a bit more straightforward for MPVs. People just want to know how many it can accommodate, the amount of space it has, and as a trend – the amount of cubby holes it has for its occupants. The Hyundai Stargazer answers these as well with its interior design, but also takes it further.

Hyundai started the Stargazer with the usual tropes of an MPV. It has a 2-3-2 seating capacity with a sizable cargo area even with the third row up. Pull up that flooring and it will reveal a partitioned space for your belongings. The third row is a snug fit for the average Pinoy but the Stargazer spices things up a bit with a higher seat height. This makes your knees lower resulting in a more comfortable sitting position for longer jaunts.

The second row is a bit more contemporary with its approach. The second row air vents are still conventional but now have rounded ends for a more pleasing look. The cup holders are not on the armrest but on the door panels while infront of them, behind the center console, are two illuminated USB ports with a cubby hole under it.

What’s unique to the Stargazer in the second row is the pull-up table behind the front passenger seat. It’s just enough to place your kid’s food while on the road or if your teenager has to work on a laptop. One will say that there should’ve been two, one behind the driver’s seat as well, but having one in a segment that doesn’t have any is already a good thing in my book.

Where the Stargazer deviates from its rivals is with the dashboard. While others rely on features and accents to make it attractive, Hyundai went the other way and made it more functional. For starters, it’s the only one in its segment that has a shelf – not just a pocket – on the dashboard. This small space extends from the front passenger’s side up to the underside of the center aircon vents, with partitions in between to avoid clutter while moving. Above the shelf on the passenger’s side is another slim pocket, which is perfect for storing your car’s paperworks. This allows the glovebox to be stored with more essentials like wet wipes, rags, etc.

As if having these are not enough, Hyundai carved the right side of the dash so the front passenger can put temporary things on it without going to the driver’s side of the dash. Snacks, wallet, some things from your bag if you’re looking for something, you can stow them here without including the driver in the mess.

The Stargazer also added some flair by having a bigger pocket infront of the shifter for the wireless charger, no bottom spoke on the steering wheel, and illumination in the front row’s cup holders. Everything else – the digital gauge cluster, touchscreen, smart keyless entry – all become cherries on top for Hyundai’s MPV.

Granted, the model I’ve been with is the top of the line GLS Premium. But it’s still a great thing that these are implemented to add more function to a family car. Let’s see if these amenities will remain with the lower variants once Hyundai officially launches the Stargazer. It will have a starting price of P998,000 and full pricing will be shared in November.

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