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January 1, 2024

Review: 2024 Hyundai Custin 1.5 T-GDI Premium

Normally, it’s hard to get excited about MPVs. After all, they’re generally designed to do one thing and one thing alone: ferry people. However, for Hyundai, they’ve managed to build a brand around MPVs with nameplates like the Starex (now Staria) and Stargazer becoming recognizable to your average Filipino. With the local auto industry already spoilt for choice in the SUV and crossover segment, the Korean automaker has wisely doubled down on people carriers and their latest offering is this: the Custin.

As a new nameplate, the Custin isn’t weighed down by expectation. Instead, Hyundai came up with a clean slate design—one that helps bridge the obvious gap between small people carriers and full-sized vans. The resulting MPV is mid-sized—sized to comfortably seat seven, but still small enough to fit in a typical garage. For those who have a hard time picturing it, think Toyota Innova or GAC GN6. However, in the truest sense, it’s closest to the departed Honda Odyssey.

With a function over form design, there’s only so much one can do to style an MPV, so Hyundai designers had their work cut out for them. Still, they rose to the occasion as the Custin comes across as a stylish, head-turning MPV. Not only is it peppered with the brand’s trademark cues such as the Parametric Jewel headlights and chiseled, angular shape, but they’ve managed to consistently integrate these elements all throughout the car. If anything, the odd man out there is the badging—particularly the “Custin” and “1.5T.” They look and feel as if they were plucked straight out of a Lazada catalogue.

Despite the advertised 174 mm ground clearance, getting in and out of the Custin is easy. The dual power sliding doors (also operable via the remote) removes the need for muscleman operation making it senior and kid friendly. The tailgate, albeit slow, is also power actuated.

As for the interior itself, Hyundai says it was designed to emulate the best in first-class travel: a private jet. To some degree, they did get it right. A combination of three things: the dashboard’s low cowl, the careful integration of certain elements, and the use of light-colored materials gives it an airy feel. Unfortunately, the choice of materials here could be better. There are some positives like the switchgear (all nicked from the Hyundai parts bin) and the supple leather upholstery, but there are far more negatives like the hallow, hard plastics which feel on the same level as the Accent or Reina. And these dot the entire dashboard and cabin.

Clearly, Hyundai has designed the Custin to be a chauffeur-first MPV and with that, the front occupants don’t have access to some of the luxury accoutrements. There are no seat ventilation or warmers here, and while they do offer power adjustment, they don’t have any memory presets. The same goes for the driver which must contend with a steering wheel that only adjusts for tilt. Thankfully, the resulting driving position is comfortable enough. The basic controls are easy enough to understand, but they are not without their quirks. For example, the gauges—which had to be crammed into a thin, horizontal space—has oddly-spaced increments that start with 10 km/h intervals then move to 20 km/h, and finally to 30 km/h. Thankfully, there’s a permanent digital speedometer to help drivers make sense of it all. The Tucson’s controversial push-button shifter also makes its way here, but thanks to the tall center console, operating it here feels much more intuitive than it ever did on Hyundai’s compact SUV.

If there’s one area where the Custin needs a lot of work, it’s with the infotainment system. On paper, the 10.4-inch screen is a great piece of work and the interface should make anyone, particularly those who own a smartphone, feel right at home with its icon-based menus and (limited) swipe functionality. Detailed screens like vehicle settings or climate control are no more than one or two menus deep making it easy to navigate. Unfortunately, the experience is laggy. During vehicle start-ups, for example, it takes anywhere between five to 10 seconds for the system to boot up and while all that’s happening, nothing is usable; you can’t turn on the climate control or even connect Apple CarPlay. And speaking of CarPlay, it’s buggy. Despite using a fool-proof wired connection, it works half the time at best.

Without a doubt, the second row is the best seats in the house. Not only do both seats offer power adjustment and both ventilation and heating, but they have pre-programmed settings to offer what Hyundai calls, “Relaxation Seats.” According to the brand, this achieves the feel of zero gravity by spreading pressure points across the body, reducing overall stress and fatigue. Now, its pretty hard to compare the experience to people who’ve actually been to space, but regardless, it does work as advertised for the weary executive stuck on EDSA. The second-row also has its own dedicated wireless charger, side sun blinds, and get this, sunroof. Not bad for an MPV that costs P 2,080,000.

Getting into the third row is a bit of a challenge as it requires squeezing between the second-row seat aisle (there’s no tumble mechanism here). Once that hurdle’s cleared, the third-row’s pretty habitable. It’s not as luxurious as the second-row, but long drives won’t pose as a problem. These seats also fold flat in a 60/40 split creating a huge load bay able to swallow three check-in sized suitcases and one carry-on trolley side-by-side.

Sourced from China, the Custin stays par for the course when it comes to its powertrain. Still, the turbocharged and direct-injected 1.5-liter does have a technical edge in the form of CVVD or Continuously Variable Valve Duration. As the first Hyundai model locally to have it, CVVD regulates the duration of valve opening and closing according to driving conditions. In theory, it’s supposed to boost both performance and lower fuel consumption. In reality, it’s done in by its small displacement and heavy curb weight.

Even with just two people aboard, the Custin feels merely adequate. The power delivery is quite peaky, underscoring its reliance on the turbocharger for grunt. It's a shame because the 8-speed automatic finds its rhythm pretty quickly. There are changeable drive modes here, including one so-called “Smart” mode. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the situation, so best leave everything in Comfort. The powertrain combination also heavily dents the Custin’s fuel economy. Even in lightest city traffic, it barely reaches 10 km/L, and this drops precipitously to about 6 km/L during the Christmas Holiday rush. Oh, and in terms of fuel requirements, Hyundai says it can load up on 91 octane, but subjectively, it smoothens out when opting for 95 octane fuel like Petron XCS.

Onto its ride and handling, the Custin won’t be mistaken for anything remotely sporty. It’ll understeer through just about any bend, but at least this softly-sprung MPV is still ingrained with stability. Never once does it feel overbearing or wieldy to drive. On that note, shorter drivers will find the deep dash to be an issue during tight maneuvering as it’s hard to judge the front overhang. Thankfully, front sensors and a 360-degree are standard. Its plush, well-tailored ride is, without a doubt, a great ally especially since nothing in Metro Manila can upset it. The cossetting ride is also backed up by the impressive levels of NVH.

By and large, the Hyundai Custin accomplishes what it was set out to do. It’s not perfect, but as a bridge between small people carriers and large vans, this mid-sized MPV is cleverly-engineered, right-sized, and well-priced. It also happens to tap into an interesting demographic: the constantly tired and overworked mid-level executive. The packaging and features found in the Custin are typically found in more luxurious MPVs and vans, and these are typically out of reach for anyone less than a CEO, CFO, or COO (Child of Owner). For its quirks, with the Custin, the upper middle class can also enjoy some additional luxury without necessarily going over their budget.

2024 Hyundai Custin 1.5 T-GDI Premium

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Bottom Line
Pros Head-turning design, well-kitted for the ride, plush ride, roomy interior.
Cons Buggy infotainment system, terrible fuel economy.
TL;DR For all its quirks, the Hyundai Custin offers a luxury MPV experience at mainstream prices.
Year Introduced 2023
Warranty 5 years / 200,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type Mid-sized MPV
Seating 7
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.5
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
Maximum Output (PS @ rpm) 170 @ 5,500
Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm) 253 @ 1,500-4,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / ~92
Transmission 8 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy (km/L) @ Ave. Speed (km/h) 6.17 km/L @ 12 km/L,
8.34 km/L @ 20 km/h,
9.34 km/L @ 27 km/h
(fueled with Petron XCS)
Fuel Tank Size (L) 58
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,950
Width (mm) 1,850
Height (mm) 1,710
Wheelbase (mm) 3,055
Curb Weight (kg) 1,745
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam Axle
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Parking Brake Electric, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Nexen NPriz RH7 225/55 R 18 H (f & r)
Recommended Tire Pressure (PSI) 32 front, 30 rear (partial load),
35 all (full load)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear
Parking Camera Yes, 360-degree
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 2 (2nd row), 3-pt ELR x 3 (3rd row)
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Advanced Driver Assist System Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist
Lane Keeping Assist
Lane Following Assist
Other Safety Features Hill Start Assist Control
Blind-spot Collision-Avoidance Assist
Safe Exit Assist
Rear Cross-Collision Avoidance Assist
Rear Occupant Alert
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Exterior Features
Headlights LED, Auto High Beam
Fog Lamps Rear (LED)
Light Operation Automatic
Wiper Operation Variable Intermittent
Tailgate Electric
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt, Manual
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 6-way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Electric, 4-way
Seating Surface Leather
2nd Row Premium Relaxation Seats, Sliding & Reclining w/ Ventilation, Heating, Memory
3rd Row 60/40 Split-Fold
Sunroof Yes
Multi-Information Display / Size Yes, 4.2-inch
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold
Rear View Mirror Day/Night
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Automatic (Front), Manual (Rear), w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
USB Type A
Wireless Charger Front & Rear
Infotainment Display / Size 10.4-inch
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes


  1. Correction, the rear most seats fold 60/40, which is the correct way to fold seats that are meant to seat 3 abreast. This is one of my minor nitpicks with the Zenix and Innova; even though the third row was meant to seat three people, Toyota gave it a 50/50 split which is less versatile when shuffling around cargo and passengers.

    1. Thanks for pointing it out. Corrected the story to reflect the proper split.

  2. BAIC Hyundai did a great work designing this van
    Affordable and value for money

  3. As an owner of a custin, I love it, the comfort, the Luxury feel, the convenience of just pushing buttons and remote openings of the doors, I haven't experienced any bug from the car though, just the fuel economy of the car is the only issue that I have with the car, but all in all I love my Roku aka my custin

  4. How much km/Li are you getting?

  5. My 2 cents: this should have been designed and fitted with the 2.0 diesel found in the Tucson. This review would have been 10x more positive if that had been the case.

    1. same thought here, I wish it should be at least 2.0 diesel, and higher ground clearance.


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