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Car reviews - SsangYong - Kyron - 5-dr wagon range

Launch Story

SsangYong logo23 Feb 2006

By MARTON PETTENDY

IT may still be a small player in Australia, but Korean manufacturer SsangYong has signalled its intention to get serious.

Its new mid-size Kyron XDi four-wheel drive is priced from $34,490 and joins Hyundai’s $37,490 Terracan as one of the first turbo-diesel SUVs under $40,000 in a move that is clearly aimed at rattling some compact and medium Japanese 4WD petrol offerings.

Visually, the five-door five-seater, which was designed by Brit Ken Greenley, moves away from some of SsangYong’s more adventurous styling efforts of the past, adopting a fresh wedge shape with an aggressive front end rising to a narrow rear-most window line.

However, some quirky design cues are evident, from the multi-faceted grille to the heraldic "shield" tail-lights.

The manufacturer claims the vehicle moves SsangYong up a notch in quality, safety and body strength. It claims the bodyshell is one of the most rigid yet built by the Korean brand. The A and B-pillars use high-tensile strength steel and extra cross members under the floor.

Engineering work was also undertaken on dust sealing, suspension tuning and hot-weather testing for Australian conditions.

The XDi is well equipped, coming with dual front airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, anti-lock brakes, foglights, rear three-point centre seatbelt, 18-inch alloys, leather steering wheel, 60/40 split-fold rear seat, in-dash CD stereo, rear parking sensors, cruise control and electric windows/mirrors.

In May the range will be expanded to include a 121kW/342Nm 2.7-litre CDi diesel as well as a 162kW/312Nm 3.2-litre in-line petrol engine – both originally Mercedes-Benz units, which should sell below $40,000 for the 2.7 and $45,000 for the premium-equipped petrol six.

Initially though, SsangYong Australia will focus on the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, which develops 104kW at 4000rpm and 310Nm from 1800rpm. The diesel is mated to either a standard five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed sequential automatic manufactured by Mercedes-Benz and has an intelligent shift system that reads the driver’s driving style. The auto is a $3000 option.

SsangYong claims the vehicle will deliver fuel economy of 7.7L/100km combined for the manual or 8.6L/100km combined for the auto, which should provide a good cruising range from the 80-litre fuel tank.

Based on the Rexton 4WD, Kyron rests on a smaller 2740mm wheelbase and at 4660mm in length is also a tad shorter overall. It is 1880mm wide and 1755mm high with a front and rear track of 1570mm.

By comparison, Toyota’s new RAV4 is 4600mm long, sits on a wheelbase of 2660mm and has a front and rear track of 1560mm.

The Kyron’s 2.0-litre engine is a third-generation common rail unit developed by SsangYong with the block, cylinder heads and pistons sourced from Mercedes-Benz suppliers.

The Kyron’s part-time 4WD system offers two-wheel drive as well as high and low-range 4WD modes via a dashboard-mounted switch.

SsangYong claims it is also is one of the quietest vehicles in its class. The dash panel and firewall transmission tunnel have a foam-padded dual-layer structure that not only reduces the transmission of noise to the interior but also increases bodyshell rigidity.

The same anti-vibration material is used for the side panels and roof, along with extensive soundproofing.

The wagon sits on a ladder frame, triple-layer steel chassis with a separate subframe and rigid bodyshell and tips the scales at between 1956kg and 2028kg.

It offers a towing capacity of 2300kg. Suspension is via a double-wishbone front with a five-link coil system at the rear.

SsangYong Australia hopes the Kyron will become a volume model and aims to sell 1200 this year with a forecast of up to 2000 next year. This year it aims to sell a total of 4500 vehicles across the board with a 2007 forecast of 6500.

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