It doesn’t seem that long ago – January, in fact – that we were at the launch of the another new brand to the New Zealand market. This time, it’s not officially an all-new name, but a rebranding of existing manufacturer SsangYong to its new name under the KGM banner.

Today will also see the launch of KGM’s first model, the medium-sized Torres SUV. This car will be available in petrol two-wheel drive, petrol all-wheel drive, and as a two-wheel drive full-EV.

KGM: “South Korean born and future bound”

Much time at this event was spent on explaining how KGM aims to launch what is effectively an all-new brand to our small market. Their vision is to “cement KGM as the most disruptive Korean brand in the market”, by using Korean pop culture (‘K-Culture’) to aim at a specific target market. It gives them a point of difference over other Korean brands, they suggest. “We are bringing the vibe of K-Culture to New Zealand streets,” says KGM.

The history of KGM was also displayed along with some numbers, like the 126 countries they currently sell too, their 70 years of history, and that it’s been 2 years since they purchased SsangYong.

KGM Torres EVX

In 2023, the company sold 55,000 vehicles worldwide while in Korea, the brand says they have 50,000 units on backorder. They launched 2 months ago in Europe, then Chile and the rest of South America. Today was the official launch of the brand in New Zealand, and Australia is next.

For New Zealand, KGM suggests that the letters can mean a multitude of things, starting off with “Kiwi Great Motoring”. Currently they have 12 dealers around the country, who will all go through rebranding over the next 2-3 months.

Their EVX model was launched only last week in Turkey, and Australia won’t see the model until June this year, so that’s a win for us. They are hoping New Zealand will see a hybrid version of the Torres in June next year.

The next few years will see the Torres pickup – which is currently a concept vehicle. A coupe version of the Torres will be coming out in the next year.


The company is giving their all-new model four key attributes:

Technology: Kitted out Gadgetry Mastery

Space: King size Gear Mover

Design: Korean Glamour Model

Quality: Korean Grade Mechanics

The official launch date of the Torres is March 26th, however the company says there is a shipment of EVX models available now at their dealers (pricing further on in this article).

Looking at the car, it certainly is muscular in design and you can see elements of other cars in it. KGM admits this, and says they have some elements from the Jeep Wagoneer at the front, and Ford Explorer rear taillights, for example.

In the videos we see some boxes attached to the C-pillar of some the Torres shown, and are told these are optional extras. They look very, very similar to those on the Land Rover Defender, I expect on purpose. The whole C-pillar design looks similar to the Defender.

The two-wheel drive model will simply be known as the Torres, with the all-wheel drive known as the Torres AWD.

The 2WD and AWD models run the same powertrain, a 1.5-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that puts out 120kW of power, 280Nm of torque, and uses a 6-speed automatic transmission. Other than the currently available EVX, the petrol models are expected to be available in May. All models can be pre-ordered from today and after dealer feedback, KGM expects the split for 2WD/AWD to be around 60/40. The two-wheel drive models drive the front wheels.


The EVX is their full-electric model which uses a BYD blade battery with 73.4kWh of usable power and has a suggested range of 462km. Performance is listed at 8.3 seconds to 100km/h, and the EV battery has a ten-year warranty. The car is rated to tow up to 1,500kg braked, and 500kg unbraked.

The electric motor in this EV outputs 150kW, and torque is listed at 339Nm.

It comes with a Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) adaptor as standard which means you can plug household appliances into the car when camping, or during a power cut etc. There is no ‘home charger’ supplied, so buyers will need to pay for a ‘proper’ home charger to charge up their Torres. KGM is partnering with EVNEX for this, with supply and installation deals starting at $2,995 although buyers can get their own wall charger installed.

KGM sees the front-wheel drive EVX competing with car like the Tesla Model Y, VW I.D4 and I.D5, and Polestar models.


All the colours the Torres are muted at best, so don’t hope for anything bright. Your choices are White, Grey, Forest Green, Latte, Dandy Blue, Iron Metal, or Black.

There are two-tone options that include the mirrors, roof and roof rails.


The boot on these cars is pretty massive at 703 litres with the rear seats up, and 1,662 litres with them down. It definitely sits in the medium SUV market segment at 4.7 metres long, and 1,630mm wide.

There is vegan leather seating, while the EVX model has heated and ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats.

There is a long list of advanced driver assist system fitted as standard, including front rear and side radar, blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and rear cross traffic alert – among other driver aids.

Also fitted is a pet mode that will keep the ventilation operating while the car is locked

Standard rims are 18” in either single or two-tone colours, while the EVX has 20” alloy wheels as standard.


Torres: $49,990

Torres AWD: $54,990

Torres EVX: $67,990

KGM are running an introductory price of $66,990 for first 40 units, which is their first shipment of cars.


The elephant in the room is Torres’ ANCAP rating; it hasn’t got one yet. The company would not commit to when or if the car would go through ANCAP testing. While KGM is already talking to rental car companies and fleet buyers, those buyers will not touch a car without an ANCAP rating. KGM does suggest that those advanced driver assistance systems should get the Torres a 5-star rating.


Unfortunately, all the vehicles on the drive today are the EVX model, as that’s all the company could get in advance. Heading to Silverdale should give us a bit of a feel for the car, at least.

About to hit the road in the KGM Torres EVX

As passenger, the finish seems excellent with a nicely built interior, a good mix of materials and splashes of contrasting stitching. It feels quite upmarket. I love the bronze finish on the dash and console of our drive car; it adds more to the car than boring black plastic. Everything else in the interior is black, meaning it feels a bit dark inside.

But looking around, there is an amazing amount of headroom front and rear, perhaps because there is no sunroof to suck that space up. The car does feel large inside regardless of all the blackness.

Those curved screens look great, and resolution is very good. Using the menus is pretty simple, and there is a high level of customisation for the car in the Settings menu.

On the road, there is some wind noise, but overall road and tyre noise is on the lower side of things, although we didn’t (somehow) drive on any coarse-chip seal, where tyre noise generally makes itself known the most.

When driving the car, it feels just fine – the average Torres buyer would be more than happy. It behaves itself on the road, performance is good and the ride is very good. We do get a very annoying “take a break” message after 12 minutes of driving, and this message comes back again and again – and again. KGM later said they are looking at how that can be adjusted, or disabled. It would drive me crazy.

Although the car looks pretty stylish on the outside, that long C pillar means a fairly large blind spot when on the motorway, or turning. There is a small window back there, but the majority of that C pillar shrouds the driver’s three-quarter view.

Stopping to take photos and take a decent look around the car, I’m a little dubious of the “handles” on the bonnet. They don’t serve any purpose and seem to be a copy of another manufacturer’s model. It was good to see the front seat headrests have a tablet holder for those long journeys with the kids in the back seat.

On the front passenger seat is buttons for the rear-seat passenger to be able to move that front seat forward or backward, or adjust the backrest angle. We’ve seen this before on some Hyundai models, and can’t help think that some kid would love to drive a parent crazy, adjusting their seat while on the move.

Overall, the Torres is pleasant enough to drive, but we reserve our decision until we have spent a full week with the car, living with it on a daily basis.

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Fred Alvrez
How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm a driving instructor and an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.


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