Has the new SsangYong Turismo MPV got more to offer than a new name?
SsangYong’s new seven-seat MPV used to be called the Rodius, but after its styling was roundly criticized, the Korean firm gave it a major overhaul and renamed it Turismo. What you get now is the same massively practical interior, slightly cheap-feeling cabin and wobbly driving experience but with slightly more traditional styling.
While the Turismo may not be good at a lot of things, there’s barely anything else on the road that can carry this many people with this much space to spare for their bags. What’s more, it’ll cost many thousands of pounds less than any of its rivals, and it still comes packed with accessories and equipment like heated leather seats. Unlike a lot of MPV models, it’s also available with four-wheel drive, making it a fantastic tow car.
The Turismo used to be known as the Rodius, and that car was well known to be one of the ugliest on sale in the UK. The Turismo’s styling is a vast improvement but there’s no hiding this car’s gargantuan proportions, and some of the garish chrome details may be a little too brash for some. The interior is plain and pretty low-rent but it’s clearly laid out and looks ready to take a battering from anything a busy family could throw at it.
One of the problems with the Turismo is that it is only available with one engine – a SsangYong-developed 153bhp 2.0-litre diesel. It either comes with a six-speed manual or a five-speed auto, with the latter the best choice here. Engine noise in the cabin is surprisingly muted and the suspension is very softly sprung, taking the edge off bumps but bouncing up and down for a little too long after you’ve hit them. The steering is completely lifeless and very slow so you’ll be forever twisting the wheel during parking procedures. Round bends it’ll quickly lose grip, and the body leans over as the Turismo’s high centre of gravity takes its toll.
SsangYong vehicles aren’t quite established or common enough in the UK to make any concrete assertions about reliability, but a five-year unlimited mileage warranty reveals just how confident the Korean company is. The Turismo won’t be tested by EuroNCAP for crash safety, and it doesn’t come with curtain airbags. Nevertheless, traction control is standard, as are dual front airbags.
This is where the Turismo’s bus-like size comes in handy. It’s a seven-seater model and comes with a two-two-three seating arrangement. That means no folding down the second row to access the third, you simply step through the gap in between the seats. No matter if you sit in the second or third row, you’ll have acres of space, even if you’re more than six-feet tall. That doesn’t even come at the expense of boot space, though, because if you fold the rear bench forwards you get 875 litres. Remove it and fold the second row down and you get a scarcely believable 3,146-litre boot.
The Turismo is a big, heavy car and it has the running costs to match. With the SsangYong-developed 2.0-litre diesel under the bonnet and running through a six-speed manual gearbox, it returns 38.7mpg. Go for the five-speed auto and that figure drops to 37.7mpg, with emissions creeping up to 199g/km. Both those command the same road tax rate but if you opt for the top-spec four-wheel drive model and automatic gearbox, the Turismo only manages 36.2mpg, with CO2 up to 206g/km. That’ll push your first year of road tax up by around £200.