--- Ssangyong

 

Actyon

 
Actyon Sports
 
Rexton
 
Rexton II
 
Kyron
 
Kyron II
 
Rodius
 

26 2006
4x4 of the year 2007
 

HYUNDAI TUCSON
£15,395 - £19,145
 
PERFORMANCE
 
Engine cc/bhp 1975cc/140bhp; 1991ccTD/111bhp; 2656cc/173bhp
Transmission 5-spd manual; perm. 4WD
 
RATINGS/10
Comfort6
Refinement5
Off-road2
Value 5
Style 4
TOTAL/50 22
 
 
We like:
Eye-catching instrument pack; simple seat-fold.
 
We dislike:
Heavy real styling; uninspired interior.
 
Summary:
Competent family car but the anonymous styling makes it hard to pick out in a crowd.
 
You won't be thinking of tackling any steep mountain trails in this chunky Korean. It has a perfectly good four-wheel drive system but it's very much a road car. There's an element of off-road style in the high stance, bulging wheelarches, heavy side cladding and roof rails, but they're little more than apologetic hints. It's a pleasant car - reflecting the genuine improvement in quality and engineering refinement coming out of Korea - and it's easy to drive, though the power steering feels a little lifeless. The cabin is spacious, with particularly good legroom for back seat passengers and an arrangement that allows the rear seats to fold down without having to remove the head restraints. The range is limited, but equipment is excellent in the top-specification CDX variants. The rumbly turbodiesel promises 39mpg fuel consumption, but the 2.7-litre V6 is considerably more interesting to drive.
 
 
 
 
 
SUZUKI GRAND VITARA
£12,849 - £16,999

PERFORMANCE

Engine cc/bhp 158cc/107bhp; 1995cc/135bhp; 1870TD/129bhp
Transmission 5-spd manual/4-spd auto; permanent 4WD

RATINGS/10
Comfort5
Refinement4
Off-road 5
Value 6
Style 4
TOTAL/50 24
 
 
 
We like:
Reclining rear seats; side and curtain airbags.

We dislike:
Noisy engine: firm suspension.

Summary:
An improvement over the previous generation but the Grand Vitara is too conservative to excite.
 
TheGrand Vitara has come a long way from its funster origins. With the passing years it has offered more comfort and practicality but also yielded to a conservatism that leaves it feeling like a very boring alternative to the many sharp-suited rivals packing into this key sector of the four-wheel drive arena. The Suzuki is quite capable off-road, four-wheel drive being permanently engaged and including low-range gearing at the turn of a dash-mounted switch.
The overhangs at the front and rear are impressively short, but the unadventurous styling leaves us cold. As a road car the Suzuki is little more than adequate, the steering is vague and the ride quality a little overfirm in spite of the all-independent suspension. Engines are a weak point, the 135bhp petrol unit needs to be revved noisily to deliver useful power; the 129bhp turbodiesel is more relaxed due to its extra torque, but it's also uninspiringly slow.
 
 
 
 
JEEP CHEROKEE
£18,205 - £23,490

PERFORMANCE

Engine cc/bhp 2776cc/161bhp; 3700ccTD/301bhp;
Transmission 6-spd man. 6-spd auto: 4WD

RATINGS/10
Comfort 6
Refinement 5
Off-road 6
Value 5
Style 6
TOTAL/5028

 
 
We like:
One-hand rear seat fold; easy child-seat installation.
 
We dislike:
Awkward rear hatch; bland interior.

Summary:
Retro Jeep themes morphed into a modern city estate.
 
From the outside the compact Jeep has bags of off-road character, but this doesn't quite carry though to the interior design where there's little to excite or inspire a feeling of adventure. The dash, with its chrome-rimmed white instruments and bold centre console, adds interest, but elsewhere the interior is merely a reflection of any everyday American estate. There are well-thought-out elements, such as the one-handed rear seat fold, but the effect is rather spoiled by the awkward two-piece tailgate, the window glass opening upwards as the lower door panel swings to the side.
A single action sunices to open the rear, but it takes two moves, including a heavy shove on the high-rise glass panel, to close it again. The Cherokee has decent off-road ability, despite lacking low-range gearing - its main disadvantage being low ground clearance under the independent front suspension members.
 
 
 
 
 
HONDA CR-V
£17,400 - £23,000

PERFORMANCE

Engine cc/bhp 1998/150bhp; 2204/140bhp
Transmission 5-spd man/auto.auto: 4WD

RATINGS/10
Comfort 6
Refinement 5
Off-road 2
Value 8
Style4
TOTAL/50 25


We like:
Light controls: torquey turbodiesel; fold-up picnic tables.
 
We dislike:
Poor oddment stowage space; bland styling.
 
Summary:
Very refined and easy to drive, with a roomy cabin and fun outdoor-activity options.
 
On-road refinement has always been a key CR-V feature, with off-road character provided mainly by the inclusion of picnic tables, storage compartments for muddy boots and even a built-in shower to wash away the sweat of a hard morning's mountain biking. The auto-engaging four-wheel drive system is effective when the going gets slippery, but a lack of articulation and moderate ground clearance have always limited the Honda's ability to venture into rougher terrain.
The interior is roomy and well-appointed but bland, the car earning its popularity on the back of a reputation for reliability and good on-road handling with light, responsive controls. Best choice is the smooth-revving and punchy UObhp turbodiesel. It'salmost as pacy as the petrol version and offers 42mpg fuel consumption. This undoubtedly boosts the model's popularity, even if it does nothing to overcome the CR-Vs lack of off-road character.
 
 
 
 
TOYOTA RAV4
£19,040 - £27,015


PERFORMANCE

Engine cc/bhp 1998cc/150bhp; 2231ccTD/135bhp; 2231dcTD/175bhp
Transmission 5/6-speed manual or 4-speed auto; auto 4WD

RATINGS/10
Comfort5
Refinement6
Off-road 2
Value 8
Style6
TOTAL/50 27
 
 
We like:
Flash interim: styled spaie wheel cover; run-flat tyres.
 
We dislike:
Gimmicky cabin features: poor off-road credentials.

Summary:
Not just a better car than the previous RAV4. It's a technological tour-de-force - but its no off-roader.
 
If we were basing our evaluation purely on engineering excellence and technical wizardry the new RAVi would easily walk away with the big prize. The new car has modern styling and an interior designed to excite and packed with gadgetry. It also boasts a complex electronic four-wheel drive system that includes hill descent and hill start controls. Nine airbags are standard on all models and the range-topper is a powerful 175bhp turbodiesel that puts the super-compliant suspension to the test in the hands of any red-blooded hot-hatch enthusiast.
Equipment reaches full luxury specification on range-topping versions, with climate control, leather upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity and even keyless entry. However, the run-flat tyres are of a type that was never designed to handle rough trails. In short, it's a sophisticated boy-racer - but the RAV has lost the Recreational Activity Vehicle plot altogether.
 
 
 
 
NISSAN X-TRAIL
£19,600 - £23,000

PERFORMANCE

Engine cc/bhp 2488/165bhp; 2184TD/136bhp;
Transmission 6-spd manual/6-spd auto;selectable 4WD

RATINGS/10
Comfort 6
Refinement 5
Off-road4
Value6
Style 5
TOTAL/50 26
 
 
 
 
We like:
Dash-top phone cubby; sill-covering door design.
 
We dislike:
Lifeless steering; notchy gearchange.
 
Summary:
With more ground clearance and low-range gearing, this could be one of the recreational off-road greats.
 
Apart from its eye-catching front-end treatment and rear spoiler the Nissan looks just like any ordinary boxy estate car. This is a great pity, because the X-Trail has a lot going for it as an off-roader, albeit a gentle-trail one, since it lacks low-range gearing and doesn't have much articulation.
The design of the interior was led by thoughts of outdoors usage. The easy-clean hard plastic boot floor, durably extended by folding flat the rear seats, was shaped to hold mountain bikes and snowboards, and the doors overlap the sills so as to carry off-roading grime away from unsuspecting trouser legs when exiting the car after a romp in the mud. Apart from this, the dark cabin is well-screwed-together in typically Japanese fashion, but rather bland. The choice of engines for the X-Trail is simple but worthy. You can pick from a lively 2.5-litre 165bhp petrol four, or an efficient but unexciting 136bhp 2.2-litre diesel.
 
 
 
 
KIA SPORTAGE
£14,995 - £18,995

PERFORMANCE

Engine cc/bhp 1975cc/140bhp; 1991TD/130bhp; 2656cc/173bhp
Transmission 5-spd manual; auto 4WD

RATINGS/10
Comfort 6
Refinement 5
Off-road 2
Value 5
Style 5
TOTAL/50 23
 
 
 
We like:
Clever rear seat fold; youthful interior styling.
 
We dislike:
Dull performance; fiddly stereo controls.
 
Summary:
Good effort in terms of build quality and refinement but styling-wise its just another also-ran.
 
Pretty much anything we had to say about the Hyundai Tucson applies to the Sportage. which is based on the same chassis and drivetrain and has quite a few body panels in common. There's a bigger range of Sportage models, and we prefer the slightly brasher interior and marginally better view out through the rear quarters.
The interior still doesn't evoke any great feelings of outdoors adventure, but at least it isn't quite as bland as the Tucson's. One nice touch is the grab handle for the front seat passenger set into the dashboard, though we'd actually have preferred to see the space taken up by a more useful glovebox. The 2.0-litre CRDi engine is the pick of the bunch, with strong performance and 40mpg economy. As a family car the Sportage works well, with good rear legroom, an easy rear seat fold and a big boot that can be accessed through the useful split tailgate.
 
 
 
 
 
 
SSANGYONG KYRON
£17,995 - £22,495

PERFORMANCE
 
Engine cc/bhp 1998cc/141bhp
Transmission 5-spd manual/auto

RATINGS/10
Comfort 6
Refinement 5
Off-road6
Value 7
Style 5
TOTAL/50 29
 
We like:
Interesting interior styling; underfloor stowage in boot; twin overhead sunglasses holders.
 
We dislike:
Questionable rear-end styling, lifeless steering.
 
Summary:
The Kyron offers off-road character with city presence and good all-round family practicality.
 
Once thought of as simply a fringe player, SsangYong is making strides in terms of the styling and quality of its products. We laughed at the wacky Musso and Korando, but have to admit that the Kyron, though styled by the same British designer, looks much more palatable, with its wedgy, high-tailed shape and bright lozenge headlamps. The Kyron offers nothing new in terms of drivetrain - it has a simple selectable 4WD system and, unusually in this class of car, it includes low range gearing. The Kyron impressed us off-road, where we found good use for the Hill Descent Control system featured on the higher-spec SE and SX models. These also boast high-end features such as an electronic stability programme to limit wheelspin and rollover protection.
The Kyron is also a very practical family car with a roomy five-seater interior, plus curtain and side airbags on top models. Ride comfort on the all-coils suspension is not quite as refined as on leading European rivals, but is by no means uncomfortable, and though the steering is a little on the vague side, the Kyron's road behaviour is taut and stable Modern convenience features include rain-sensing wipers and air-con on all versions. The cabin boasts lots of rear legroom, a big boot and a simple and effective flat-floor seat fold arrangement. Only one engine is available - a modern 141bhp turbodiesel. Top versions can be specified with a state-of-the-art Mercedes 5-speed automatic with two reverse gears and adaptive shifting.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 


: 8 (495) 987-17-17
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