By Patrick James on 2018-03-04 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
IT seems when a little known 'bargain' brand comes on the market, many are quick to find fault and predict they will never catch on.
Take Skoda, Kia, Hyundai and Dacia as examples that have proved this wrong. Much the same has been said of Korean brand SsangYong, which despite having been on these shores for many years, has slipped under the car buying public's radar.
But like the brands mentioned, the Korean firm produces decent value for money vehicles, from the excellent Tivoli, through the Musso pick-up truck to the huge and lavishly equipped Turismo.
Huge is not hyperbole is this case. The Turismo is a full-fat, seven seater MPV which also features van-like carrying capacity with decent road manners and all for a starting price of under £20,000.
Good value indeed. Even the all-singing, all-dancing ELX automatic range topper driven here which adds four wheel drive, is just over £26,000. Make no mistake, this is excellent value for money.
It will never win any beauty contests, being a square-on, tall vehicle that maximises the use of space.
It does have some neat styling touches around the headlights, grille and wheels, while the integrated roof bars and privacy glass on this model give it a slightly more sophisticated look.
The interior is not bad either. Clearly it lacks the high-quality fixtures and fittings of the some European motors, but it certainly is not cheap and nasty.
While its stablemate the Musso has a slightly scattergun approach to control layout, the Turismo is more logical, although the main binnacle is set in the middle of the dash rather than behind the wheel, which takes some getting used to.
The centrepiece is a touchscreen for control of major functions like sat nav, smartphone connectivity and infotainment, while the other controls are logically placed and easy to use.
There are loads of bells and whistles with this model, including leather seats, parking camera, auto temperature control throughout the cabin including rear ceiling vents, heated front seats, steering wheel controls and a host of other goodies.
That is great for the creature comforts, but this vehicle is really about space and it has it in spades.
The seven-seat layout is slightly unusual inasmuch as the front two rows are both two seats, with three full seats at the rear. This means the middle row passengers have loads of legroom, headroom and to the side as well as aircraft style flip down tables.
It makes for a very comfortable ride as a passenger and even three rear seats have plenty of room for adults. The rear three also slide backwards and forwards and can be completely removed and all five rear seats can be folded to open up a cavernous 3,146 litres of stowage capacity.
Even with all seats in place, there is still a more than decent 845 litres.
Cavernous and practical and despite its near three tonne weight, fairly economical.
The 2.2-litre engine is efficient and pretty refined and mated to a Mercedes-sourced seven-speed automatic transmission offers a good driving experience.
The ride is comfortable, but do not expect handling to be anything better than average, given van-sized proportions and the tendency to wallow on corners.
Four tricky conditions there is the selectable four wheel drive with low ratio option to cope with most road and many off road challenges.
Economy is decent with claimed 36.2mpg seeming not that far off the mark. CO2 emissions are high however at 205g/km. The 178ps diesel also offers torque of 400Nm of torque which means it accelerates well through the gears, but still has a braked trailer towing capacity of 2,000kg.
SsangYong Turismo ELX
Mechanical: 178ps, 2,157cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 116mph
Combined MPG: 36.2
Insurance Group: 34
C02 emissions: 205g/km
Bik rating: 37%
Warranty: 5yrs/unlimited miles
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