SsangYong Commercials: Commercial Travellers
South Korean company SsangYong now has three load-hauling 4x4s, one of them new. We sampled the trio in a rather unexpected place..
Picture, if you will, London's North Circular Road. A cold January day: rain and sleet in the air, snow fore-cast. Not the most likely place for an off-roader launch. But look, this is the Ace Café, where the shades of 60s rockers strut and sneer and a genuine 500 Gold Star sits nonchalant in the corner. A cut above your ordinary transport caff, this one, and certainly worth a visit. But we're not here for the nostalgia.
The hot news is that SsangYong's line-up now has more potential for farming. Brand new are commercial versions of the Koran-do, both in 4WD and now 2WD forms. Else-where the firm's pick-up - the bigger and confusingly named Korando Sports (05/15) - gets a higher payload and more towing capacity, while the existing Rexton W Com-mercial sees minor tweaks. All use variations on SsangYong's own four-cyl 2.0-litre turbodiesel and are backed by a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty. The line-up is in the table below.
The Korando is the newest tool in SsangYong's box. We studied it in detail last year (profi 11/14), finding a well kitted, reason-ably quiet, reasonably frugal, comfortable-riding small SUV. The only changes for the commercial versions are to the rear seats and belts (gone), the windows (blacked out and lift deactivated) and the arrival of a car-peted load platform. The resulting bay is wide, rectangular and accessed through a fairly shallow opening and one-piece lifting tailgate. The original spare wheel cover pan-el forms part of the new floor (which might have implications for its longevity in farm use) and the donor car's panelling carries over unchanged. Loading height across a shallow bumper is quite low. A steel bulk-head is an option; it looks durable and features a mesh upper section, but its placement partially blocks access into the load space through the rear passenger doors.
Spec has been toned down. In a Korando Commercial you'll find cloth seats with man-ual adjustment, electric mirrors/windows and manual aircon, yet (unexpectedly) a part-heated front screen and hill start assist. On the road there's no noticeable dynamic difference between a 2WD CS Korando and the 4WD CSX, though noise seems a little higher than in a standard model thanks to the stripped-out back.
Now for the Korando sports. We've visited this in detail too - see profi 05/15. Head-line news here is that payload has jumped from 0.63t to over the magic tonne while towing capacity has grown to 2.7t, both apparently achieved by re-jigging the unique rear coil springs and their dampers. These changes put the Korando Sports pick-up -wheel loses a home so is replaced by a pressurised repair kit. The new rear load bay is certainly long but quite narrow.
Dynamically, the Rexton W is still off the pace. Performance mirrors that of the pick-up - sharp from rest, lazy at higher speeds. Ride is shivery; steering is slow and gluey. And the noise levels seem higher than in its stablemates, too. While these factors count against the Rexton W in its normal market-place, when it is viewed (and priced) as a commercial vehicle they loom less large.