THERE are some cars that you just don’t notice that much.
We all want to drive something attractive, something desirable, but on occasion the most useful and practical vehicles live their lives under the radar until you get a chance to experience them for yourself.
For me, one such vehicle came in the shape of the SsangYong Rodius.
SsangYong is one of the more recent additions to the Irish market, and they seem to have a reputation for making robust, commercial vehicles – but the truth is far more interesting than that.
Simply put, the Rodius is a seven-seater with a person and load carrying capacity that is unlike anything else you are likely to find.
To put it in a little perspective, the Rodius is available as an 11-seater in certain Asian territories – it’s surprising you are allowed to drive this thing without a HGV licence.
When it comes to my family holidays, I am usually left with a regular sized saloon and a pile of equipment to pack that includes – but not limited to – bags of wetsuits, lifejackets, scooters, helmets, horse riding gear, a kayak, a windsurfer, a toolbox, a camera bag, laptop case, the contents of the fridge and/or pantry, and usually a few cases of beer and/or wine.
Usually I don’t get everything in – but this time it was different. The windsurfer was able to fit right into the car – so no roofrack or whistling wind noises for five hours on the road to Cork.
And not only was I able to get most of the contents of my home into this behemoth of a vehicle… I was even able to pick up a passenger and his baggage on the way.
Don’t get me wrong, raw space isn’t everything, but SsangYong have given Rodius owners some serious flexibility in terms of seating arrangements. All the rear seats live on rails that allow them a great deal of forward and backward movement. With a little fiddling, the two rear sets of seats can be set to face each other for a more sociable passenger experience.
My only real quibble was that seat backs couldn’t be folded forward – which made it more awkward getting in and out of the back.
All this room is incredibly useful, but for moving people around, climate is an important factor.
Not only is this a car with very flexible and comfortable seating, the environmental controls are well designed to keep people in different zones as comfortable as possible.
I’m a big believer in the old adage that you can live without the necessities as long as you have the luxuries… and the Rodius has pretty much all the luxuries you need.
We already know that the seating and climate are all well taken care of – but the equipment level here leaves nothing to chance.
The outside rear view mirrors are heated and they fold away, the front seats are heated, there are rear parking sensors (essential in something this size), and the doors can be opened when the keys are in your pocket.
The price is €39,995, and for a car that can carry 3,146 litres of load space with two adults up front – there’s a lot of car for your money.