Renault Samsung Motors’ small sports utility vehicle (SUV)’XM3′ will mark its 1st anniversary next month. The XM3, which has sold a total of 35241 units in the domestic market, occupies 35.4% of the entire Renault Samsung lineup, and has established itself as a brand volume model after the QM6. In addition, exports to Europe such as France and Germany will begin from December of last year, and it is expected to inspire new vitality in the European automobile market stagnated by Corona 19.
Recently, I tried the Renault Samsung XM3 again in about a year. The first impression is that even if you look again, it is not suitable for a small SUV car. And the first impression of the coupe-type SUV design is impressive, but as time goes by, it is boring, but it is still fresh. This is probably because it has a coupe-style SUV silhouette that can only be found in some premium brand flagship models, which are rare among competing models in its class, or even among high-end SUVs.
As a small SUV model based on the domestic market, the XM3, which entered the market lately, still boasts the largest size even after it was released as a new car after its rival model went through a generational change. The body size of the XM3, located between the B Plus and C-segment SUVs, is 4570mm, 1820mm, and 1570mm in length, width, and height, respectively, with a wheelbase of 2720mm. Compared to competing models in the same class, most specifications except the height are advanced.
In particular, the wheelbase that determines the interior space is 120mm longer than the new Kona, 90mm compared to the Kia Seltos, 80mm for the trail blazer, and 120mm longer than the Tivoli. Compared to the new Tucson, which is a higher-end car, it is 35mm shorter, so it is in fact an ambiguous size to be classified as a small SUV.
The exterior design wearing the familiar Renault family look is less fresh, but it doesn’t get bored easily. Renault’s unique’C’-shaped LED daytime running light that extends to the bumper and LED Pure Vision headlamps are installed to enhance the safety of night driving, as well as elaborate design to reveal the brand identity. On the side, the line from the roof to the trunk was drastically dropped in a fast-pack style to create a sports coupe-like appearance.
The hatchback-type trunk line completes a proportion that doesn’t miss even the right space, and consists of a two-stage trunk floor and tool box, providing up to 513 liters of storage space. The tail lamp design is similar to the QM6, and instead, a line connecting the left and right lamps is added to reveal a distinct presence. However, the regrettable part is that it is too modern compared to competing models to target the younger generation, the main target of a small SUV. However, it doesn’t even feel luxurious from the exterior.
The interior of the XM3 satisfies both readability and visibility by putting the center display in a 9.3-inch floating type. In particular, the interface structure has been improved for user convenience, so it exhibits the most satisfactory performance among any Renault Samsung car lineup. In addition, the air conditioner, heating wire, and ventilation sheet are separately provided at the bottom of the display, which is a significant improvement.
In addition, it is satisfactory that the latest information update and map streaming from the server are possible without smartphone tethering by mounting a fully communication-type connected navigation using SK Telecom T Map. The instrument panel is composed of 10.25 inches digital and delivers various graphics depending on the driving mode. High visibility and variety can be encountered in each mode. There are three driving modes: Eco, Sports, and My Sense. Here, eight colors of ambient light are inserted at the bottom of the indoor dashboard to change the color according to each mode and convey a sense of luxury.
The domestic XM3 powertrain is composed of two gasoline engines, the high-performance TCe 260 and the fuel-efficient 1.6 GTe, depending on the displacement, output and torque. Looking at sales data so far, it is known that most of the XM3 customer base chose the TCe model. I recently experienced this model mainly in the city center. First of all, the new TCe is a four-cylinder 1.3-liter gasoline turbo engine jointly developed by Renault Group and Daimler, and the key point is that it is interlocked with Getrak’s 7-speed wet dual-clutch transmission to maximize driving sensibility. With the paddle shift provided as a standard feature of the front trim, it demonstrates a maximum output of 152 horsepower and a maximum torque of 26.0 kg.m.
The engine response, starting at 2250 rpm, is more satisfactory than the specs feel. The wet dual clutch finishes 7th gear quickly, focusing on low and medium speeds, so soft that it cannot detect any shifting impact. In sport mode, the instrument panel turns red and emits more agile torque despite the same accelerator pedal response as before. The engine sound is less pleasant, but the body response is suitable for sport mode.
Here, the open front view reflects the strengths of the SUV. It is difficult to secure rear view due to the coupe-type design, but there is a rear camera when parking, so it is less anxious. In addition, it has the discrimination power according to each driving mode, and it is equipped with various convenience and safety specifications that domestic consumers enjoy.
Meanwhile, after its launch, XM3 obtained the highest grade 1 in the 2020 KNCAP automobile safety assessment by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport in December last year, and was proven to be safe, and in January of this year, it only satisfied the standard values for all items in the interior air quality survey of new cars by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport In addition, in particular, four kinds of harmful substances were detected the least, which proved the excellence of quality once again.[김훈기 기자]