10th June 2016
Practicality is Plain to See
The Korean manufacturer is on the move and new dealers with a respectable history are coming on board. They’re sure to benefit from SsangYong’s plans for growth and quality. Fellow Koreans, Hyundai and Kia, have shown the way and for SsangYong the only way is up.
One model I admire is the Korando, which is not too far apart in style from Nissan’s Qashqai. Alas, the poor Korando through no fault of its own is still trying to prove a point and feels it must be cheaper by thousands of pounds and offer bundles of equipment.
Sounds familiar? Many of our most popular and respected car makers have followed that very route.
Just last week I was impressed by SsangYong’s efforts at having a little fun at work. Its Korando Sports is actually a double cab pick-up but this model was different: it declared some military purpose with camouflage-style paintwork.
This was the Korando Sports DMZ, a limited edition model, which in the line-up sits at the top of the pile being identical other than its green camouflage paintwork to EX specification.
Pick-ups are generally becoming more popular in Scotland and with the versatility of a double cab passengers can be carried as well as the vehicle being used as a working tool.
There are plenty of models to choose from with all the main car makers chopping, slicing and shaping one of their models to suit the task. This group tends to keep a close eye on each other’s developments but the SsangYong Korando Sports has two major selling points in that it is cheaper to buy and comes with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty.
As I settled behind the wheel, I was moving towards tractor heaven. I was not enveloped by swathes of padded leather on the dashboard or door panels studded like a Chesterfield suite, I did not have deep pile carpeting or any luxuries, niceties that dared to suggest anything that would lead to a comfortable life.
This is where the car scores. Owners stepping into a pick-up are not expecting anything other than the anatomy of this type of vehicle. Hard-wearing plastics are acceptable, monochrome landscapes are essential with its major design focused around hard work.
A vision of Eastern-bloc automotive architecture may be materialising but this car has heated and electrically adjustable front seats, air con, leather upholstery, USB and Bluetooth. This is what SsangYong gives you for your money.
There is only one engine offered in the Korando Sports and the DMZ comes with SsangYong’s new two-litre e-XDi diesel with an output of 155ps. This replaces the old Mercedes diesel engines and for this type and style of vehicle is pleasingly smooth once it warms up. So too is the six-speed automatic gearbox.
There’s also a switchable four-wheel drive system that offers rear-wheel-drive, four-wheel-drive and an off-road low range four-wheel-drive mode.
All pick-ups fidget and jitter over undulating surfaces but the Korando Sports delivers a reasonably comfortable ride equal to any others in this segment. Statistics that pick-up buyers will want to know are it is capable of towing 2.7 tons. Its two-metre square cargo bed is big enough for a Euro pallet and carrying a load of one ton. There is an option for an aluminium checker plate tonneau cover.
SsangYong is in a determined mood to increase sales and it is likely that deals and incentives will be impending. The paintwork on this DMZ model is bound to appeal to some buyers but my guess is the buying price and unlimited mileage warranty is going to be the main reasons for considering the Korando Sports.