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No frills - no problem

Simon Tooth discovers why SsangYong claims to be a 'brand on the move'

My first experience of SsangYong was a journey from Suffolk to Glasgow and back within the space of 36 hours in a Korando Sports pick-up with technical editor Dan Gilkes. It was a comfortable, easy drive, eating up the motorway miles pretty effortlessly.

Testing the pick-up's 4WD capabilities was not on the agenda on that occasion but on a test drive earlier in the year Dan was impressed by the way it handled some serious snow and ice on roads in the north east: "The big SsangYong felt very secure on the A1 Mas others struggled for purchase in treacherous conditions."

SsangYong has now increased the payload of its pick-up to 1,050kg, allowing it to be bought exempt of VAT by business users, with prices starting at £14,995 (ex VAT). The increased pay- 16 VanUser February 2015 load has been achieved in part by uprating the rear coil springs without compromising the Korando's smooth ride.

The double cab Sports pick-up is well appointed and practical: it may not have the finesse of VW's Amarok or Ford's Ranger, but neither does it have their price tag. And that's its appeal.

Rexton W CSX

It's the same with the manufacturer's other ventures into the CV market, the most recent of which is the Rexton W CSX, derived from the latest version of the car of the same name. The Rexton continues the SsangYong philosophy of well-specced vehicles - including an unlimited mileage five-year warranty- at competitive prices. The Rexton W CSX starts at a fiver SsangYong's car-derived Korando is carving a niche for itself as a useful small van. shy of £18,500 (ex VAT).

It is powered by SsangYong's own two-litre turbo charged e-XDi200 diesel engine, delivering maximum power of 155PS and maximum torque of 360Nm. The CSX has a six-speed manual transmission, and when going off road, the driver can select low range which also splits the torque equally between front and rear axles to provide all round traction.

The flat load area is accessed via a high lifting tailgate and two side doors. It provides 2.2m3 of load volume and a payload of 740kg. The load deck length is 1.7m and 107cm between wheel arches. It can pull a three-tonne trailer. Standard equipment includes cruise control, air conditioning, electrically operated and heated door mirrors, leather covered steering wheel and gear knob, and CD and RDS radio with iPod and Bluetooth connectivity.

Safety features include electronic stability program (ESP), active rollover protection (ARP), ABS with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and hill descent control (HDC).

Korando CS and CSX

Already carving a niche for itself as a useful small van - particularly in its 4WD CSX guise - at home on the construction site or forest track is SsangYong 's car-derived Korando CS and CSX priced from £12,995 (ex VAT). It would go head to head with Fiesta van or the new Corsavan but could have the edge for some with its practical side doors (the window glass is replaced by steel panels to keep the VAT man happy) - and for others with 4WD. While permanent 4WD can be selected, it will self-select 4WD when conditions demand.

SsangYong's three commercial vehicles don’t represent a serious challenge to any of the established van manufacturers. But they do represent good value for money in niche markets. Marketing director Steve Gray told me his target was to double CV sales in 2015. Dealerships - mostly in out of town locations - currently number 60 and Steve said it was hoped to increase that to 75 within a year or so.

"It's a brand on the move," he added. VanUser February 2015".

For more information on the SsangYong Range please click here