Drive – SsangYong Kyron Review

21 Dec 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Drive – SsangYong Kyron Review

Bruce Newton

Make SSANGYONG Model KYRON Series X200 XDI,X200 XDI T-Tronic Series Year 2006 Body Group 4WD

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One for the back seat drivers

It has only been selling vehicles in Australia independently for the last couple of years, but SsangYong has been represented in one form or another dating back to 1996.

That was when the Musso SUV was sold through Mercedes-Benz dealerships. Later on it was part of the Daewoo range.

These days, SsangYong is standing alone and making a good fist of it. It has made a quiet return with a range that includes a crew cab version of the Musso, the Korando and the stylish Rexton mid-size SUV.

And the range just keeps expanding, the latest addition being the Kyron. It#8217;s only slightly smaller in length and wheelbase than the Rexton and bears a reasonably strong family resemblance. But the Kyron seats only five while the Rexton can take seven passengers.

The Kyron has also been launched only with the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine tested here. But it will soon add the 2.7-litre turbo-diesel and 3.2-litre petrol engines used by the Rexton.

Pricing is a significant separator between the two SsangYong SUVs. The Kyron starts at $34,490 in standard five-speed manual form, climbing to the $37,490 for the Mercedes-Benz supplied five-speed auto with semi-manual mode that has been tested here.

At that price you#8217;re still $2000 under the starting price for Rexton,#160; which climbs as high as $49,990. Standard equipment for both Kyrons includes air-conditioning, dual airbags, anti-lock brakes (without EBD or BAS support), 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, rear parking sensors, a leather steering wheel, single CD audio and roof racks. It#8217;s worth noting that and cruise control only comes with the auto.

There aren#8217;t many sub-$40,000 SUVs that offer the Kyron#8217;s true off-road ability. That comes via traditional means rather than the latest techno wizardry. There#8217;s a separate chassis, a live rear axle, part-time #8216;shift on the fly#8217; four-wheel drive and low range gearing.

Considering that it#8217;s no surprise that progressing slowly over lumpy ground is where Kyron is most at home. Then its slow-geared steering, long travel throttle and soft and tall suspension set-up make lots of sense. All that creates insulation for the driver and passengers, rather than the annoying stop-start jerkiness that tauter vehicles provide in such circumstances.

But transfer back to faster gravel roads or bitumen and the Kyron#8217;s sheen wears thin. The looseness that works so well in 4WD conditions doesn#8217;t help here. The steering wheel#8217;s 3.6 tuns lock-to-lock makes parking a chore #8211; thanks be for those parking sensors #8211; while the ride is lumpy and the rear-end tends to jump around on rougher roads.

Bodyroll also quickly becomes intrusive.

The pity of that is passengers are actually pretty well looked after within the Kyron#8217;s ample confines. The seats are flat, but big, and there is plenty of room in the second row to fit two adult passengers. The 60/40 bench seat split-folds almost flat to create massive storage space that will easily consume a full-size bicycle.

Up-front the look is basic and the massive #8216;SsangYong Motor#8217; stamped in the centre console is a bit off-putting. But the build quality is okay, the simple cruise control and audio buttons on the steering wheel are positives. By contrast, the remote central locking #8216;plipper#8217; is an annoying negative because you#8217;re never quite sure if it#8217;s done the job or not.

The drivetrain is undoubtedly the most impressive aspect of Kyron. The engine is designed by SsangYong and features intercooling, Bosch third generation common rail direct injection, double overhead camshafts and four-valves per-cylinder. That results in 104kW at 4000rpm and 310Nm between 1800rpm and 2750rpm.

Apart from being somewhat noisy at cold start-up and displaying a little more lag and little less top-end rev-ability than some of the latest designs from Europe, this is a good engine. It#8217;s no rocket, but it does combine nicely with the intuitive auto.

For urban work the auto would be an option worth ticking if you can afford the extra dollars. Off-road, turbo-diesel torque makes it a better choice than small capacity petrol engines.

The official fuel consumption claim seems a bit optimistic at 8.6L/100km (7.7 for the manual), but even if the real world turns up high nines to low 10, it#8217;s a good result for a near-2.0 tonne SUV. An 80-litre tank means you#8217;ll travel a fair way between refills.

What#8217;s not so good is the Kyron engine#8217;s disappointing 2.0 star (out of five) Green Vehicle Guide rating. That#8217;s driven by its poor 1.5 out of 10 for air pollution emissions (particulates, nitrogen oxide etcetera). Many diesels don#8217;t do much better. But not all.

The VW Group 2.0 TDI, for example, achieves 3.5 stars.

Which brings us to our overall rating of the Kyron. For most people its weighting toward off-road capability will rule it out as their compact SUV choice. There are better vehicles like the Toyota RAV4 and Suzuki Grand Vitara if the city and suburbs are your driving routine.

But if getting off the bitumen and into the dirt is a significant part of your life, then the Kyron might appeal. The keys are its low range gearing and turbo-diesel engine, both quite rare below $40,000 in SUVs.

Prices and details correct at time of publication.

Price and equipment

Rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars

The Kyron#8217;s pricing slots it into the heart of the compact soft-roader segment against the likes of the RAV4 and Nissan X-Trail. It has no significant equipment advantages in a safety or comfort sense, apart from rear parking sensors (and it needs them because it#8217;s hard to see out of). Its big deal is being one of very few SUVs under $40,000 with a turbo-diesel engine and proper 4WD system.

Under the bonnet

Rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars

The 2.0-litre turbo-diesel is a new SsangYong four-cylinder design that employs double overhead cams, 16-valves, common rail direct injection and intercooling. While quite responsive it is also noisy at start-up and – according to the Green Vehicle Guide – too dirty. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, but the Mercedes-Benz sourced five-speed auto is the better choice.

How it drives

Rating: 2.0 out of 5 stars

With its separate chassis underpinnings this is a traditional 4WD wagon design and it drives like it on-road. Lots of bodyroll, a jumpy, rattling ride on rougher surfaces and loose steering do not inspire a lot of confidence. Around town the big steering wheel, turning circle and poor visibility make Kyron hard work.

Comfort and practicality

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Two adults will have no trouble fitting in either front or second row. Behind them is plenty of room for their luggage too. The bench seat also folds down nearly flat to accommodate big, awkward loads like bicycles.

Unfortunately, the poor ride quality hurts the comfort level appreciably.

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