Completing our test of the relaunched SsangYong range is this: the Kyron 4x4. Straddling compact and working SUV status, the Kyron was previously saddled with naïve pricing that punched way above its weight.
Now, a 2WD version values it at a more reasonable £14,995, with a 4WD alternative for £2k more. It makes much more sense as a result – think of the Kyron as an even cheaper Kia Sportage, a hardy Suzuki Grand Vitara alternative, even a plain, honest working SUV with a price and approach most makers have deserted in the quest for ‘lifestyle’ this and 'mountain bike' that.
SsangYong Kyron: the facelift
Well spotted. The Kyron has indeed been facelifted for 2008. Well, it was actually done in 2007, and UK dealers had been crying out for it ever since – another failure of the old importer not to bring the revised car over here. Why their desperation? The old car’s ridiculous heraldic shield tail lights. The rest of it is actually OK, certainly inoffensive, but few could get over those laughable monstrosities at the rear. Now they’re gone, along with some of the front-end fussiness, for a smoother, hopefully more contemporary look.
The Kyron might be better to look at (just), but what's it like to drive? Click 'Next' to read our review of the latest SsangYongSo what's it like inside the Kyron?
The Kyron has always been the best SsangYong inside, with a cool black dash that looks modern and interesting. Seats are firm, the new steering wheel is quite nice to hold, and equipment levels naturally complete. But sit further back, and the cabin feels odd. The rear bench area is a bit cramped, yet the boot is absolutely gigantic. It’s almost as if it were designed as a seven-seater. But, for us, it’s only five.
And to drive?
The 141bhp 2.0-litre common-rail turbodiesel is another one certified by Mercedes, and worries you with a rumbly, gravelly tickover – but it smoothes appreciably when running. The hefty gearshift has a gearknob shaped even more bizarrely than an Astra VXR's, but it's direct and helps you yield a turn of speed completely at odds with the yawning acceleration times.
Must be the 228lb ft of torque at 2250rpm, generated via a surprisingly hi-tech variable-geometry turbo. Driving dynamics are pretty good by SsangYong standards, with firmer body control and more confidence than the others.
Consider its off-road skill and ability to tow up to 2300kg, and lagging behind contemporary compact SUVs such as the Honda CR-V isn’t an issue. Particularly as it costs at least £3k less. A worthy, basic 4x4 if you're on a budget and don't care about badge snobbery.