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  • Excellent value; generous space for all seven passengers; flexible seating; massive load space; decent diesel; improved styling
  • Size of storage spaces; seat comfort could be better; no airbags for rear passengers; cumbersome handling; speedo positioning; cost-cutting signs in interior

OUR RATING
6 / 10



2013 Ssangyong Stavic Review
2013 Ssangyong Stavic Review
2013 Ssangyong Stavic Review

If you ever managed a glance at the first-generation Ssangyong Stavic you’ll know why the people-mover was widely mocked for its styling.

It didn’t much matter which end you were looking at, the Stavic’s hunched design made it about as appealing to the eye as a pair of orthopaedic loafers.

It seems incredible the original Ssangyong Stavic was designed by Ken Greenley, the former head of the automotive design course at the Royal College of Art in London in a bid to “capture the essence of a luxury yacht”.

In the end the Stavic’s only saving grace was an effective drivetrain (derived from Mercedes-Benz) along with its acres of cabin space and generous standard equipment.

However, most private buyers just couldn’t get past its looks – effectively relegating the Ssangyong Stavic to a life serving hotel chains and specialised taxi fleets.

Fortunately, the new version represents a decent departure from the old.

What Ssangyong offers now may still be considered a brutish and lumbering design (it’s huge at 5.2 metres long), but the restyle has given the Stavic sharper bone structure and an improved visage up front.

The interior has had a major makeover, too, with a noticeable lift in fit and finish and even more equipment than that included on its already generous predecessor.

2013 Ssangyong Stavic Review
2013 Ssangyong Stavic Review
2013 Ssangyong Stavic Review
2013 Ssangyong Stavic Review

Standard are dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, power-fold heated side mirrors, privacy glass for rear windows, automatic headlights, remote keyless entry, cruise control, steering wheel-mounted controls for the audio system, Bluetooth phone and music streaming, front fog lamps and 16-inch alloy wheels. The steering wheels adjusts for height only, though.

There’s no doubt the Stavic offers a fine price and equipment ratio.

Building on its previously established ‘less equals more’ formula, the $29,990 (drive-away) second-generation model undercuts similar-size rivals by some considerable margins.

Hyundai’s $39,990 iMax diesel, Kia’s $44,990 Grand Carnival and Toyota’s 2.4L petrol Tarago from $48,990 all look like relatively pricey propositions next to the Ssangyong.

Only the Fiat Freemont crossover is cheaper at $28,500 drive-away, but at 4.9 metres it’s smaller and is limited by the fact it’s only available as a petrol model for under the $30K mark.

A ‘luxury’ version will join the Ssangyong Stavic range in the second half of 2013 and will be priced from $34,990, adding full leather trim, 17-inch wheels, electric driver’s seat, rain-sensing wipers, roof racks, headlamp levelling and a rear fog light.

All this kit is within easy reach, except for the centrally positioned instrument cluster that can be difficult to read and far from ideal in speed-camera-heavy Australia.

2013 Ssangyong Stavic Review
2013 Ssangyong Stavic Review
2013 Ssangyong Stavic Review
2013 Ssangyong Stavic Review

Where the Stavic shines is in the vast amount of cabin and luggage volume it offers. Even with the third-row of seats in place, there’s sufficient space for an entire week’s grocery shopping. If you need more, fold the seatbacks or simply remove the entire bench.

It’s all very flexible, with those individual second-row buckets easily reversed as ‘conversation’ seats. The middle and second rows also slide along long runners, which allow for a host of different seating arrangements.

All seven seats are adult-friendly thanks to their giant-size leg and headroom, though flat cushions in the middle and rear rows results in a lack of under-thigh support.

Older and less agile folks will find the Stavic particularly easy to access, with large doors that open wide, and a relatively low floor height.

Storage could be better, though. Cupholders throughout the cabin are on the small side, the glovebox is relatively tiny, and door pockets are narrow and awkward.

Interior materials and non-damped grab handles are also signs that Ssangyong has stuck to a fixed budget.

Under the bonnet, the latest-generation Stavic swaps the previous 121kW/340Nm 2.7-litre turbo diesel for a smaller, more efficient 2.0-litre unit that makes 115kW of power and 360Nm of torque.

Peak torque stretches from 1500-2800rpm, and while the engine far from disguises the Stavic’s two-tonne kerb weight there’s sufficient pull to ensure steep inclines are easily addressed even with a family of five on board.

2013 Ssangyong Stavic Review
2013 Ssangyong Stavic Review
2013 Ssangyong Stavic Review
2013 Ssangyong Stavic Review

Diesel clatter is also quite muted from inside the cabin on light throttle applications, though ask for urgent acceleration and the five-speed auto can be slow to upshift. The engine rattle is also less than pleasing.

Along with the downsizing comes greater efficiency and improved emissions with the Stavic’s delivering delivering a highly commendable real world consumption of 8.0L/100km during our mostly urban-kilometre test period – against an official combined figure of 7.8L/100km.

Ride comfort is acceptable, though the suspension is generally lumpy and the Stavic’s dash and steering wheel shudder when sharper edges are encountered.

There’s a fair bit of body roll in corners, even if you’re not driving that quickly, and slow steering makes the Stavic feel particularly cumbersome around town. If you want a people-mover that drives like a car, however, your only choice in the segment is the Honda Odyssey that also seats seven but isn’t as spacious.

ANCAP is yet to determine a safety rating, and although the Ssangyong Stavic is equipped with standard stability control, it falls short for the passive safety equipment required in the independent crash tests.

The Stavic gets only four airbags, dual front and dual side, but no curtain airbags to extend side and head protection beyond the front seats to help protect rear passengers.

2013 Ssangyong Stavic Review
2013 Ssangyong Stavic Review

It’s also worth noting that there are only two ISOFIX anchor points for the three-seat rear bench, although the Stavic at least gets proper lap-sash seatbelts for all occupants.

Some safety and design oversights are a shame because as a seven-seater with a hugely spacious and flexible cabin, a cheap price tag, and a torquey and efficient engine, the new Ssangyong Stavic is otherwise a decently pragmatic offering in the people-mover segment.


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SSANGYONG STAVIC BREAKDOWN

2013 Ssangyong Stavic Review
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Ssangyong Stavic Specs

2.7 Xdi : A100 08 UPGRADE : 2.7L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ - 5 SP AUTOMATIC - DIESEL - 4D WAGON
Car Details
Make
SSANGYONG
Model
STAVIC
Variant
2.7 Xdi
Series
A100 08 UPGRADE
Year
2013
Body Type
4D WAGON
Seats
7
Pricing
New Price
N/A
Private Sale
$20,570 - $23,380
Dealer Retail
$21,920 - $26,070
Dealer Trade
$16,200 - $18,700
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
DIESEL TURBO F/INJ
Engine Size
2.7L
Cylinders
DIESEL TURBO 5
Max. Torque
340Nm @  1800rpm
Max. Power
121kW @  4000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
59.5W/kg
Bore & Stroke
86.2x92.4mm
Compression Ratio
18.0
Valve Gear
DUAL OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
5 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
REAR WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
0
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
DIESEL
Fuel Tank Capacity
0Litres
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
8.7L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
2034
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1820mm
Length
5220mm
Width
1915mm
Ground Clearance
182mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:2500  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
0
Front Rim Size
6.5x16
Rear Rim Size
6.5x16
Front Tyres
225/65 R16
Rear Tyres
225/65 R16
Wheel Base
3000
Front Track
1590
Rear Track
1580
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Front Suspension
Double wishbone, Coil Spring, Gas damper
Rear Suspension
Multi-link system, Gas damper, Coil Spring
Standard Features
Comfort
Automatic Air Con / Climate Control, Power front seat Driver
Control & Handling
16 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program
Driver
Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Parking Distance Control, Power Steering
Entertainment
Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors, Roof Racks, Rear Spoiler
Interior
Power Windows
Safety
Dual Front Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  20,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Pass Side Front Floor
Country of Origin
Korea