Kyron 2.0 EX Auto
a fact of life that money talks,
but paying less and still getting a
good deal is not always so easy.
launched five-door, five-seat Kyron
SUV you get a lot for not a lot of
SALES OF SOUTH KOREAN SSANGYONG vehicles have recently re-started in the
UK for the third time, with the sales, parts and service operations now under
the control of a totally new company Koelliker UK, part of the Italian
Koelliker automotive group. So what does the revised SsangYong range offer?
The new line-up of revised, re-specified and keener-priced vehicles Kyron
mid-sized SUV, Rexton large SUV and Rodius large MPV are now on the market
with budget prices starting from just £14,995. For good measure, and to support
the re-launch, all models have attractive reasons to buy with offers which include
three-years/30,000 miles free servicing, free satellite navigation upgrades
on selected models and no-deposit finance offers on Kyron and Rodius models.
With all the customer offers on the table from the company to buy new SsangYong
models, it makes good sense to at least consider the product and residual values,
although poor at the moment, should improve. We also know the South Koreans
can make good quality vehicles at affordable prices the success of Hyundai
and Kia proves that.
While they may not be the most attractively styled vehicles on the market, their
core designs are sound, durability is good and their mechanical technology is
proven: much of the drivetrain technology comes from Mercedes-Benz although
it is a few years behind their current products.
Reviewed here is the five-door, five-seat Kyron SUV which will sell against
the much more expensive market leaders in this sector the Honda CR-V,
Land Rover Freelander and Toyota RAV 4 although in reality think more along
the lines of Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe and Chevrolet Captiva. The starter
model in the Kyron range, admittedly with two-wheel drive, is priced at just
£14,995; it used to be £17,995.
You get the full specification, from air conditioning to electronic stability
programme and much more. Some models have part-time four-wheel drive
and there are manual and automatic transmissions and S, EX and SPR levels of
trim and specification, depending on the engine size chosen. As part of SsangYong's
sales drive, the Kyron is available with the Mercedes T-Tronic automatic transmission
at the same price as a manual version.
There is a choice of 2.0 and 2.7-litre turbodiesel engines. The best option,
given the high fuel prices and escalating CO2 charges, is the 2.0-litre, 139bhp
turbodiesel unit with 229lb ft of torque. This model will tow up to 2,300kg
and the manual gearbox model should return 37.7mpg with CO2 emissions of 191g/km
giving it a road tax bill of £210.
My test model was the Kyron 2.0 EX 4WD automatic, now priced at £19,495 thanks
to the free automatic transmission offer. However, for most rural or business
customers who could be considering a workhorse budget SUV, then the 2.0 S manual
or auto models now priced at £16,995 make more financial sense. The top of the
range model, the 2.7-litre diesel, costs £22,495. My advice is that, given these
are budget buys and even the lowest specification versions are well equipped,
stick with the S 2.0-litre variant.
Like all SsangYong products, do not expect the sharpest handling, the best road-holding
or the fastest performance. The suspension is on the soft side set for
comfort rather than sharp handling but do workhorse customers really
care about things like that? I think not. The Kyron looks well made and does
things well enough for most budget brand buyers.
The steering is too light but this 2.0-litre four-cylinder, common rail, DOHC,
turbodiesel engine is good much better, in fact, than some other more
expensive competitors but it can get noisy when pushed to perform. Top speed
is 103mph with 0-62mph taking 15.8 seconds, and there's 229lb ft of torque available
The automatic transmission feels old-school technology, taking its time to move
between the gears, but it works. There is no 'smart' 4x4 system, just a knob
with which the driver can easily select 2WD, 4WD high ratio or 4WD low ratio
and hill descent control. Simple and easy and just what most rural folk or people
who tow trailers, boats or caravans want and exactly what the boss of
the UK importer says about the new SsangYongs: "vehicles fit for purpose".
So what do you get for your money with the Kyron EX? The main items are cruise
control, electric windows front and rear, electrically-operated door mirrors,
leather upholstery and trim, heated windscreen, 18-inch alloy wheels, anti-lock
braking, stability control, hill descent control, front fog lights, alarm, climate
control air conditioning, stereo radio and sound system with six speakers and
60:40 folding rear seats.
The cheaper S models my financial choice have most of the important
things from the list above, including air conditioning but not the leather upholstery
and trim. Kyron S models have 16-inch alloy wheels, so that will improve the
handling as well.
It's a fact of life that 'money talks', so paying less is good advice. At present
there are too few dealers but this is being addressed (there are currently just
35 of them in the UK but a recruitment programme is underway and 60 dealers
should be in place by the end of 2008). On-road handling is lazy, the engine
noisy when worked and there are annoying warning buzzers when the ignition is
first switched on. That said, there's no denying that the Kyron is fit for purpose.
Other major strengths are its price, size and high specification and the fact
that it's durable, tows heavy loads (the braked towing capacity is 2,300kg),
has a large 1,085-litre load area and is good off-road. So if you are willing
to take a small risk on future residual values which SsangYong UK are
working on improving and you need a budget priced, tough, family 4x4
workhorse, the Kyron 2.0 S is certainly worth considering. David Miles
SsangYong Kyron 2.0 EX Auto | £19,495
Maximum speed: 103mph | 0-62mph: 15.8 seconds
Overall test MPG: 32.5mpg | Power: 139bhp | Torque: 229lb ft
CO2 222g/km | VED Band F £210 | Insurance group 13E