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Road tests

New KGM Torres EVX review - no nonsense EV SUV goes large on space and range

The electric version of KGM’s Torres SUV has impressive family-friendly qualities but it lacks some sophistication at this price.

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

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Verdict

The KGM Torres EVX feels like an old-school EV dynamically, but there’s no denying that it offers a huge amount of space and a respectable range, along with a sensible amount of standard kit. Pricing may be more of an issue, though, for a figure closer to £40k would have undercut the likes of the big-battery Skoda Enyaq and put more clear air between the Torres EVX and cars such as the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5.

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KGM only consumed SsangYong properly last year, but the Korean conglomerate isn’t hanging about on the new-product front. There’s a new pick-up on the way, playing to the old brand’s key strengths, but KGM is also aiming for EV adopters with an all-electric version of its new family SUV, the Torres.

The Torres EVX, to give it its official title, is a 4.7 metre-long SUV that has the same beefed-up design as the petrol-powered version. The cars share a platform that KGM claims is new, although given that work started on this car before the takeover, it’s likely to be linked in some way to older SsangYong tech.

The same certainly can’t be said for the EVX’s powertrain. KG Group needed quick access to a proven set-up, so it turned to Chinese giant BYD and agreed a joint venture to produce batteries in Korea. As such, the Torres EVX features BYD’s ‘blade battery’ with cell-to-pack construction. Capacity stands at 73kWh, although KGM says that the forthcoming pick-up will have a 80kWh set-up, and that this larger layout could conceivably make it into the Torres EVX in due course.

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For now, though, this big SUV (a few centimetres longer than Skoda’s already-sizeable Enyaq) can manage 287 miles between charges. Its maximum charge rate is 145kW, potentially taking the battery from 10 to 80 per cent in 37 minutes. There’s 204bhp and 339Nm on tap, too, from the also-BYD-sourced powertrain – enough, KGM claims, for a 0-62mph time of just over eight seconds.

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Actually achieving that in the real world might prove tricky, though, because from the off, the Torres EVX feels very much like an older-generation EV. The core suspension set-up is pretty stiff – needed, no doubt, to cope with a kerb weight of more than 1,900kg – and this, coupled with pretty powerful throttle calibration, means that the car will light up its front wheels all too easily, even on a bone-dry road. This is in the Normal driving mode, too; changing to Sport increases the wheelspin to almost-comical levels. Switching to the more restricted Eco setting improves the modulation to the point where it becomes straightforward to drive the Torres EVX smoothly.

Fight your way beyond the chirping from the front tyres (Nexen rubber on the examples we tried in Turkey) and there’s enough shove there. But the mix of traction control, throttle-pedal map and stiff suspension does make this car feel like something Hyundai or Kia were producing five years ago.

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It’s a pity, because in other ways, the Torres EVX is dynamically pretty well tied down. There’s enough power for it to sit comfortably at 70mph on a motorway, and while it’s still a bit over damped, the extra mass does stop it from bouncing all over the place, and the body stays in check in corners. Refinement is pretty decent too, with minimal electric-motor whine and respectable levels of wind and road noise. The switch to near-silent EV power does expose a few extra thunks in the suspension, though.

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Inside, there’s very little to separate the EVX from regular petrol versions of the Torres. The dash is covered by a pair of 12.5-inch displays that are crisp and high resolution. But as with the petrol, the interface has too many foibles considering the amount of vehicle functions that you’re expected to control through it. And in a slice of delicious irony, the Torres EVX beeps to warn you of speed limits, driver tiredness and inattention, yet requires you to swipe down on the centre screen if you want to flick between the driving modes.

Still, the fit and finish in the cabin is a huge step for the brand formerly known as SsangYong, with soft-touch materials in many key areas and some coloured, textured plastics to disguise the harder materials. We’d go as far as to call the cabin environment pleasant, as well as spacious.

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And it really is the latter because if the Torres EVX has a USP, it’s the sheer size of the thing. We are, after all, talking about a vehicle that’s big enough to accommodate seven but has only five seats. Everyone will have plenty of head, knee and legroom, and while the middle occupant in the back seats will have to cope with the raised transmission tunnel that runs down the middle of the car, it’s not likely to really bother them.

The boot is massive, too; with 703 litres on offer, and further space beneath the floor for cable storage. That’s well over 100 litres up on what you’ll find in the Enyaq – and it’s not often that you find a Skoda trumped on any element of practicality. Sadly, though, KGM hasn’t seen fit to offer any storage assistance, such as a cargo net or ‘curry hooks’, so you really do get a huge box in which to throw items and then hear them rolling around.

Model:KGM Torres EVX K40
Price:£47,495
Powertrain:73kWh battery, 1x e-motor
Transmission:Single-speed auto, front-wheel drive
Power/torque:204bhp/339Nm
0-62mph:8.1sec
Top speed:109mph
Range:287 miles
Dimensions (l/w/h):4,700/1,890mm/1,720mm
On sale:Now
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Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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