[TEST DRIVE] SsangYong's Torres is a nostalgic albeit underpowered ride
The Torres SUV is SsangYong's first entirely new vehicle in four years. The design traces its roots back to the Musso, a 1990s SUV that was discontinued 17 years ago and remains much-beloved.
SsangYong received 12,000 orders the first day they were taken, and around 30,000 orders so far, far exceeding the carmaker's 2022 sales target.
The Korea JoongAng Daily recently took the Torres for an 86-kilometer (53-mile) drive in Yeongjongdo, Incheon.
Design-wise, the Torres seems very different from other offering from the automaker. The exterior is very sleek and trendy; SsangYong vehicles are known for rough, practical lines.
The rugged features remind this reporter of the Jeep Wrangler and the Land Rover Defender.
"The Torres SUV is the result of our one-year thorough work analyzing what customers want from SsangYong, and what are the things we are good at," Chung Yong-won, the court-appointed manager for SsangYong Motor, told the reporters during the release event held earlier in the month.
Measuring 4,700 millimeters (185 inches) by 1,890 millimeters by 1,720 millimeters, the size is between Hyundai Motor's Santa Fe and Tucson. It is bigger than Kia's Sportage SUV.
Taking the wheel, the car offers a wide view of the road as the dashboard has been lowered a little, according to the company. The interior was very simple, with no physical buttons on the dashboard excluding an emergency light button. All the functions were controllable through an 8-inch touchscreen.
Driving was quiet despite the vehicle weighing 2,000 kilograms. The driving assistant system offered a lane-following assistant, forward collision-avoidance assist and intelligent speed limit assist.
Despite looking strong, the SUV was a bit of a weakling. It did not drive powerfully, and response was a bit laggy.
There was a Sports mode option, which the carmaker said offers more powerful driving experience, but this reporter did not really feel the difference.
On an uphill road, the car seemed to roll back a bit when a light changed. Hardly confidence building.
Equipped with a 1.5-turbo gasoline engine, the Torres generates a maximum of 170 horsepower and 28.6 kilogram-meters of torque.
The trunk capacity is around 700 liters (185 gallons), but expands to 1,660 liters when the back seat is folded down, which camping lovers will be glad to hear. A unique storage box is located at the car's right c-pillar, which offers additional space to carry a camping lamp or first aid kit.
Fuel efficiency stands at 11.2 kilometers per liter. Torres was certificated as a low-emissions vehicle, and drivers of the SUV get up to 60 percent off when using public parking lots.
Twelve color options are available for the exterior and four for the interior.
The small flaws become ever more bearable once the price is considered. The sticker price starts from only 27.4 million won ($21,000).
One big plus: You will be able to get your Torres delivered by the end of the year. SsangYong said it recently tightened the schedules of its employees at its Pyeongtaek manufacturing plant in Gyeonggi in order to shorten the delivery time.
The Torres will be introduced in the global market around November, with Chile the first country targeted for exports. The name Torres is derived from the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, recognized as a biosphere reserve by Unesco and often appearing on top destination lists.
An electric version of Torres will be released next year fall.
BY SARAH CHEA [email@example.com]