June 19, 2018, 6:32 am
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MPV REVIEW: On the road, on a SsangYong Rodius

NOMENCLATURES at Korean car maker SsangYong produced weird names such as Stavic, Turismo, Rodius. These queer names, aligned with equally queer sounding (and spelled) brand has nothing to do with the stellar performance of this multi-passenger vehicle that has always surprised us, and never failed to deliver.

If you have seen the previous Rodius (marketed then by Columbian’s Ssangyong division) under its past name “Stavic” you would have said “hideous.” (You would have asked if the designer was fired after it was released. But he was not.) Thankfully though none of the DNA of the Stavic rubbed off to the current model Rodius which is a standout among the cut and chiseled looks of it main competitor the Toyota Innova.

This purposely restyled Rodius won the best in mileage in the diesel category besting the Toyota Innova’s 21.60 kilometers per liter (km/L) delivering an awesome 33.12 km/L. The event lumped the Rodius in the sports utility category though but it mattered little. It was the most frugal of the lost of diesel burners.

Part of the reason why the Rodius is so economical is its Euro 4-compliant 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine which is standard across the range. Performance is up - with 155PS at 4,000 rpm and a massive 356 NM of torque while spinning just slightly faster than a washing machine dryer- a venerable 2,800 rpm. And all this power is up, emissions and fuel consumption is obviously down.

On the road the Rodius goes and goes. 

On this particular lend, which was for the purpose of hauling colleagues to visit the wake of Malaya’s beloved publisher Jake Macasaet, the Rodius EX’s ample interior space, good for 9 people in living room likeness with its soft leather upholstery, automatic air conditioning with individual vents up to the last row, the 7-inch touchscreen display head unit with Bluetooth functions, auxiliary or USB ports, second row aptain’s chairs and cushy benches,  helped to cheer us up. Surely, even if rode with in a car with the fanciest interiors, we would still feel glum.

The loss of Sir Jake was just to much.

Nevertheless, the seating arrangement made for good conversation. 

Up front the driver and passengers seat on fully adjustable comfy chairs. The wide windshield provides maximum visibility. The second row has a pair of captain’s seat duplicated in the middle row, and a bench for three at the back. What is really impressive for a vehicle of this girth and stance is that the floor is quite high and the space between the seats more than ample. On the ride home with only four people on board, the passengers in the back flipped the middle two seats flat to get foot rests that can also be tables or trays when stationary. When you remove all of the rear seats you’ll get over 3,000 cubic liters of space.

The model we tested—the ELX features 4x4—which should come in handy in slippery and sticky situations, although we had no change to do it. The automatic gearbox which is sourced from Mercedes is responsive and compliant matching everything that needs to be delivered to the wheels. 

For safety and security, it has dual front airbags, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), security alarm, and electronic door locks.

To get on the road with the Rodius is a unique experience. Not only do you get stares when other drivers try to figure out the logo (is it a Lamborghini?) but when it comes to space and flexibility, this is a contender. But for fuel economy, this is the winner. There are a few hitches, like small plastic parts and what not, but these are insignificant to the total package.

I can hear Sir Jake commenting on it if he had been able to ride it. “Damn fine car,” he’d say.

At P1.59M for the ELX and P1.29M for the manual transmission SX and the midrange Ex at P1.49M, these seat-stuffed Korean gents are powerful yet frugal and they do their jobs well. One day they may find glamor as a buying point but for now it is the 5 years warranty that comes in handy and the extraordinary name that start with “Ss” that means “value.” (RGBT)
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