In the past, SsangYong had many hard days, but somehow the company managed to stay alive and continue to develop new cars and technologies. One of the latest models presented by the Korean manufacturer is the SsangYong C200 Eco Hybrid, a vehicle that made its debut at the Seoul Motor Show in 2009.

The new C200 Eco is the smallest SUV in SsangYong’s lineup, but it’s the best looking of them all. It is also the first SsangYong model built with a monocoque body and available with a Hybrid powertrain.

The C200 is smaller and lighter than current SsangYong models, promising improved fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions. At the heart of the vehicle sits a diesel hybrid powertrain that offers reduced CO2 emissions by 50%.

  • 2009 Ssang Yong C200 Eco Hybrid
  • Year:
    2009
  • Make:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    174 @ 4000
  • Top Speed:
    116 mph
  • 0-100 time:
    10.8 sec.
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • body style:

Design

2009 Ssang Yong C200 Eco Hybrid Exterior
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SsangYong’s SUVs were never able to conquer a lot of fans, as their exterior design was far from being attractive. Fortunately, the company decided to make a radical change with its design language and went for help to the famous Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro.

The first model designed by the Italians is the C200, a compact SUV that also happens to be the best looking vehicle is SsangYong’s lineup.

The entire C200’s body received a contemporary look and despite its relatively compact dimensions, the vehicle’s proportions are well balanced. The modern appearance of the C200 Eco is underlined by its sporty front fascia which comes with a set of angular headlights combined with two sharp fog lamps mounted low into the bumper. The modern lights give the vehicle a modern look and also flank a small grille which copes great with the rest of the car.

The modern lines found at the front are carried over to the sides, were we find a pair of oversized wheel arches and a high belt line, complete with a set of body claddings. Adding more visual strength to the SUV’s look are the sloped rear end and the high ground clearance of 180mm. The back of the car is similarly elegant and has received a pair of curved taillights mounted at the bottom of a big screen which gives you clean rearward visibility.

Interior

2009 Ssang Yong C200 Eco Hybrid High Resolution Interior
- image 476505

Inside, the C200 looks pretty good. We like the wing shape layout used for the dashboard and the center stack is also nicely integrated into the overall design. The dash mounted controls are placed within easy reach and you can also find another set of buttons mounted on the three spoke steering wheel.

Though, most of the buttons and switches are of poor quality and feel flimsy when used. The overall build quality isn’t impressive either, but the materials seem durable.

The driver is met by a centrally mounted LCD that displays information about the hybrid system and other vehicle stats. The speedo and tacho are flanking the rectangular display and are easy to read, during both night and day. Fortunately the SUV receives good marks in the ergonomy department, as well. The seats are big and supportive and there is a lot of head and legroom for both the front and rear occupants. Moreover, the rear seats can be folded to provide extra boot space.

Talking about the boot, its loading floor is pretty high off the ground so it could prove be difficult to load heavier items.

Engines and performance

2009 Ssang Yong C200 Eco Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
- image 476504

The C200 is the first SsangYong to feature a front-wheel drive platform and monocoque construction. The C200 hybrid also uses a new six-speed manual transmission and a new 2,000cc diesel engine with 175 horsepower on tap. Although this platform can also be used with a front-wheel drivetrain, the C200 employs SsangYong’s full-time four-wheel drive technology.

The C200’s diesel engine is combined with an electric motor which uses a 340 V battery pack. This hybrid system allows the engine to shut off at stops and supply power when accelerating.

SsangYong declared that thanks to the hybrid system, fuel savings will be around 20 percent, with a NOx reduction of 50 percent. The company added that its hybrid system also meets the latest Euro 5 emission standards.

Ride and handling

2009 Ssang Yong C200 Eco Hybrid Exterior
- image 476509

To keep the vehicle’s weight low, SsangYong used a lot of aluminium components for the suspensions. Though, the suspension setup is pretty stiff which makes the ride quality feel bumpy at low speeds. Fortunately it will get better as the speed increases.

The hybrid system components keep the vehicle’s center of gravity pretty low which is translated in a good body balance and decent cornering abilities. For the good road manners we also have to give credit to the monocoque construction. On the other hand, the steering is light and completely devoid of any feedback.

The SUV comes pretty well equipped as its standard features include stability control, rollover protection, hill assist, brake force distribution, ABS and airbags.

Verdict

2009 Ssang Yong C200 Eco Hybrid Exterior
- image 476510

The new hybrid represents SsangYong’s desperate move to keep it up with today’s trends. Though, despite SsangYong’s struggles to come up with a good product, the C200 still has its faults.

While we like the exterior design and the interior environment, we can’t say that we are big fans of the poor build quality and the cheap materials.

Judging after the Korando model which is basically the conventional version of the C200 Eco, we can expect to receive a good body balance and but a bouncy ride. Luckily, the engine seems to do its job well and the hybrid system is also pretty capable, as it can save you 25 percent of fuel (though, still far behind of Toyota’s Prius technology).

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