Don’t look, it’s beau­ti­ful!

Now is the time we should cel­e­brate the weird and the fru­gal, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - In The Garage -

SSANGY­ONGS have long been crit­i­cised for their weird looks and av­er­age dy­nam­ics. But that’s not to say they don’t have some ap­peal — wit­ness the Sports Dual Cab.

The $24,990 four-door ute is a no-frills twowheel-drive 2.0-litre diesel that ap­peals to tradies and those who value func­tion be­fore fash­ion.

A six-speed au­to­matic can be yours for $27,990 and a four-wheel-drive ver­sion will cost $30,990. Get past the looks and you’ll find quite a sturdy ve­hi­cle. Sure, it’s not go­ing to win any traf­fic light grand prix be­cause of the low-geared steer­ing and lively rear end.

And we’d also fit some de­cent tyres be­cause the ones on the press car were too skit­tish on wet roads.

The diesel and auto gear­box are strong points. The 2.0-litre pumps out 104kW and 310Nm from 1800 revs. It’s slow off the mark but spools up quickly and once at high­way speeds it is quiet.

If you can for­get the looks, the SsangYong Sports Cab makes prac­ti­cal sense. THE Lancer fam­ily has gained an as­pi­ra­tional model. Now if they can only gain a gear­box to go with it . . .

The aptly named As­pire is aimed at folk looking to sac­ri­fice the space, but not the com­fort, of a mid to large-sized car. It’s based on the VRX, but loses the sporty bits — spoil­ers, al­loy ped­als — in favour of chrome ex­te­rior and wood­grain in­te­rior high­lights.

And, along with the VRX, it picks up the Out­lander 2.4-litre en­gine in place of the 2.0-litre mill used in the lower-spec Lancers.

The con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion is as fru­gal as it is atonal, yet the drone dis­guises sur­pris­ingly brisk ac­cel­er­a­tion, so it pays to keep an eye on the speedo.

There’s a lot to like, from the Rock­ford Fos­gate stereo to the seven airbags and leather trim and neu­tral han­dling. The As­pire is $34,000, good value for money in terms of per­for­mance and pres­tige.

Beaut ute: (above) the Ssangyong four-door ute and (be­low) Lancer’s As­pire, which is based on the VRX, but loses the spoil­ers and al­loy ped­als.

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