24 April 2024

2024 KGM Torres EVX

Kia Ora KGM, Hello Hallyu


The car maker formerly known as SsangYong has officially left the building.  

The Korean brand bounced around between different owners over the last decade, but due to financial difficulty it needed another lifeline. 

Enter KG Group: a giant Korean company with interests in steel and chemicals who have acquired the SsangYong brand as part of their new venture KG Mobility (KGM). 

KGM will retain some of the Ssangyong legacy nameplates such as Rexton and Korando and will also introduce a suite of freshly designed petrol and electric vehicles. The first of these, the KGM Torres, is a mid-sized SUV with various powertrain options that will be launched in New Zealand in the coming months. 

Expect to see Korean culture inspired advertising campaigns on your big and small screens as KGM wants to inject the vibe of K-Culture into our automotive landscape. What’s K-Culture you ask? Think, K-Pop music, Korean cuisine, popular Korean shows like Squid Game. There’s even a word for this, “Hallyu” which means “Korean Wave” – it captures the phenomenon of South Korean popular culture. 

How all this will resonate with Kiwis and translate to sales of KGM cars is anyone’s guess, but the folks running the show are optimistic that we will jump on their K-Wave bandwagon. They certainly have their work cut out. 2024 may go down in history as the year of a thousand car launches, as more new models and manufacturers come to our fair shores than ever before. 

Speaking of new models, the KGM Torres SUV will be sold in three formats: front wheel drive petrol at $49,990, AWD petrol at $54,990 (petrol versions available in May 2024) and a fully electric Torres EVX at $67,990 (less $1,000 for the first forty EVX retail buyers). The EVX is available to buy now, and we got to road test it over the Easter break. 

It’s fair to say that the design of previous SsangYong vehicles hasn’t always been on point. One commentator described the first-generation SsangYong Stavic as being so ugly it could scare small children. It’s ‘smiley face’ front grille and bulbous rear end was likened to a cross between a surprised hippopotamus and a squashed layer cake.  

Fortunately, KGM has eradicated any ungainly DNA from the Torres. This SUV looks the business. It’s a ruggedly composed, contemporary vehicle with strong lines and a great stance. The side profile is Land Rover-esqe with a chunky C pillar designed to accommodate future accessories like a storage box or ladder.   

If you think the six-dashed front LED daytime lights are a cool, wait until you press the unlock button on the key fob. Cue a mesmerising Vegas-style light show of strobing flashiness.  

The keen eye will also pick up hints of the Korean flag ‘trigrams’ around the exterior (that’s the four groups of bars, or sagwe around the flag’s central yin yang symbol). You can spot one on the front guard charger flap, with more hidden on the lower rear bumper.  

However, there’s a faux spare wheel bump on the rear tailgate which serves no purpose other than to fool neighbours into thinking you are a cool off-roader type. And the bonnet handles appear to be a bit of an afterthought; while they likely serve a purpose, we haven’t figured it out yet.  

Don’t be fooled by the mid-sized SUV label – the Torres could easily pass as a large SUV. It’s 4,700mm long and 1,720mm tall (96cm taller than the Model Y). Headroom and rear legroom comfortably accommodates stretched humans, and there’s storage galore – 800 litres in the boot to be exact.  

The interior is courageously minimalistic, with physical buttons relegated exclusively to the steering wheel. While this gives a visually clean appeal it reverts some driver functions to the dual 12.3” wraparound displays. To access front parking camera, climate controls and driving modes you will need to swipe through screen shortcuts. Bit of a pain, but it becomes intuitive after a few drives. 

The copper textured dash trim, piano black accents and ambient mood lighting evokes a progressive classiness that works a treat alongside a theme of sharp interior ergonomics. Apple Car Play is the plug-in variety only, but there are plenty of USB-C ports front and rear. The EVX has Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) which allows you to power appliances wherever and whenever. 

Torres EVX uses the industry leading BYD blade LFP cell battery (73.4kWh usable capacity) producing 152kW and 340NM. Range is stated at 462km (WLTP). Power is more than enough (0-100km in 8.1 seconds), and the front wheel drive drivetrain performed well with five passengers on board. KGM are so confident about their battery tech they offer a 10 year/one-million-kilometre warranty. 

Paddle shift regenerative braking on the EVX is a feature that assists with deceleration, which is especially helpful when descending twisting hills. The Torres has three brake modulation settings and shifting up and down on the fly is effortless – once you get the hang of it you will never look back. Equally effective on long haul drives is the adaptive cruise control with five distance settings. 

The handling characteristics of the Torres are set up on the soft side, which suits city driving better than the open road. Bumpy open roads can expose some wallow and bounce, but most drivers probably wouldn’t notice it. The chassis feels solid as you would expect from a near two-tonne vehicle. Tow rating is 500kg or 1,500kg braked.  

The Torres is yet to be safety rated, but KGM intend to undergo independent crash testing soon. This will be important to secure fleet and rental customers.  

The Verdict 

The Torres is a superb first-up effort from KGM and those waiting for other brands to offer their bestselling petrol SUVs in electric format may now have a reason to switch alliance. 

KGM are not precious about their acronym. “Kiwi Great Motoring” and “Korean Glamour Model” were offered in promotional material as fun wordplay alternates, but the one we came up with for the KGM team is “Kudos, Great Motorcar” 



Article by Avon Bailey

Avon BaileyAvon has spent three long decades doing everything there is to do in the car universe, from the car auction podium to wrenching on a race car team, he has seen it all. He brings an open mind and a sharp pencil to give an honest review of anything with four wheels.


Words: Avon Bailey 

Pictures: Dexter Cheng

Video: Lachlan Carr


As always, safety is our priority at the AA.

Before purchasing any vehicle, we recommend you visit the RightCar website to understand how safety ratings work and consider your options.


Previous review
Next review
2024 Omoda C5 230T
Read more
2024 Tesla Model 3 Highland
Read more