No sooner had the pixels cooled on yesterday's reveal of the SsangYong Korando facelift than the cybergarage began buzzing with news of another model from Korea's automotive oddball - the Turismo MPV, which is due to make its South African debut at the Johannesburg International Motor Show in October and will be available to order immediately thereafter.

At more than five metres long on a three-metre wheelbase, this seven-seater family bus is bigger than a Renault Grand Scenic, but SsangYong insists it's a car, not a van with seats like a Volkswagen Caravelle or Mercedes-Benz Viano.

Nevertheless, its cavernous interior can swallow anything from seven adults and 875 litres of luggage to two people and 3.146 litres of payload, with seven passenger and load combinations to choose from.

There are three rows of seats as well as a load space that can be extended by removing the third row, while the second row of seats provides convenient 'walk through' access to the third row, and can also be folded individually and used as tables.

MOTORVATION

The Turismo comes with a SsangYong-designed and developed two-litre turbodiesel rated for 115kW at 4000rpm and 360nm from 1500-2800rpm, driving the rear wheels through either an in-house six-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed T-Tronic automatic transmission sourced from Mercedes-Benz - except for the range-topping EX derivative, which has selectable 4x4 with low ratio as standard, giving it an impressive 2.5-tonne towing capability.

Suspension is by double wishbone in front, with an independent multi-link rear set-up that's tuned for a flat ride and optimum stability (this is, after all, a tall vehicle by passenger-car standards).

ALL MOD CONS

Standard kit includes air conditioning, electrically operated & heated door mirrors, a leather-covered steering wheel and gear knob, and an radio/CD/MP3 player both USB and auxiliary ports as well as d Bluetooth connectivity. ES middle and EX top models also come with leather upholstery, electrically adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats and rear parking sensors, while the EX boasts a heated lower windscreen to prevent the wipers from freezing, solar controlled glass and rain-sensitive wipers.

Cruise control is standard on the ES automatic and EX.

Active driver aids include an electronic stability program, active roll-over protection and brake assist, with dual front and side air bags as back-up.

BOTTOM LINE

But what is going to have Viano and Grand Scenic salesmen crying in their beer is that Turismo prices in the UK start from only £ 17 995 (R277 000). No decision has yet been made as to which variants will be released in South Africa, but insider gossip suggests there will probably be only one - in which case it is most likely to be the rear wheel-drive, manual-transmission ES, which retails in the UK at £19 995 (R308 000).