중앙데일리

Renault SUV aims to compete with Santa Fe

Jan 15,2008
On one of the snowiest days last month, Renault Samsung Motors made the precarious decision to allow the automotive press to test-drive its first sport utility vehicle, the QM5, in Gangwon Province, a region famous for its rugged terrain.
Letting reporters test-drive the new vehicle in such a challenging environment was a big gamble for the automaker: Imagine a car review by a reporter who got into an accident over the course of the test drive.
Mercifully, no one sustained damage, as all 20 vehicles on the test drive of the QM5 SUV completed the 123 kilometer-drive (76.4 miles) unharmed. The trip was mainly on the Yeongdong highway and included an off-road section in a mountain area and a curvy, slippery climb up 1,060-meter-high Undu-ryeong to the Yangyang area. Everyone made it safe and sound.
Safety features of the diesel-powered QM5 were especially distinguished on the hills.
The four-wheel drive system provided reliable power distribution.
Cutting-edge functions such as hill start assist and hill descent control, when activated, helped us negotiate the steep downhill gradients.
On the flat highway the car’s six-gear automatic transmission offered dynamic yet silent acceleration. Speeding up to 160 kilometers created no major noise or turbulence. The motor produces 150 horsepower, comparable to the Winstorm SUV from GM Daewoo and Auto Technology. The QM5 aims to compete against the 151-horsepower Santa Fe SUV of Hyundai Motor.
The car’s Bose sound system brought the drivers close to the sound of a live performance. The custom-engineered premium sound system is rarely found in domestic cars, because not many Korean drivers have sound quality at the top of their priority list when choosing a vehicle.
Renault Samsung has dubbed the 2-liter SUV “the crossover.” The vehicle combines the assets of a sedan ― a comfortable ride and precise handling ― and features of SUVs, including a spacious interior and safety devices.
The car was developed over the past 28 months under the codename QMX, an acronym for Quest Motoring Experience.
Its launch is an important step for the automaker owned by French auto giant Renault Group. That is because the Korean unit has so far only been equipped with a lineup of sedans ― the SM3, SM5 and SM7.
The QM5 shares the V-shaped grill with the familiar look of the SM sedan series. But its protracted rear end gives a European touch that is rarely found in rival SUVs.
The design is the result of cooperation between Renault Group and its Seoul operation.
The platform is based on the Qashqai SUV from Renault’s Japanese partner. QM5’s gasoline model is scheduled for launch in February 2009.


By Seo Ji-eun Staff Reporter [spring@joongang.co.kr]



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