Do you have a large family that you need to ferry around? Are you concerned about high fuel consumption, i.e. high running costs? Are you concerned about power, top speed and acceleration? Look no further. Make a beeline for a SsangYong showroom, and...
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Do you have a large family that you need to ferry around? Are you concerned about high fuel consumption, i.e. high running costs? Are you concerned about power, top speed and acceleration? Look no further. Make a beeline for a SsangYong showroom, and check out the SsangYong Stavic, the mother of all MPVs.
For the power hungry, the Stavic presents an interesting proposition. Drive one, and its sheer size plus excellent stability gives the occupants a sense of security second to none, while its high seating and driving position allows the driver to see eyeball to eyeball with the mini truck drivers. Size actually does matter, and if you approach another car from the rear, there is a very strong chance that car will be more than willing to pull over to the left to let you pass. With the very powerful engine that also powers the Rexton RX270 CDI, the Stavic will hit 180 km/hr easily, and given time and a long enough straight road, it will lick the 195 km/hr mark on the speedometer.
The first of the right hand units are in the country, and they are going out as fast as they come into the showroom. We got hold of one, courtesy of Competitive Supreme Sdn Bhd, importers and distributors of the SsangYong brand here in Malaysia, and took it for a 1000 kilometre drive to Alor Setar and back
Children love the Stavic. My little Katheryna, 8 years old, stated matter-of-factly, “ When I grow up, I will buy a Stavic.” Quite and understandable statement, because she and her little sister were romping around in the back all the way back from Alor Setar, having ‘abandoned’ their parents Subaru Imprezza for the wide expanse of the Stavic.
What I particularly like about the Stavic is of course the fact that it runs on diesel. At 80+ sen a litre, it cost between 8 to 9 sen a kilometre for the trip. This included some very high speed cruising, at speeds up to 190+ km/hr, much to the surprise of a CLK 320 driver who had difficulty understanding how this very large MPV could keep up. He eventually got away, but in the meantime, a 520i decided to join in the fun, and this one couldn’t get away. One hundred ringgit of diesel was what it cost to for the trip, and this included some diversions in town. This is very economical, considering that this is a 7-seater that weighs in at 2240kg. Imagine what it would cost if it was petrol-driven. (An equivalent sized MPV would consume close to 300 ringgit of petrol over the same course).
The 2.7 litre, 5-cylinder common rail diesel turbo pulls strongly and effortlessly. Power is rated at 168ps at 4,000 rpm, and maximum torque of 340Nm peaks at 2400 rpm. The five-speed Mercedes Benz automatic gearbox has excellent ratios that transfer the power smoothly to the rear wheels. There is a ‘T’-Tronic’ manual shift option on the auto, but we found the automatic mode more than adequate. This is not a vehicle that you do jackrabbit take-offs with, but it will give a good account of itself, taking about 13 seconds to hit a hundred kilometers per hour. What is great about the Stavic is the mid-range pull, so important for overtaking.
The ride is very nice and comfortable, a little on the soft side for my driving style, but for the family man who is going to take his entire family, including his maid and in-laws perhaps, the Stavic is going to be a enjoyable vehicle to ride in. The suspension is independent all round with double-wishbones and coils in front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear, and if you took a look under the car, you will immediately see the Mercedes Benz DNA all over. Around corners it handles well, neutral throughout. You would be hard put to try to get the tail out under normal driving conditions; it got a little wet on the way up, but that did not affect the Stavic at all. Wheels are 16-inch alloys fitted with P225/65 R16 tyres.
With the total exterior length of 5220mm and a wheelbase of 3000mm the Stavic is a large vehicle by any standards. With an interior length of 3300mm, the Stavic has plenty of room for everybody, and is probably the roomiest MPV this side of the Pacific. In some countries, it is designed to seat 11 people. The ones imported into Malaysia are generally 7-seaters, but I have seen some that are configured for nine. For tall people, the Stavic is a ‘must consider’; the interior height of 1210mm will be really appreciated.
Priced at RM171, 445 on the road for the standard Stavic, comes with many goodies. ABS (Anti-lock Breaking System) airbags, and seat belt pretensioners are some of the standard safety features that come with the Stavic. It also comes with a fully automatic dual air conditioning system with climate control and an overhead console with a multi function computer. Options include a DVD player with the screen mounted on the ceiling for the rear passengers. Other features include an electrical adjustable door mirror that can be folded, a tilt and slide power sunroof and a rear spoiler with a high mounted third brake light.
There is also a Lux version of the Stavic that is priced at RM201,445 that has all the accessories the standard Stavic is offering and more. Accessories include Electronic Safety Program (ESP). The Lux version also comes with leather seats and electrically controlled driver seat, a front nudge bar and park assist with visual indicator. The Lux Stavic also comes with an SSangYong audiovisual package that consists of a DVD Player, a PAL TV tuner, and reverse camera.
In totality, the Stavic is a vehicle that makes sense. I always maintain that if you need a large vehicle to move people, diesel is the way to go. Under 10 sen a kilometre versus anything from 30 to 40 sen a kilometre; take your pick.