Price is right for SsangYong’s magnificent seven-seater
- Credit: SsangYong
SsangYong hopes to match the appeal of its low-cost, no-nonsense Rodius people-carrier with its easier-on-the-eye Turismo, says Iain Dooley of the Press Association.
If you possessed a modest budget but needed to transport several people and their luggage the SsangYong's Rodius fitted the bill.
It wasn't a handsome car, but it trumped conventional large people-carriers which could only offer seven seats or ample carrying capacity – never both at the same time. With its sub £20,000 price, proven mechanicals and capacious cabin, the Rodius attracted a loyal following of business-users and large families focused on bargain, big-box motoring.
SsangYong is on track to repeat this success with the Turismo. The underlying formula remains the same – lots of seats, flexibility and space for not much cash – only this time the wrapper is more streamlined and easier on the eye.
While big, seven-seat people-carriers can rarely be described as elegant, in profile the Turismo projects a more contemporary and polished image to the world than the Rodius ever could. A car this size boasting three rows of seats and a maximum 3,146 litres of space is never going to embarrass a sports coupe, but the Turismo's rounded nose and fuss-free flanks ensure there's no mistaking it for a boxy van with windows.
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Yes, you read that right – 3,146 litres of load space. Looks aside, space is the Turismo's trump card. Compromise is a dirty word at SsangYong as the car's two-two-three seating layout ensures no one has to breathe in to reach any of the available seats. Unlike with the child-only size compromised third row in many large multi-purpose vehicles, there's ample room for adults to sit comfortably in the Turismo's third row. With only two seats in front, no body-bending gymnastics are needed to get in and out of the big SsangYong's cabin. The seats themselves – all five of them – also offer decent support.
Increasing cabin load space is a simple task of folding and, if necessary, removing seats to accommodate bulky items. However, if you need to carry people and their belongings it's easily done even with all the seats in the upright position, making the car ideal for family driving holidays.
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With all the focus on the Turismo's load-carrying abilities it's easy to forget the basics. Under the bonnet is SsangYong's own 2.0-litre, 153bhp diesel engine boasting ample torque to haul you and whatever you're carrying with relative ease. Six-speed manual and five-speed automatic gearboxes are offered, with the latter delivering predictable and smooth gear changes plus manual override.
For many the rear-wheel drive Tourismo with be the default choice but there's also an all-wheel drive variant which should prove attractive for anyone planning to tow. Factor in the extra grip from the Turismo plus its long wheelbase and size and you've got a very stable towing platform.
Add a commanding driving position and good all-round visibility – there's no shortage of glass – and it's easy to see the appeal of this outsize people-mover. Modest kit levels are a reminder of the car's low price, but airbags, an alarm system, climate control, electronic stability control, parking sensors and cruise control are all available.
For business-users keen to minimise operating costs the Turismo almost sells itself thanks to the winning combination of a low asking price, ease of use, acres of space plus a durable and flexible interior. And it's the same story for private buyers in search of a genuinely affordable workhorse, as the Turismo boasts many of the attributes of vehicles twice the price but without all the unnecessary (and costly) bling you don't need.