Blog: Dave LeggettSsangYong Rodius unveiling

Dave Leggett | 20 May 2005

It was a slightly surreal unveiling of the SsangYong Rodius MPV to UK journalists in a BBC studio yesterday. The curtain went up, flashing lights, dry ice, 'Simply the Best' belted out in person by Tina Turner* and there they were – two Rodius MPVs, staring at us, like a couple of well trained and benign hippos. And the styling really does hit you straight away, like a slap on the face. The audacity of it!

Designer Ken Greenley made a pretty good fist of justifying the appearance (I got the feeling he’s not a big fan of the Rodius name though) and in the flesh it ain’t as bad as the pictures might suggest. But it really is very, very big. Cavernous inside - you get a lot of metal for your money and people tell me that it drives really rather well, helped by the Mercedes influence.

Seems a pity that the 11-seater configuration isn’t going to be offered in Britain though (at eleven seats we're into minibus regulatory territory). What a USP! Even if you need a special driving licence there might well be some takers and you could have some real fun with the advertising (‘Rodius: it takes the whole football team!’).

One interesting aspect in the design is that some features (headlamps, rear lights, grille) have been intentionally made bigger than they actually need to be, so that the vehicle's proportions are not immediately obvious. It’s only when you get close, or, I suspect, see it next to other vehicles, that its sheer vastness hits you.

I can’t help admiring Greenley’s brave approach though. At least SsangYong is being different. I expect Rodius will sell chiefly on price and size and gain a loyal following, but opinion will ultimately be polarised on those controversial looks. Like marmite, you love it or you hate it.

Anyway, I have knocked up a news item (below link).

*Actually, no, she wasn't there. 

UK: SsangYong dares to be different as it charts growth course


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