25 April 2005

This Korean oddity is heading for the UK during the summer. The SsangYong Rodius will be vying for the title of ugliest car on sale when it arrives this June but, with a sticker price of less than £19,000, it’s going to be a very cheap way of carrying seven people and their luggage.

At 375mm longer than a Ford Galaxy, the Rodius should provide plenty of interior space. In its home market there’s even an optional 11-seat version, although UK buyers will be restricted to a seven-seat layout with plenty of cabin and luggage space and seats that slide fore and aft on rails, and turn 180 degrees to allow passengers to face each other. On the outside, it’s 5125mm long, 1915mm wide and 1820mm tall. Power comes from the same 2.7-litre common-rail diesel engine used in SsangYong’s other UK offering, the Rexton 4x4 (right). The Mercedes-Benz-sourced unit was used in the outgoing ML, and provides 163bhp and 252lb ft of torque, driving through a five-speed auto.

The people carrier’s distinctive design is the work of Ken Greenley, former head of the Automotive Design course at London’s Royal College of Art. Chinese car manufacturer SAIC, currently embroiled in the ongoing MG Rover crisis, holds a 49 per cent stake in Ssangyong.

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