On the Road: The new KGM Torres
On the Road: The new KGM Torres

Ian Lamming reveals all about the first of a new brand of vehicle

THERE’S a man examining the test car looking as impressed as he is bemused.

He’s just stepped out of a top end Volvo SUV and obviously likes his cars. He walks to the front, then the side, then the back, looking for badges to give him a clue, before peering through the glass to the interior.

As he discusses the mystery vehicle with his wife he has no inkling of what it actually is. But it has caught his eye.

It’s not surprising, really, as he won’t have seen the badge or the model before even though the manufacturer has been knocking out very capable SUVs and pick-ups for the past 70 years.

That’s because until recently the car would have carried a SsangYong moniker which this year switched to KGM. As for the car? That’s brand new too – the Torres.

Torres draws inspiration from the stunning landscapes of Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, apparently, and as the curious passer-by would confirm it really does stand out.

It comes in two forms, with a sprightly turbocharged petrol engine or fully electric motor and you can tell at a glance which is which.

The petrol powered looks very Jeep-esque with its slotted grille, albeit much more contemporary.

EVX is more streamlined as it doesn’t need the vents for cooling. They both look great and would set off any self-respecting driveway. EVX gets bigger alloys, 20in compared to 18in, which actually seems to firm up the ride. I’d take either and I love the overall aesthetic and proportions, especially the rear door which flares around the handle.

Inside, both share a contemporary hi-tech feel with a veritable wide screen TV set for displays. It is a techie’s dream but still easy to use for us Luddites.

The Torres is also exceptionally roomy and accommodating with a massive boot making it remarkably practical for the needs of clutter carrying modern day families. Both are very well equipped too in terms of infotainment and safety features.

Built on an entirely new platform, both Torres provide an excellent driving experience. In terms of ride, steering, handling and grip they both excel.

The 1.5 litre direct injection petrol is turbocharged, producing a healthy 163PS of smooth power. From rest it runs away with you but you soon adjust to its hair-trigger throttle. There is bags of clout for cruising, hill climbing and overtakes and economy is reasonable nestling somewhere in the 30s for miles per gallon.

The EVX impresses too. It is a couple of seconds quicker in the sprint times and has that lovely, lusty, EV mid-range for rapid and safe overtakes. The distance-to-flat readout is pretty accurate and if you drive with a light throttle you can get close to 300 miles out of a 100 per cent charge. It takes power well from the mains too if you want to top up the BYD battery from a three pin socket.

Regenerative brakes offer the ‘one-pedal’ driving experience so you seldom have to use the brake pedal, just lift off the throttle and it slows. It’s amazing how much juice it puts back into the battery too so it’s a technique well worth perfecting.

Speaking of batteries, the warranty extends to ten years and 1,000,000km, which is 625,000 mile in old money, and can’t fail to boost residual values, I’m sure.

I’ve always been impressed with the whole SsangYong range and the name change will do a great deal to promote the brand. As for Torres, the biggest problem will be choosing which model to go for as both really are outstanding vehicles and keenly priced. No wonder they are attracting the attention of the driving general public.


KGM Torres/Torres EVX

Engine: 1.5 litre turbo petrol/73.4kW

Power: 163/207 PS

Max Speed: 118/109mph

0-62mph: 10.8/8.1 seconds

Transmission: six speed automatic

MPG/EV range: 30.0/299 miles

CO2 g/km: 194/0

Price: from £35,080.00/£44,495.00