The new Ssangyong Turismo replaces one of the most widely ridiculed cars of recent times: the Ssangyong Rodius. As unrefined and uncomfortable as it was catastrophically hideous, it remains (mercifully) a rare sight on British shores. Now, Korean outfit Ssangyong is having another crack at the ‘more is more’ large MPV.
Still no beauty, is it?
No, but which MPV is? And it’s difficult to take in the details of the Turimso at first glance, just as you don’t focus on the Statue of Liberty’s eyebrows the first time you clap eyes on her. You just gawp at the sheer scale of the Turimso, and then take a leisurely stroll down to the boot. If you’re a dog-walker, there’s no need to hoist Fido aboard the enormous 875L/3186L boot – circling the car is enough exercise.
Your mutts, shopping, and children will surely get lost inside the gargantuan interior anyhow. And so this should be a spacious car – it measures more than 5.1m end to end, dwarfing a Range Rover, and stands a lofty 1.85m tall. Meanwhile, cyclists will hold their breath as they pass you, thanks to the Turismo’s nigh-on two-metre width.
So, I need an HGV license to drive it – or a tanker captain?
Actually, the massive Turismo can be operated by the common-or-garden British motorist: its mechanical layout is as conventional as it gets. We tested a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel model, which the manufacturer quotes no official 0-62mph time – perhaps Ssangyong’s engineers don’t have the patience.
The motor musters a useful 265lb ft from 1500rpm, but only a paltry 150bhp, so progress isn’t brisk. The Turismo lugs its 2115kg all the way to 108mph, but no amount of arm-wrestling with the six-speed manual will make the Turismo feel sprightly. Best relax, ignore the fact that claimed economy barely tops 35mpg, and wallow in the Turismo’s unashamedly comfort-focused bias.
You’re not going to tell me the Turismo is a relaxing machine to pootle about in?
Too right we are. The enormous steering wheel (another shipping similarity) masks any hope of communication with the front wheels, but what this big ol’ boat gives in ocean-going body roll, it absorbs in pillowy ride comfort that’ll surely be a real boon on the Stansted ring road where this car will likely spend its working life.
There’s some float to the body as it settles on its springs, but you’d have to be driving enthusiastically enough to provoke a six-way vomiting match behind your left ear to experience it often.
Prices for the Ssangyong Turismo start at (wait for it) £17,995. This is an enormous amount of car for the money, with more versatility than anything this side of a Mercedes Unimog, thanks to the part-time all-wheel drive system, seven seats, cathedral-sized boot and generous on-board kit-count.
For that money (even the loaded range topper with an automatic gearbox costs Ford C-Max money, at £23,995), we’ll forgive the Turismo its ungainly appearance, glacial performance and circa 1994-Honda cabin plastics. Chances are if you’re looking for a seven-seater this commodious for less than twenty grand, nothing else will do.
For offering huge value and markedly improving upon its dire predecessor, we give the Turismo the thumbs up. It is a size too big for British roads, and is about five rungs too far down the badge snobbery ladder for the British public to take it seriously, but we’d wager there are few family workhorses this side of a Dacia that offer the same practicality-per-pound.