First Drive: Ssangyong Korando Sports EX

Date: Tuesday, January 29, 2013

If you’re after a rugged workhorse to do the dirty work on the farm, battle through mud off-road or take on the heavy lifting at the building site then the Ssangyong Korando Sports EX auto is not for you.

 For a start, it has a payload of only 630kg, which means it’s not built for serious load lugging and doesn’t qualify for the VAT break that comes with a 1.0-tonne capacity. The 2.0-litre 155hp e-XDi diesel engine is lively  though, and, combined with the multi-link rear suspension, provides a decent smooth ride.
The steering too light and lacking in feedback, and the six-speed auto transmission is lurch-free and efficient. The cabin itself is functional in a minicab sort of way, despite the preponderance of black plastic, while spec levels are good for a commercial vehicle, with in–cab comfort enhanced by an electric driver’s seat and leather seating all round. The driver gets a mirror in the windscreen sun visor – this is a pick-up in touch with its feminine side – although it doesn’t have a cover, and both the driver and front passenger get a seat heater. But this has only one setting and it gets hot… quickly.
Cruise control is operated by a stalk on the steering wheel, which also accommodates controls for the audio system. This is just as well because both the buttons and touch-screen controls on the audio facia itself are small and fiddly. Parking sensors are a standard fit but turn down the stereo before reversing because the sound doesn’t fade automatically. There’s also not much by way of storage space, and the handbrake is curiously placed closer to the passenger seat than the driver.
Although not built for serious hard graft, if you’re after a fairly cheap pick-up with something approaching  “car-like” refinement and the ability to double up as a working and family vehicle while taking you further off the beaten track than the average estate or SUV, courtesy of its part-time 4WD, then the EX might tick your boxes.



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