Don’t look, it’s beautiful!
Now is the time we should celebrate the weird and the frugal, writes NEIL McDONALD
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.