Text and photos by Chris Van Hoven
Ssangyong’s Rodius is a bit of an oddity. It’s a mix of old-style sensibilities and modern technology, and people can’t seem to make up their minds on whether to call it an SUV, van or MPV. While its identity is up in the air, what it offers is loud and clear: a well-appointed, comfortable ride for the entire family. Let’s take a look at why this underrated beast of a family car deserves a look.
The Road Zeus
The name Rodius is taken from the combination of “Road” and “Zeus”. It’s an intriguing choice for a name, but completely appropriate for its presence on the road. The Rodiusis undoubtedly large, and takes up a significant part of the road. Despite this, it manages to keep its proportions well-balanced.
Its wide, square headlights, trapezoid grille and clamshell hood complement the heft given by its beefy side panels and wheel arches. The D-pillars at the rear evoke past iterations of the Toyota Fortuner, leading to rear tail lights that wrap around the hefty tailgate. It might not be the sleek, svelte profile we’re used to seeing in more of today’s cars, but it’s certainly inoffensive, maybe even gaining a few points for itsmore traditional SUV-like styling.
The SsangyongRodius offers an impressive amount of room for its passengers. Up front, the driver is treated to a wide, commanding view of the road thanks to the Rodius’ generous greenhouse. The instrument cluster is unusually situated at the center of the dash, with drive mode indicators and various other indicators situated in front of the driver. It takes a little getting used to, but we find it doesn’t really hamper the driving experience at all once you’ve accustomed yourself to the new orientation. In a way, this adds to a more cohesive look, as the center dash is where you’ll look for all your information, including the seven-inch Android-based touchscreen which controls audio and communication duties.
The seats are extremely supportive and comfortable up front and on the second and third rows as well. The second and third rows consist of independently sliding and reclining captain’s seats, allowing for extremely roomy configurations comparable to even Toyota’s Alphard. The fourth row, which provides the last three seats for a total of nine, isn’t as spacious, and is best suited for children or bags. Thankfully, the fourth row can be folded down or tumbled forward for more luggage room instead, while still seating six passengers in excellent comfort. It takes a while to cool the entire cabin on hot days, but given the expanse of the interior, this is understandable.
Ferrying nine passengers takes a lot of grunt. TheRodius’ 2.0 liter common-rail turbo diesel is up to the task however, outputting 155-hp and 360-Nm of torque, paired to a five-speed automatic which drives the rear wheels. The Rodius is never wanting for power or torque around the city or on highway stretches, and since it achieved top marks at the recently held DOE-Petron Eco run, it’s a thrifty engine as well.
The Rodius absorbs bumps and road irregularities with ease, and is as simple to drive around the city as your regular sedan. One would expect a floaty ride reminiscent of American minivans given its size, but the Rodius is actually quite stable on its feet. Its steering is light and nimble, returning good response to even slight inputs. Ssangyong has done an excellent job in making the Rodius feel smaller to drive than it really is, and that’s not a small achievement.
At P1,490,000, the SsangyongRodius presents an intriguing option to those looking at seven-seater MPVs or SUVs. You certainly get more metal for the money, with an unbeatable amount of space at this price range.
We’ve always said that more people need to give Ssangyong a closer look, as they’ve produced decent cars that are often overlooked by people unwilling to take a risk on an untested brand. Those willing to take a leap of faith will find that the SsangyongRodius checks all the right boxes for large families, with Ssangyong’sfive year or 100,000 kilometer warranty and free parts and labor on periodic maintenance for three years or 60,000 kilometers, sweetening the deal even further.