It is late January and here we are gearing up for the 226-kilometer journey to Fintona in County Tyrone. With so many machinery events taking place at the beginning of the year it’s always great for testing vehicles. This trip would give us motorway, back roads and no doubt some tricky weather conditions, but we were ready to put the SsangYong Korando Sports to the test. First things first, it was time to load the crew cab and before long it was packed to the roofline with goodie bags, merchandise and magazines. Having no canopy we had to be careful loading the pickup bed with items that we didn’t mind getting damp and that were heavy enough not to blow away. Once filled to capacity we fired up the now silent 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine that delivers 153bhp and 360Nm of pulling power.
As I pulled out of the office I noticed a big change in the way the Korando handled compared to the journey to work and thankfully it was for the better. The Korando Sport has a pretty sophisticated suspension system compared to other pick-up rivals but when empty its still very light and fidgety on the road. Add some weight and it transforms the vehicle into a well-balanced pickup that handles the B roads exceptionally well. Once out on the M1 the standard six-speed manual gearbox is light and accurate and you can feel the torque come in from around 1500rpm pulling very well up to the speed limit where you can engage cruise control and take in some of the creature comforts.
The interior is well appointed in the SX model I had on test with a double din Kenwood entertainment system, steering wheel controls, heated leather seats, Bluetooth connectivity “which sadly didn’t work for me” and navigation. A rear reverse camera will also be available from Irish dealerships. Getting comfortable isn’t to hard but I wouldn’t fancy being in the back because compared to other pickups including our long term Isuzu D-Max, the space is much tighter. That said you do get a lot for your money in the Korando Sport and with a starting price of just €29,995 you would be mad not to take a test drive to see if it fits your needs. Right now I think its safe to say that SsangYong are making serious progress in Ireland. If this Sports doesn’t fit your needs then it’s worth looking at other vehicles in the range that include the Rexton, Korando, Rodius, and the very special Tivoli which we reviewed earlier this year.
I enjoyed my time with the Korando and covered a whopping 1100 kilometers in one week. The only weak point for me is the steering lock, which takes some four revolutions from lock to lock. It’s a little tiresome when reversing and this will only be exaggerated if you have a trailer that needs small inputs. The best point is by far the engine. It pulls so well in every gear and doesn’t leave you looking for power. Most of its rivals use larger engines but for me the turbo charged 2.0 litre is more than enough unless the towing capacity of 2,300 kilograms doesn’t fit your needs. Right now the growing list of the dealers include: Bill Cullen Premier Cars, Cassidy Motors, Cashman Car Sales, Fahy&Ryan, HB Dennis, Hinchys (Ennis Road and Garryspillane), Lynn Motors, Noel Whelan Car Sales, O’Sullivan Auto, Ryans Garage and Waterford Motor Village. Go check one out today.
|Acceleration (0-100km/h)||12.5 seconds|
|Consumption (Combined)||7.5l / 100km|
|Road Tax||Commercial €280|
|Price as Tested||€34,550|