First Drive: SsangYong Korando Sports
In the pick-up, this motor puts out a healthy 155hp, with a torque peak of 360Nm from 1,500rpm right through to 2,800rpm. This drives through a standard six-speed manual, or optional six-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels. Four-wheel drive and low range can be accessed through a rotary dial on the dash.
The firm claims combined fuel consumption of 31.4mpg for the manual, with a CO2 output of 199g/km. This rises to 29.4mpg and 212g/km for the auto model. Service intervals are set at 10,000 miles, or once a year.
There will be two models of the double-cab Korando Sports available – an SX with air conditioning and Bluetooth stereo, plus a range-topping EX with heated leather, electric driver’s seat, 18” alloys, power mirrors and rear parking sensors. As yet there are no prices available, but SsangYong’s UK marketing and communications director, Steve Gray, says ”it will be extremely competitive”.
The truck provides a 2.04m2 load deck, with liner and tie-down points. Customers can also order a factory-fit hardtop, which locks inside the tailgate for complete security. It also boasts a competitive towing capacity of 2.3 tonnes.
However, the pick-up has been built with five-link rear suspension, which is good for on-road handling. The downside is a reduced carrying capacity of just 643kg in the manual truck and 630kg for the auto. This of course means that businesses will struggle to reclaim the VAT on the double-cab pick-up.
That said, Mr Gray says the SsangYong’s price including VAT will be similar to the price excluding VAT, or CV on-the-road price, posted by the majority of mainstream rivals.
SsangYong will also counter concerns by offering the truck with a five-year, limitless mileage warranty, covering all major mechanical components. Even wear parts such as the clutch discs and brake friction materials are covered for 12,000 miles or one year from sale, while the battery and paintwork are covered for three years.
We tried the Korando Sports both on and off-road and came away very pleasantly surprised. Even on standard road tyres the 4×4 truck coped well with a fairly technical off-road course, providing decent angles of approach and departure and an impressive turning lock.
On the road, as mentioned, the Korando Sports rides very well, with little of the bounce associated with an unladen pick-up. The steering, brakes and handling all seem to cope well and the 2.0-litre engine provides plenty of pull for rapid acceleration and comfortable cruising.
The interior of the truck is comfortable and spacious, and particularly in EX specification, very well equipped. It’s also quite a good looking truck from the outside, especially with the larger wheels.
SsangYong has 52 dealers in the UK at present, with a further eight service points. That’s a big rise from the 32 dealers appointed last year, and the number continues to grow.
Each of those dealers has ordered a Korando Sports demonstrator – around 70% equipped with the auto transmission – so if you fancy a go, getting behind the wheel shouldn’t be too difficult. If you can live without reclaiming the VAT, it makes an interesting alternative to the main players in this sector.
Small businesses and those looking for car-like comfort with 4×4 ability and a strong towing capacity, may well find the Korando Sports ticks a lot of box