2013 Ssangyong Turismo review

  • New seven-seat Turismo replaces Rodius MPV
  • 2.0-litre diesel with auto and four-wheel-drive options
  • On sale August, priced from around £18,000
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Read new Ssangyong reviews
The new seven-seat Ssangyong Turismo is a replacement for the much-maligned and ungainly looking Rodius. The same honest intentions of offering masses of space at a very low price continue – in fact, the previous car's chassis and Mercedes-sourced powertrain remain.

Ssangyong introduced this 2.0-litre diesel engine to the Rodius at the end of last year, but there's no sign of the ancient 2.7-litre diesel that originally powered the huge seven-seater. Think of the Turismo as an identity change rather than a new model and you're not far off.

The interior layout is also unchanged, which means two rows with a pair of armchair-like individual seats, and a three-seat bench in the back.

What's the 2013 Ssangyong Turismo like to drive?
Still a bit rough around the edges, to say the least. The 2.0 diesel is the sole engine available, and we drove the top-spec EX model, which gets a five-speed automatic gearbox and switchable four-wheel-drive system as standard.

Refinement is the most notable improvement. The engine still gets very loud if you work it hard, but when you're cruising at a steady speed the Turismo is much quieter than its predecessor.

The gearbox also does a reasonable job in untaxed use, blurring its lethargic changes so that you can make calm, relaxed progress. There's lots of wind- and road noise at higher speeds, but it's certainly acceptable.

The Turismo is rear-wheel drive in default mode, but you can select permanent four-wheel-drive traction in high- or low-ratio modes (the latter being for low-speed off-road use only).

However, the Turismo is not happy in corners. There's lots of ponderous body lean, and the steering is slow, requiring armfuls of lock even in gentle cornering and low-speed manoeuvres.

It grips well enough, but the lazy steering response and plentiful body movement make it hard work.

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The ride is also less than ideal. It settles in motorway driving, but around town it's bouncy and jittery, picking up most of the imperfections in the road surface. This is likely to improve when the Turismo is weighed down with people, but don't expect silky progress even then.

What's the 2013 Ssangyong Turismo like inside?
The interior has the same basic architecture as the Rodius, but the materials have been improved, and now consist of durable-feeling textured plastics.

The driver's main instruments are perched centrally on top of the dashboard, which puts them out of your main line of sight, but they're clear enough to read at a glance, even if they do look distinctly '90s in style and quality.

More to the point, it's easy to get comfortable thanks to the cushy seats and massive amount of space. You end up with a rather van-like driving position, but this does provide a good view out.

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Further back there are two chunky, mid-mounted seats, and even the third-row bench will hold two adults or three children in relative comfort, while leaving useable boot space for luggage.

The Turismo is available in four trims, and even the entry-level S model (which has rear-drive and a six-speed manual gearbox) gets climate control and a multi-function steering wheel, although it misses out on the side airbags that are standard across the rest of the range. All models get driver and passenger airbags.

Most buyers will opt for the pricier ES or EX trims, which get the automatic gearbox as standard plus cruise control, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, alloys, a full-size spare wheel, privacy glass, rear parking sensors and heated leather front seats. Only the EX gets four-wheel drive, and it also adds automatic wipers and bigger alloys.

The Garmin colour touch-screen you see in our pictures is a £1000 extra that also brings a DAB radio and sat-nav. A single-disc CD player, Bluetooth and a USB-input are standard across the range.

Safety will be a deal-breaker for many, because Euro NCAP won't be testing the Turismo and it doesn't get as much kit as in most European rivals. At least stability control is standard.

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Should I buy one?
The Ssangyong Turismo undercuts anything else of this size and spec by many thousands, but it is still hard to justify. Many families will be put off by the lack of curtain airbags and a certified safety standard, despite the car's sheer size.

Many used alternatives offer superior safety provisions, and you're likely to find lower running costs in the used arena, too. Even so, the five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty and very aggressive pricing do give the Turismo a certain appeal.

We'd say it's unlikely to transform the car maker's underdog position in the UK (that may happen with the influx of rather more dramatic, fashion-sensitive SUVs arriving in coming years), but the Turismo's functionality is hard to fault, and it's now much less offensive to drive and look at, while remaining the cheapest full-size seven-seater by a large margin. That will be enough for some.

What Car? says...


Rivals:
Ford Galaxy
Hyundai i800

Ssangyong Turismo 2.0 EX Auto 4x4
Engine size 2.0 TD
Price from £18,000 (est)
Power153bhp
Torque 266lb ft
0-62mph 14 seconds (est)
Top speed 108mph
Fuel economy 35.0mpg
CO2 212g/km

By Vicky Parrott
 
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