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SsangYong Korando Sports EX Double-Cab Pick-Up

Click to view picture galleryWith a headline-grabbing VAT-
  inclusive 18,295 price tag, the South
  Korean SsangYong brand
now
  70% owned by the Indian automotive
  engineering conglomerate of
  Mahindra & Mahindra
has entered
  the flourishing double-cab pick-up
  market in the UK with its Korando
  Sports range...


THE FOUR-DOOR, FIVE-SEATER DOUBLE-CAB is available with SX and EX levels of specification, both with on-demand 4x4 traction and powered by a 152bhp 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.

Other high-interest features include the limitless five-year warranty and the multi-link coil spring rear suspension which offers a more compliant and comfortable ride than the traditional cartleaf-type springs still widely used in this sector.

Although the Korando Sports double-cab has an ample 2.04-square metre loadbed, it is not one of the largest in the market, carrying 635kg instead of the one-tonne payload offered by most double-cabs. The braked maximum towing weight is 2,300kg.

“High-interest features
include a limitless five-
year warranty and
Multi-link coil spring rear
suspension which offers
a more compliant and
comfortable ride than the
traditional cartleaf-type
springs still widely used
in this sector
...”
The Ssangyong brand was re-launched in the UK a year ago; this year the company expects to sell around a thousand SsangYong vehicles in the UK from their 52 dealerships; another six or so will be added before the end of 2012.

The new SsangYong Korando Sports will appeal to those who need a working vehicle, the practicality of 4WD, the towing capability to haul up to 2,300kg with a reasonable loadbed payload of 635kg combined with the interior space and equipment of a family car.

Whether towing a work trailer or horsebox, ferrying the crew to site or the children to school, or meeting the needs of sporting types who need a tow vehicle or an equipment load carrier, the Korando Sports will meet a range of different demands —
and all from a very competitive starter price of 18,295 including VAT.

For VAT-registered businesses able to recover the tax, that means just 15,291. Plus the five-year limitless mileage looks good value —
the Korando Sports is the only pickup on the market to have such a long warranty with no limit to the mileage.

There are two models from launch: the well appointed SX comes equipped with AirCon, tinted glass, leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote central locking, Kenwood MP3 CD & RDS radio with a USB & auxiliary port and Bluetooth connectivity plus 16-inch alloys.

The EX adds the luxury touch of leather upholstery, heated front seats, powered 8-way driver's seat, electrically-adjustable heated and power-folding door mirrors, rear parking sensors and 18-inch wheels. A six-speed automatic transmission with cruise control is also available as an option for both versions.

A smart-looking optional rigid hardtop is available to provide full-time weather protection and security for the load area. This features a hinged rear window that closes behind the tailgate so that the central locking completely secures and protects the contents.

“The Korando Sports
pickup is far less
agricultural to drive than
similar offerings from
Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan,
Toyota and Isuzu
...”
Styled and colour-matched to complement the rest of the vehicle, the result is a neat design and not the 'tacked on' afterthought of many retro-fit hardtops. A full range of other accessories is also available, including two more load space covers.

Constructed on a separate frame chassis — the core of a serious off-roader — the Korando Sports offers a very rigid structure to help protect occupants in the event of a collision.

Accident avoidance and a sure-footed performance off-road are also enhanced by the electronic stability programme —
a rare feature on many pick-ups but standard on the Korando Sports. You also get active roll-over protection and hill start assist.

The interior is well laid out and surprisingly roomy and it will appeal to financially hard-pressed rural families, even more so where the economic climate means that one do-it-all vehicle for work and life duties has become a must rather than having two vehicles.

Thanks to the coil spring rear suspension the Korando Sports' ride is comfortable although there is some bodyroll and, unloaded, the back-end can skip around during cornering on wet greasy roads.

As you expect from a budget brand, the 152bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine is not the quietest or smoothest — but it is responsive due to its useful 265lb ft of torque delivered from only 1,500rpm.

The six-speed manual gearbox version I drove had smooth gearchanges and was much more acceptable than the 'old style' five-speed 'boxes common in this sector. Overall the same can be said about the Korando Sport's driveability; it is less heavyweight and less daunting as a family-use vehicle than other double-cabs.

“Accident avoidance and
a sure-footed
performance off-road are
also enhanced by the
electronic stability
programme — a rare
feature on many pickups
but standard on the
Korando Sports
...”
The fuel economy is reasonable and my short test drive returned 30.1mpg (37.7mpg is the official Combined Cycle figure). The CO2 emissions of 199g/km are high, but because it's classed as a commercial vehicle the road tax is fixed at 215.

Being a CV, no official 0-62mph figure is given but expect around 14 seconds with the vehicle unladen. The top speed is 107mph.

Using a turn-button control the driver can select 2WD, 4WD, or, for heavy off-roading, 4WD lock, which makes it easy to drive in all conditions. And, for the record, it's far less agricultural to drive than similar offerings from Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota, Isuzu, and Ford.

So while its loadbed payload is smaller than the industry 'norm' and there are a limited number of dealers, there are still plenty of reasons to buy, beginning with the very attractive pricing and that long limitless warranty, smart cabin and exterior styling, high spec, looks durable, slick six-speed gearchange, and the comfortable ride —
it's almost car-like to drive.

Priced at least 3,000 less than its main double-cab rivals, the Korando Sports might come up short on the maximum payload but it delivers much more in terms of value for money. —
David Miles

SsangYong Korando Sports EX Double-Cab Pickup
| 18,995
Maximum speed: 107mph | 0-62mph: 14 seconds | Overall test MPG: 30.1mpg
Power: 152bhp | Torque: 265lb ft | CO2 199g/km