Clearing A Nasty Blockage

December 4th, 2011 by Tim Grimley

The computer clock is showing 22:32; an hour and twenty-eight minutes remain before my – admittedly largely self imposed – deadline of midnight ticks around to complete my weekly insight into the motoring world and I am suffering from the worst case of writer’s block known to man.

For the uninitiated, writer’s block is a terrible and debilitating condition where an otherwise immensely talented wordsmith is deprived of sufficient inspiration to produce a work worthy of their genius. This is a huge perk of being a writer, as someone suffering from a similar lack of impetus in any other career is simply having an off day or is just not very good at their job.

It's not life and death......

The other thing is, as a writer it really doesn’t matter very much either. Of course my ego loves to think that if I provide a particularly pleasing literary perambulation through the automotive world that it will bring joy to the days of all who read it; but should I fail to meet a certain level of expectation then the consequences are not likely to be ones of life and death. While it is now 22:50 and I’m seriously beginning to wonder how this will ever turn into an amusing motoring anecdote, I understand that my situation is a trivial one compared to that of a cardiac surgeon who has suddenly had a mental block as to exactly which tube is the aorta.

But even this only has the scope for limited damage; albeit significant to those directly involved. There are jobs out there that have the potential to leave a scar on the whole of society should someone find themselves a little bereft of spark.

Unfortunately my daily commute now involves the Victoria Park Tunnel and its queue of every idiot in Auckland who cannot grasp that driving at above 30kph in a subterranean environment will not invoke the wrath of God. This meant that in three solid lanes of traffic today I was completely unable to escape the Ssangyong Stavic that some rotten soul was having the effrontery to drive in my vicinity.

There are many deeply, offensively ugly cars in this world – the WiLL Vi springs instantly to mind – but not many of them are as large as the Stavic. And when the designer appears to have been lacking in enough motivation to bother finding out if final brief was to produce a car, fridge or bus shelter, being conspicuous by your enormity is not a good thing.'s far more important than that.

As people we place a lot of value on cars. Yes, they are only a mechanical entity, but they have the power to inspire, motivate and elate; they provide us with personal freedom and a way of expressing ourselves. And while this manifests itself in varying degrees of enthusiasm, it takes a special breed of person not to crack a smile and sneak a cheeky sideways look as a Ferrari barrels by.

Yet with what could easily be called ‘designer’s block’, a car can be produced that turns your stomach rather than your head. And thanks to the irritating advances made in corrosion resistance, one mans bad day could be a lingering blight on the aesthetics of the world for decades to come.

Although on the plus side, it does make you angry enough for a really good rant, meaning that at 23:57 – unlike the Victoria Park Tunnel – my blockage seems to have cleared.

Ssangyong Korando SPR 2011 Review

October 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Things haven’t always gone to plan for the Ssangyong Motor Company. Even with a name that means double dragons in Korean, Ssangyong has struggled to generate any real firepower in the motoring world. Rioting, receivership and changing ownership have all held back Korea’s fourth largest carmaker, but now in the hands of Indian firm Mahindra things are on the up. Ssangyong appears more determined than ever to advance its status from a fringe player into a serious brand capable of stealing sales off more established Korean and Japanese competitors. It’s working too with Ssangyong reporting a 53% increase in global sales for the first half of 2011. An important instrument in this turn around has been the 2011 Korando small SUV, which has become a fixture on NZ streets. Car and SUV spent a week with the latest Korando to see exactly what this comeback kid is made of.

Ssangyong styling has at times been accused of being erratic with awkward proportions but the new Korando opts for a more conservative approach. This doesn’t mean its boring and being penned by car design legend Giorgetto Giugiaro there’s plenty to draw the eye. The Korando face is particularly purposeful with its low-placed mesh grille and large, wrap around headlights. There’s a character-lined bonnet and a raked back windscreen, which gives the Korando a sporty stance. Pushed out wheel arches and hardened black plastic cladding add familiar crossover touches along the flanks and at the rear, a subtle hatch spoiler and chrome trim feature. Continue reading “Ssangyong Korando SPR 2011 Review” »

SsangYong SUT-1 revealed at Frankfurt show

September 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Korean carmaker SsangYong continues to make a play at the ute market with its latest budget-focused offering. First a concept version of SsanYong’s SUT-1 was shown at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, now the production version has debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The SUT-1 quad-cab pickup truck will enter the market as a replacement for the Actyon Sports model. SsangYong refers to the SUT-1 as a Sports Utility Truck, hence the SUT name.

There’s a new engine under the bonnet in the form of a Euro 5-compliant 2.0 litre diesel motor producing 114kW and 360Nm of torque. Max torque available between 1500 and 2800rpm. Available in rear or four-wheel-drive, the SUT-1 is being built with both a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel consumption figures haven’t been released yet.

A body-on-frame truck the SUT-1 uses a double-wishbone suspension up front and a five-link set up at the rear. There’s four-wheel disc brakes and either 16- or 18-inch alloy wheels. Kerb weight will come in at between 1873kg and 1995kg. Continue reading “SsangYong SUT-1 revealed at Frankfurt show” »

Ssangyong partially reveals XIV-1 concept

September 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

After various teaser renderings SsangYong has released two new images of its new XIV-1 concept car before its official debut at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.

The South Korean carmaker is now part of India’s Mahindra Group and is pushing the XIV-1 as a “premium crossover utility vehicle (CUV)” designed for global sales. The name is derived from the phrase ‘eXciting user Interface Vehicle’, and highlights the show car’s focus on interaction with the driver and passengers.

The latest renderings reveal that plenty of design cues have been borrowed off Land Rover’s latest offerings and the XIV-1 sports pillarless doors and a full-length glass roof. Continue reading “Ssangyong partially reveals XIV-1 concept” »

SsangYong gains foothold in NZ market with sales increase

August 9th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

SsangYong Motor Company has increased its global sales by 53% for the first half of 2011 compared with the same period last year. The Korean carmaker sold a total of 55,873 vehicles in the period and is looking to build on the positive result.

SsangYong had its biggest manufacturing quarter in the second quarter of 2011, a growth of 45% over the corresponding period in 2010 and the highest quarterly sales volume achieved since the third quarter of 2007.  This coincides with SsangYong NZ’s biggest month ever for sales in June 2011 with nearly 70 vehicles sold nationwide.

SsangYong NZ General Manager Deon Cooper says this is a great sign for the SsangYong Brand globally.  “It demonstrates that SsangYong is moving ahead successfully under its new ownership and it means SsangYong NZ can get on with our plan of providing quality and affordable SUV’s and Utes to New Zealanders.”  Continue reading “SsangYong gains foothold in NZ market with sales increase” »

Ssangyong unveils new greener engines for NZ vehicles

March 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

SsangYong has unveiled a new environmentally friendly series of engines for New Zealand with greater fuel efficiency and a significant reduction in CO2 emissions, including a new hybrid model.

General Manager of SsangYong NZ Deon Cooper says SsangYong is gearing up for the future of the motoring industry.  “The SsangYong engine division in Korea has recognised the need and is focussed on the development of fuel efficient engines. “

The new eco engines have been designed for either transverse (front wheel drive unibody) or longitudinal (rear wheel drive) applications.

“We already have one of these eco diesel engines in the new Korando which uses only 5.5 litres per 100km.  With the significant rise in the price of petrol in New Zealand recently, this option is becoming particularly attractive for motorists.”

The three new SsangYong diesel engines meet Euro 5 and Euro 6 emission standards and can be can be used in SUV’s and premium passenger cars, as well as hybrid models.

The 2.0 litre Active Diesel engine has been developed to increase torque at low–mid engine speeds rather than focussing exclusively on high power. Torque has been improved by 20% while a wide, flat torque curve ensures quick responses in all conditions. Continue reading “Ssangyong unveils new greener engines for NZ vehicles” »

Ssangyong Actyon SUT 1 concept is Korea’s latest ute

February 9th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

With the recent success of Kia and Hyundai it’s all too easy to assume that they are the only Korean carmakers out there. But it’s not that simple with Ssangyong now making a play for some of the action.

To show what they can do Ssangyong has just revealed the first sketches of its upcoming concept vehicle set for a Geneva Motor Show debut. Named the SUT 1 this Korean ute is a concept in name only and is set to go on sale in international markets from early next year. With Ssangyong dealerships reopening in NZ we may see it here in 2012.

If it comes to NZ, it could be available with manual or automatic transmissions, in either two- or four-wheel drive, mated to a 2.0-litre diesel engine that produces with 114kW of power and 360Nm available. Maximum torque will be available from just1,500rpm. Continue reading “Ssangyong Actyon SUT 1 concept is Korea’s latest ute” »

Ssangyong bringing Korando SUV to NZ market

January 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Great Lake Motor Distributors (GLMD), distributors of Ssangyong motor vehicles in New Zealand has just announced the upcoming launch of the ground breaking new model Korando onto the New Zealand market from February this year.

Apparently the Korando will be the most powerful SUV sold in NZ under $40,000 and will come standard with a new Euro 5 compliant diesel engine with 129Kw of power and 360 Nm of torque.

All models will come with the expected level of safety equipment and a 2000kg (braked) tow capacity. GLMD confirm that recommended retail prices will start from $34,990 + ORC for the Korando 4×2 6 speed manual, Korando 4×2 6 speed automatic will be $38,990 + ORC.

Two 4×4 models will be introduced, the Korando Sport 6 speed automatic will be $42,990 + ORC and the top-spec Korando SPR (short for SUPER) 6 speed automatic will complete the line up at $47,990 + ORC.

Mr Rick Cooper chairman of GLMD stated that it’s very exciting to be able to launch a high quality model like the Korando diesel with game changing specifications, performance and quality into the volume sub $40,000 price bracket.

The 4×2 SUV market segment is now one of the fastest growing market segments in Australia and New Zealand, with many private and company buyers looking for affordable lifestyle vehicles to replace previously popular larger petrol vehicles.

Mr Cooper said that it will very difficult for buyers and competitors to ignore the stylish new Korando designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital design.

The Korando will expand the Ssangyong range available in New Zealand, which currently includes Rexton, Kyron, Stavic and Actyon Sports.

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