Car Review: SsangYong - Kyron  Series 06 (3 stars)

The SsangYong Kyron doesn't do anything better than average, but is a good value old-school 4x4.

The big Korean brands have really taken off in recent years - Kia and Hyundai have worked hard at gaining credibility in Europe by designing cars that are sympathetic to Western tastes and display the quality that discerning buyers demand in an incredibly competitive market.

SsangYong is the one that slipped through the net somewhat - and whilst its Rodius 4x4 is notably lauded as the most ugly car on the market, the Kyron isn't such a bad car. We won't get ahead of ourselves here, it's not a great car, but the styling (at least from the front) is inoffensive, which is a step forward, and the Kyron is genuinely capable off-road.

The company seems to enjoy styling its cars with mock-Mercedes grilles, which is presumably the Korean impression of German luxury, but it's clear from driving the car that the company suffers from a lack of resources. Refinement is poor, with plenty of noise soaking into the cabin and a crashy ride from suspension that isn't quite up to containing two tonnes of old-fashioned ladder chassis.

The quality of materials inside the cabin certainly isn't what you would call premium, but it does at least feel well built enough that the Kyron could stand the sort of abuse you would expect to throw at a big, tough SUV like this. There is plenty of space inside, with a welcome array of useful little compartments and cubby holes for storing all those little odds and ends.

The only engine available for the Kyron is a 2.0-litre diesel unit sourced from Mercedes - but it's many years since this unit was fitted to one of Mercedes' own cars. It's a reasonable performer, even if coarse and noisy under acceleration. It's a good motorway cruiser, though, with enough torque left over for mild bouts of overtaking. The Kyron is well-suited to towing, as well.

Depreciation is fairly depressing on any SsangYong, buoyed only by the cars' rarity, but the running costs on the Kyron are surprisingly low. The £20,000 starting price is respectable, and so is fuel economy. You also get plenty of equipment thrown in by SsangYong, clearly not averse to trying to sweeten the deal through mild bribery.

If you're looking for a decent-sized 4x4 and you're not averse to picking a less well-respected brand, then the Kyron isn't a bad option. It doesn't excel in any one area, but brings itself into contention through good value and sheer durability.

SsangYong Kyron Series 06 StatisticsCar Reviews

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