Re-plating to carry 1-tonne makes SsangYong's pick-up more attractive, says Dan Gilkes.
When SsangYong introduced the Korando Sports pick-up to the UK market, it went against convention and focussed on comfort more than load carrying ability. Rather than equip the truck with sturdy leaf springs at the rear, as with its competitors, the Korean firm went for a car-like multi-link set-up with coil springs.
This made it handle well, but most importantly gave the truck a very comfortable ride, even when unladen. The downside was that the SsangYong only managed to carry 643kg, when equipped with a manual gearbox, or 630kg in the EX auto model.
While overall load-hauling capacity might not be a primary concern for many double-cab users, the fact that Customs and Excise wouldn't let a company reclaim the VAT on the purchase price certainly was.
With this year's upgrade, SsangYong has boosted the rear suspension springs' performance, though retaining the multi-link design, and re-rated the truck to carry a far more realistic 1,050kg. That single move instantly raises the appeal of the Korando Sports, with prices starting at just £14,995 and rising to £18,495 for this top of the range EX auto model without the VAT.
Further good news is that the revised suspension seems to have had little effect on ride quality or handling, with the Korando Sports offering a smooth ride on all but the worst road conditions. The truck remains one of the quietest pick-ups on the market too, unless you really push on through the gears, with very little engine noise in normal acceleration.
SsangYong's 2.0-litre motor puts out a reasonably strong 155hp at a relatively high 4,000rpm, but this is backed up by 360Nm of torque, available from 1,500-2,800rpm. This makes for fairly leisurely progress, unless you really push, but it's a driving style that suits the Korando and makes for a relaxing way to travel.
Similarly, you can change gears in the six-speed auto box yourself, with buttons on the steering wheel or by nudging the main trans-mission lever. But to be honest, unless calling for immediate overtaking potential, it's as well left to its own devices, slurring away almost imperceptibly as the speeds rise.
SsangYong claims a combined fuel figure of up to 35.3mpg for the auto truck, or 37.7 mpg for a manual. That might be slightly optimistic, but 30mpg is certainly easily achieved. C02 emissions are rated at 199g/km for the manual and 212g/km for this auto.
As befits a range-topping model, this EX specification Sports boasts a full leather interior with seat heating in the front and a power adjustable driver’s seat. Door mirrors are electrically operated and heated and all of the windows are powered. You also get rear parking sensors and 18" alloys as part of the package.
That 'Elegance' hard top will set you back £1,995, while the rather fiddly Kenwood touchscreen sat-nav/DAB radio with Bluetooth is a further £999.
Service intervals remain at 12,500 miles or 12 months and the truck sits in insurance group 6E. The Korando Sports also benefits from SsangYong's standard five-year/limit-less mileage warranty, providing peace of mind for those new to the manufacturer.
For more information on the SsangYong Korando please click here