The SsangYong Turismo is the kind of car to give new meaning to the phrase ‘a lot of metal for the money’. The artist formerly known as ‘Rodius’, this giant seven-seater is MPV, load-lugger and 4x4 all rolled into a package that is seriously cheap.
A fully loaded example will cost you less than a high-end Volkswagen Golf – and yet it’s longer than most large executive saloons, has the ground clearance to match many medium-sized SUVs, and even comes with a low-range transfer ‘box. An entry-level one will cost you only £19,250.
Now under the auspices of Indian car-industry power Mahindra, SsangYong has had a chequered recent corporate history, but its brand identity remains the same: this is Korea’s 4x4 specialist.
The Rexton SUV is probably its best-known export in the UK, followed by the smaller Korando, but expansion plans are moving along, and the most impressive Ssangyong to date is the Tivoli crossover, launched in 2015.
The manufacturer has taken the decision to drop the ‘Rodius’ name for this generation, understandably given that the outgoing car’s styling earned it a reputation as one of the most unfortunate-looking new cars on the road. The new version, however, is something of a dramatic improvement. It is still too large and high-sided a car to ever look attractive, but more conventional window and light treatments now at least make it look normal.
The car’s cabin is vast: big enough for two individual chairs in the second row, generously provided with head- and legroom, and a three-seater third-row bench that, even in place, leaves a boot the size of a small estate car’s: 870-litres up to the roof. The seats in the second and third rows are removable, so you can make more than 3000 litres of storage in the car if you need to. Meanwhile, up front, the driving position is comfortable, and the material quality robust, if a bit rudimentary.
The centrally placed instruments aren’t the easiest to read, and the row of warning lights immediately behind the large steering wheel has the potential to confuse. But apart from that, everything works fine, and can be found where you’d expect it.
As for standard equipment, there are three trims to spec your Turismo with – SE, EX, ELX. The entry-level model comes with keyless entry, quad-zone climate control, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, 16in steel wheels and heated door mirrors.