Motor review - SsangYong Korando Sports EXT

PUBLISHED: 11:17 10 March 2014 | UPDATED: 11:18 10 March 2014

SsangYong Korando Sports EXT

SsangYong Korando Sports EXT

Archant

Syd Taylor goes the distance with a SsangYong Korando Sports EXT

The new Korando Sports manages to be everything to all people. As a workhorse, it’s as durable as saddle leather. But more: this vehicle has the versatility to double-up if need be, as a lively, family friendly - dare I say it - almost a fun car. In keeping with the maker’s aim to please with almost contrary notions of their requirements, it is designed in such a way as to embody sleekness with robust beefiness. Whichever way you appraise the attractive looks it’s sure to please the commercial customer and the private buyer. It shares little with the Korando SUV, being a proper pick-up with a separate chassis.

It’s a treat to drive, a treat for passengers and - despite the ability to tow a braked trailer of 2300 kgs not being particularly outstanding - is a Tyson powered contender in a particular way in the pick-up stakes. For a Korean manufacturer to know just what’s needed north of La Manche is remakable. I can well believe that it will put rivals in a spin, counting stars as they pirouette on the receiving end of SsangYong’s knockout punch in combining car-like characteristics with pick-up capability. Thanks to the 5 link rear suspension with coil springs, ride and handling are excellent for a pick-up.

All this - and at such a price. The range starts at £18,295 which is great value when you consider the tough construction, excellent build quality backed by a five year unlimited mileage warranty and that the model tested includes heated leather front seats, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, air conditioning and power windows. It’s comfy inside with plenty of room for everyone and, of course, with the hardtop over the 1312 litre load bay you have massive secure carrying capacity.

Powered by SsangYong’s own excellent 153bhp 2.0 diesel that drives through a smooth-operating six speed gearbox and with 4wd high range and 2wd low range available at the push of a button, it has considerable capability on and off-road - and driven gently on-road it will actually return the claimed 37.7 mpg overal. (I got 38mpg). Thrash it and use the 107 mph top speed and it’s a different story.

Planted like a rock on 18” alloys and 255/60x18 tyres it always looks ready to roll. Whenever duty calls , whatever that duty may be, from lugging hardcore to swanning out on an evening soiree with the family, a click of the key is like a click of the heels as it seems to salute the owner as if to say ‘ready, willing and able.’

I’ve often said that a tough workhorse is preferable to a flightsome filly - and my experience with it amply endorses the view. Here is a car worth the most energetic applause - and one that’s surely destined to put rivals in the shade.

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