• Ssangyong launches Rodius, Korando and Tivoli

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    SBMP managing director Dave Macasadia (right) and Ssangyong Asia general manager Seong-Rae Kim pose beside the Tivoli during the launch at the MIAS.

    SBMP managing director Dave Macasadia (right) and Ssangyong Asia general manager Seong-Rae Kim pose beside the Tivoli during the launch at the MIAS.

    Korean automaker staging a comeback with family-oriented lineup

    Ssangyong Berjaya Motors Philippines (SBMP), the sole distributor of the recently revitalized Ssangyong brand, debuted on April 7 its all-new Rodius multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), Korando compact sport-utility vehicle (SUV) and Tivoli subcompact SUV at the 2016 Manila International Auto Show (MIAS).

    The company said in a press statement that its initial offerings will cater to families and individuals who are looking for trendy designs amidst the commonality prevalent in many SUVs today, without breaking the bank. “We want to prove that great design doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot of money,” said SBMP managing director Dave Macasadia in a speech.

    MPV space with SUV functionality
    The Rodius MPV is the second generation of the nameplate and has been on sale worldwide since 2013. Unlike its predecessor, which had been sold locally prior to the Berjaya takeover, the new Rodius features a more aggressive front end with a pentagonal grill flanked by large rectangular headlights, while more quadrilaterals appear in the lower bumper area.

    The side profile also been given a more conventional window line and accentuated wheel arches that house 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels for the base SX model or 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels for the midrange EX and top-specification ELX. Like its predecessor, the new Rodius has a boxy shape and a rear window that extends into the rear quarters. But it now features more conventional-shaped taillights surrounding a higher-placed number-plate holder, as well a more sculpted lower rear bumper.

    Inside, the Rodius can be bought with 11 seats for the SX, 9 seats for the EX and 7 seats for the ELX. It also comes with two-zone air-con (with automatic climate control for the EX and ELX), as well as a 7-inch LCD touchscreen infotainment system for the EX and ELX.

    The Rodius is powered by a 2.0-liter, twin-cam, 16-valve, direct-injection, inline-4 turbodiesel producing 153 horsepower and 360 Newton-meters of torque, which is mated to a 6-speed manual for the SX and a 5-speed automatic for the EX and ELX. Much like its predecessor, it has double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, as well as rear-wheel drive (with all-wheel drive as standard on the ELX).

    All variants come standard with keyless entry, an alarm and anti-lock brakes. The SX comes with a driver’s airbag, while the other variants get a passenger’s airbag, too. Finally, only the ELX gets electronic stability program and a reversing camera (the latter being optional on the EX).

    The Rodius range starts at P1.29 million for the SX, followed by the P1.49 million EX and P1.59 million for the ELX. The Rodius is expected to compete with directly with the all-new but smaller Toyota Innova MPV.

    Giugaro styling, petrol and turbodiesel options
    A Ssangyong name making another return to the Philippines is the Korando, this time as a five-seat compact SUV expected to take on the likes of the recently launched Hyundai Tucson, the all-new Kia Sportage, as well as Chinese crossovers like the BYD S6. This model has been on sale in other markets since 2010.

    Penned by Italian styling house Italdesign Giugaro, the Korando gets a prominent snout that is bracketed by swooping headlights and has a small chrome grill in the middle. Parallelogram-shape foglights and lower grill that mirrors the upper grill completes the look.

    Down the side, the Korando has its wheels pushed all the way to the corners, with prominent wheel arches giving it a sporty look. Another notable design feature is the upward-swooping window line that leads to a pert rear end with large taillights and a small rear spoiler (similar to an Opel Mokka).

    The Korando has three powerplants. One is a 2.0-liter, twin-cam, 16-valve inline-4 producing 147 horsepower and 197 Nm of torque for the entry-level EXG model, which comes with a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The second is a 2.0-liter, twin-cam, 16-valve, direct-injection, inline-4 turbodiesel producing 147 horsepower and 360 Nm of torque for the midrange EXD and top-of-the-line, all-wheel-drive ELX, which both have a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The third is the same 2.0-liter turbodiesel producing 173 horsepower and 360 Nm of torque for the other entry-level model, the SXD, which is the only variant that comes with a 6-speed manual gearbox.

    The Korando starts at P1.09 million for the EXG and the SXD, moving up to P1.25 million for the EXD and topping off at P1.39 million for the ELX.

    Ecosport fighter
    The final model in Ssangyong’s new line-up is the all-new Tivoli. Launched in South Korea in January 2015, the Tivoli is a subcompact SUV and is also the first model launched under Indian carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra, which acquired majority ownership of Ssangyong in February 2011.

    The car features very aggressive front styling, starting with the large, pointed headlights connected by a thin grill. Lower down, protrusions near the foglights, along with black plastic cladding, make the car look like a sabre-toothed tiger.

    The side profile features a clean front half with a more prominent rear half, which has larger rear wheel arches and an L-shaped window line going up to the large C-pillar. Finally, the back end gets large taillights that follow the curve of the wheel arches, as well as a heavily sculpted lower rear bumper.

    The Tivoli is powered by a 1.6-liter, twin-cam, 16-valve inline-4 producing 126 horsepower and 160 Nm of torque. The unit is mated to either 6-speed manual gearbox for the base SX model or a 6-speed automatic for the midrange EXG and the higher-end Sport and Sport R models.

    Here are the prices of the Tivoli range: SX M/T – P785,000; SX A/T – P845,000; EXG A/T – P945,000; Sport AT – P1,040,000; Sport R A/T – P1,080,000.

    The Tivoli is expected to take on the segment-leading Ford Ecosport, the Nissan Juke and the upcoming Mazda CX-3.

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