Hot on the heels of the Korando SUV, SsangYong is now targeting the pick-up sector. James Batchelor has driven it.
What is it?
It may be called Korando but it has little to do with the Giugiaro-designed SUV. It’s a tough pick-up designed to win sales from the established Mitsubishi L200, Nissan Navara and Toyota Hilux.
What’s under the bonnet?
It’s SsangYong’s own 2.0-litre diesel, reworked to give more low-down torque. It packs 153bhp and can haul a 2,300kg trailer if needed.
What’s the spec like?
It’s pretty good. As standard, Korando Sports SX versions get manual air con, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and remote central locking. Top-drawer EXT models gain 18-inch alloys, leather and parking sensors. Korando Sports start at £15,291 (excluding VAT) and rise to £18,999 (again, excluding VAT).
What’s it like to drive?
The Sports is the only pick-up in its class to have coil suspension at the rear – and it shows. On road manners are good as is ride comfort. The experience is only really spoilt by lifeless steering – but it’s not a huge gripe. Overall, the driving experience is more than satisfactory, and easily a match for the class best. The same can be said about the interior – it feels more car like than its rivals, but is slightly let down by hard plastics.
What do the press think?
Autocar concluded: ‘The Korando Sports represents excellent value for what is ultimately a well equipped and practical pickup,’ while Auto Express said: ‘The Korando Sports is rugged and capable, and offers a level of sophistication unheard of at this price.’
What do we think?
In a sector where rugged build quality at an affordable price is everything, the Korean pick-up is an worthy contender. If customers have driven an old SsangYong but not this new car, they would be advised to drive it.
The Sports is a big step-up from previous SsangYongs, and while there are a few negative points, the car’s affordable prices – it’s roughly 20 per cent cheaper than its major competitors – and five-year warranty means the Korando Sports is a very decent offering. It deserves to do well.