SsangYong work it with the Korando Sports EX

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The original SsangYong Korando Sports pick-up was a surprisingly capable, good-value light truck from a largely unknown manufacturer, sadly let down by a meagre 630kg load capacity. Earlier this year SsangYong corrected this oversight by turning this stylish, well made king cab into a harder working one tonner.

Raising the payload above the one-tonne barrier allows the SsangYong, to be classified as a ‘works’ vehicle in the eyes of the tax authorities meaning VAT paid can now be reclaimed by owners, so it also saves money. Increasing in payload capacity was simply achieved by altering the rear coil spring rates and fitting beefier tyres. Only if you drove the earlier, softer sprung version will you notice that the heavier duty one-tonner is a little harsher. Unlike many rival pick-ups, the Korando uses conventional coil rather than cart springs and this improves overall handling meaning ‘Sports’ lives up to the badge and corners nicely. Changes to the rear suspension has also allowed SsangYong to increase the towing capacity from 2300kg to an impressive 2700kg; the optional £446 towbar has a useful 92kg towball loading.

The all-wheel drive system is a part-time design, electrically operated, working via either a manual or auto transmission that both provide six speeds, while the 155bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel is more than up to the task.

The respectable-sized load bay that can take a one-metre pallet comes with a rugged load liner as standard and we’d add £70 for the sensible optional bumper protection pad. £1995 buys you the optional ‘Elegance’ load bay canopy that’s standard on the top EX model. However, as handy as it is for security, as its name suggests it’s a style over substance design restricting load capacity somewhat. There’s the choice of the regular SX trim or the luxury EX, the latter of which boasts leather trim, heated seats, auto folding mirrors and rear parking sensors, all making it ideal as a dual-role vehicle. Equally important is an overall impression of good quality for the prices asked that will surprise those not familiar with a brand that was launched back in 1954 and is celebrating 20 years in the UK. The South Korean manufacturer says that it is now one of the fastest-growing brand franchise dealerships in the UK. Total sales in 2014 were 1739 (cars and LCVs), and it is already up 108 per cent on the same period (January to July) compared with last year so you can have confidence in buying one for the price of a second-hand mainstream alternative.

Fast Facts

Price: £18,495

Warranty: 5 yrs/UL miles

Service Intervals: 12,500 miles

Load length: 1275 mm

Load width: (max) 1600mm

Load height: 920mm

Payload: 1050kg

Max towing limit: 2700kg

Economy: 35.3mpg

Co2: 212g/km