Hyundai’s play on using the same  small ‘i’ nomenclature that Apple popularised with its gadgets, appears to be on the way out, with the company dropping the iLoad badge on its van range, replacing it with the new Staria-Load.

The launch this month of the Korean maker’s new van offering, promises more cargo space, more modern styling and a new passenger car based platform to replace the popular and very capable iLoad.

The Staria Load will be available in either a two-seat van or five-seat crew cab configuration, with either a liftback or twin swing tailgate.

The new van features a snappy wedge shape, contemporary design, with a swag of advanced standard features, that will build on the ‘strong legacy of the long lived iLoad‘ according to Hyundai.

While the old iLoad was a rear drive van built on a commercial platform, the new Staria-Load has been built on the same platform as Hyundai’s Sante Fe SUV and has a front wheel drive configuration.

Hyundai claims the new platform is lighter and more rigid than the iLoad, and will provide ‘car like refinement, handling characteristics and ride quality, creating a more approachable and familiar driving experience without sacrificing performance’.

While it’s moved to a passenger car platform and front drive, Hyundai says that performance, capacity and dependability have not been sacrificed, and in fact it claims they are better than in the iLoad.

The new van features a solid rear axle with leaf springs, enabling it to provide a strong set up for heavy loads, while the company says the new platform and powertrain have enabled it to increase braked towing capacity up to 2.5 tonnes.

The move to a front drive configuration brings Hyundai into line with some of its key Euro rivals including VW’s Transporter, Renault’s Trafic and Ford’s Transit, but leaves market leading Toyota’s Hi Ace in the rear drive realm.

Joining the dots one imagines that the move to a platform shared with Sante Fe could possibly open the option for an all-wheel drive variant of the Staria-Load. Hyundai already offers an all wheel drive variant of the passenger oriented Staria, so it is possible the Staria-Load will also get that option at some time, putting it on an equal footing with the likes of VW’s 4 Motion Transporter.

The new platform and layout also means the Staria-Load delivers an increased cargo volume, and more usable, space with an increase in key cargo area dimensions. The new Hyundai van can now take three Euro pallets or two Aussie pallets, with increase in the sliding door opening allowing side forklift access.

The new van’s cargo area is 2.607metres long, up from the iLoad’s 2.375 metre long cargo area, while the Staria at 1640mm is 20mm wider than iLoad as well as being almost 100mm taller with a height of 1.436m in the load area.

While the cargo area is higher and boasts almost 11 per cent more cargo volume, the load height is 41mm lower than iLoad, making for easier and safer loading.

The Staria-Load gets eight tie-down points throughout the cargo area and a variety of mounting points for accessories as well as felt board trim in areas where objects may damage the interior.

Its powered by Hyundai’s impressive 2.2 CRDi turbo diesel, coupled with an eight-speed automatic.

The 130kW 2.2 litre oil burner pumps out a very strong 430Nm of torque between1,500 and 2,500rpm and boasts fuel economy of around 7 litres per 100km, which should win it plenty of friends in the delivery business.

Hyundai tells us that the Staria-Load features a plethora of acronym based safety programs as part of an impressive safety suite, which includes Driver Attention Warning, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Lane Following Assist,  Intelligent Speed Limit Assist,  Leading Vehicle Departure Alert, Front and rear Parking Distance Warning, Tyre Pressure Monitoring, Safe Exit Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance-Assist, Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist and a very impressive seven airbags including a front centre airbag.

In terms of creature comforts  the Staria-Load gets an 8” touchscreen infotainment display boasting wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and Multi-Bluetooth connection, It also gets keyless entry – with remote window open/close Leather-appointed steering wheel and a Qi wireless smartphone charger as standard .

Hyundai says pricing for the new Staria-Load 2.2 CRD eight speed auto will see the  two seat van with rrp of $45,740, while the five seat crew van has a price tag of $48,240, and you can have it in any colour as long as it is either creamy white or shimmering silver, with the only option being a premium paint package for an extra $695.

We look forward to bringing you full road tests of both the people mover Staria and Staria-Load van in the coming weeks