Cruising the Catlins
It may look strange, but the Stavic was perfect for chasing the Catlins Coast Rally
A trip to the Catlins to film the very popular Catlins Coast rally was an ideal opportunity to drive the SsangYong Stavic for a few days.
When we picked up the Stavic from Gilmours in Dunedin, one of the lads on the yard asked if we wanted to borrow a hat and sunnies, just in case we were recognised.
When you’ve got an unfamiliar name and a slightly peculiar look you can easily become the butt of many a harsh jibe. In some markets the Stavic is a Rodius, it’s hard to see much of an advantage in either name.
On the drive south to Balclutha, the Stavic proved quiet and comfortable on the open road. The Stavic has leather seats throughout, and the driver and front passenger’s seats are very good, with a wide range of adjustments available. There is an excellent climate air system with separate heating controls for the rear. The dash was easy to read and there was the usual ample supply of cup holders. It must be a vital part of the people-mover design school that you get extra points for extra cup holders.
Here are two interesting little features that I found on the Stavic. The windscreen washer outlets are mounted on the wiper blades – I don’t know why more vehicle manufacturers haven’t done the same thing, the effect is just fantastic. The jets that disburse the washing liquid travel across the windscreen with the wipers, it’s brilliant. A little disappointing for those us of who like to play splash the cyclist, but for a clean windscreen it is a great idea. The other interesting feature is the storage container between the front seats. It is so big that it comes with a folding handle and wheels, it’s a mini chilly bin.
The Stavic is powered by the same five-cylinder Mercedes-based turbo diesel that powers the SsangYong Rexton. It also shares its five-speed auto transmission with the Rexton. Although Stavic is a little bigger and heavier than the Rexton, there is no lack of power.
Stavic is also available petrol-powered using the well-proven Mercedes 3.2-litre six-cylinder engine, but after driving the diesel it is hard to see why you would opt for petrol.
The Stavic is available with a number of seating options. You could remove the rear row of seats and have a four-seater station wagon with a boot so big that would put the Falcon and Commodore wagons to shame. In New Zealand, Stavic is available with either seven- or nine-seater options. Our version of the Stavic was a two + two + three seat configuration. We folded the third row of seats out of the way to leave a boot large enough to swallow all our equipment and an ample Southland lunch.
To get a truly independent view of the Stavic we did the toughest meanest test you could do to a slightly strange looking car with a strange name. We handed the keys to a couple of local Southland lads and popped ourselves into the back seat.
It is an interesting concept doing a car review from the back seat and after listening to a few minutes of "don’t go through town mate we might be seen" we started to get a few "hey this isn’t too bad" remarks.
After several hundred k’s they were converted. A few hours later and they were even sticking up for the Stavic in the bar.
The purpose of the trip was to allow us to trace the route of the Catlin’s Rally so that we could pick the best filming positions and at the same time view some of the best Catlin’s scenery. We covered several hundred kilometres on some of the best metal roads you’ll find anywhere and the Stavic just ate up the distance. The 4WD system helps keep the big Stavic stable on the metal roads. From the comfort of the back seat I had a great view, the leather seats were very comfortable and there is generous legroom. Having our own fan and heat controls was another bonus, and the middle row of seats are able to swivel through 180 degrees. Then you can fold back the top of the centre consol and use it as a tabletop. In this mode you can have a picnic at the beach without getting sand in you sandwiches or having to get granny out of the car. The rear seats that swivel also have two sets of seatbelt anchor points. When you turn the seats the seatbelt anchor point has moved to the other side, it’s a clever piece of cunning engineering.
Engine: 2.7ltr turbo diesel.
121kw at 4000rpm
Towing: 2500kg braked/500kg unbraked
Max speed: 174kph
Fuel consumption: 8.6l/100km
Who is the Stavic’s likely market?
It would be ideal for the luxury lodge owner with guests they need to carry about in comfort. It is also going to suit anyone who needs a large comfortable 4WD family wagon. It would make a fantastic taxi.
Overall impression, it pays to look beyond the name. Stavic is a versatile comfortable wagon. The standard of finish is excellent and value for money is outstanding.
Stavic is available as either petrol or diesel, with 2WD or 4WD and with two standards of trim.