New Seven-Seater Diesel MPV From SsangYong.
Competitive Supreme Sdn Bhd, the importers and distributors for SsangYong, invited members of the Malaysian media to a preview of the new SsangYong Stavic at Port Dickson last weekend. After a technical briefing, the media went on a 180 kilometre test drive to get a taste of the uniquely shaped Stavic. The test route started from Port Dickson, and stopped by Nilai Springs Golf Resort for a break beforeheading back towards the Guoman Resort in Port Dickson via the twisty roads of Sepang/Tanah Merah.
Five units of ‘pre-production’ model Stavics (known as the Rodius in Korea) were imported by Competitive Supreme for this purpose; these same units will go on a roadshow around the country to introduce the new model to members of the public and also to potential customers after the media preview event. These five units are in left hand drive configuration; the right hand drive units will be produced in October, and the first shipments are expected to be in this country by the mid-October for delivery to customers.
In essence, the Ssangyong Stavic is built on the luxurious SsangYong Chairman platform, but with special reinforcements incorporated into the monococque chassis frame to make it suitable for use as an MPV. The Stavic features 4-wheel independent suspension; the front is fitted with a double wishbone setup while the rear suspension is a multi-link arrangement. According to Melvinder Singh, General Manager of Competitive Supreme, certain elements of the SsangYong Rexton have been incorporated into the Stavic to make it a tough machine.
What is impressive about the Stavic is its passenger carrying capacity. There are many options available for the seating arrangements; one can opt to have it built to take 7, 9 or 11 passengers. For the Malaysian model, Competitive Supreme have opted to limit it to 7 seats, as their dipstick surveys have indicated that the majority of local users prefer this arrangement. The upside is, you can carry seven in your Stavic, and all their luggage as well.
The inside of the Stavic is very well appointed; the seats are fully bound in leather, and plush carpets line the floor areas. Another thing we noted is the very high quality plastics used in the interior trim, and the superb fit and finish. Artificial wood grain panels add a touch of class to the trim. There are plenty of storage places for travel knick-knacks, and there are enough drink holders for every body. An electrically controlled sunroof that tilts as well as slides open is a definite selling point. To top it off, the second row of seats can swivel round to face rearwards, transforming the inside of the Stavic into a moving lounge. Any unused seats can also be folded down to become little dining or coffee tables.
The heart of the new SsangYong Stavic is the 270 Xdi common rail turbo engine that also powers the very popular Rexton RX270 Xdi, a luxurious SUV also sold by Competitive Supreme. Since it was launched earlier this year, the Rexton RX 270Xdi has enjoyed good sales to customers all over Malaysia. Delivering 168 ps of power, and maximum torque of 340 Nm, the 270 Xdi engine is a proven power plant that is powerful, yet economical. In the Stavic, one would typically see fuel costs of between 9 to 10 sen a kilometre. Mated to the engine is a 5-speed Mercedes Benz automatic transmission with T-Tronic (manual shift feature). Well-spaced gear ratios give the Stavic good initial take-off power and a good top speed of 195 kph (speed recorded in an unofficial test, downhill).
For the short test drive, each of the Stavics carried six journalists, and we took turns to drive the vehicle, navigating through the designated route using rally style tulips. On the highway sections, the Stavic was very comfortable. The suspension was firm, but not harsh, and the vehicle was very stable even at high speeds; one of the female journalists, taking her stint at the wheel, said, “At 140, it feels like nothing,” adding that the Stavic is very easy to drive.
After the drive, each journalist was asked to estimate what would be a fair price for the Stavic, and many put down a figure close to or over RM200k. At the debriefing session later in the evening, Melvinder stated that the retail price is yet to be fixed, but added that the target price is RM168k. He also added that there would be at least two trim levels to give customers a choice. Additional features that will be available are, a reversing camera, ESP (Electronic Stability Programme), and a DVD/VCD player. In response to a query by a member of the press, he also stated that a 4WD version is being developed, and we may be able to see that version on our roads by the middle of next year.