Dual in the depths
THERE’S only one ute sold here that’s made in Korea these days and it’s the Ssangyong Actyon Sports. Most are built in Thailand — some are good.
Ssangyong’s Actyon Sports dual cab still carries benefits from Mercedes-Benz’s ownership a decade or so ago. It’s now owned by Indian conglomerate Mahindra.
Look underneath the Actyon Sports and you’ll see evidence of that straight away — it’s all properly engineered, robust commercial vehicle stuff with a distinct European appearance to it.
The Actyon Sports ute came out with a hideous front a few years ago — that’s happily gone but the deep tray back and distinctive arcing rear guard styling remain.
Partial upgrades for the interior included the steering wheel control buttons for a number of functions, Bluetooth phone and audio and easier to use switch gear.
Ssangyong didn’t go as far as an infotainment screen, which could have included a reversing camera and satnav.
Two versions are sold here, the Tradie base model and the SX we tested. You can get the Tradie in rear-wheel drive and selectable 4WD in six-speed manual or five-speed auto. The base model manual is $26,990 and the better equipped SX in the same spec is from $28,490. Each runs a 2.0-litre turbo diesel.
Our SX, with five-speed auto (it also has sequential shifting), feels stronger than the numbers suggest, as it’s quick off the mark and has plenty of get-go across the rev range.
One thing that annoys is the stability control’s sluggishness when resetting — it kicks in if the rear wheels break traction (even a tiny bit) such as when negotiating a roundabout then after some uncomfortable seconds you get power back.
The engine is reasonably economical with a claimed 7.3L/100km. Given the 75-litre fuel tank, a range of 1000km is a reasonable expectation.
In tandem with the 16-inch wheels shod with road-oriented rubber, the rear coil spring setup delivers excellent ride quality. The tray load capacity is about 400kg depending on the model.
The deep tray is 1275mm long by 1600mm wide, the load lip is high but loading is relatively easy, while the plastic load tray liner and the strap hooks inside the tray are quite handy. The 4x4 setup should be regarded as a light duty offroader rather than a soft roader — some of the underpinnings are a touch exposed if you go rock hopping.
Five fit easily in the roomy cabin and, while there are some luxo features, the info readout is rubbish.
Standard on each spec are aircon, cruise control, power windows, heated windscreen wiper elements, drink holders, remote keyless entry, lumbar adjust on the driver’s seat. Bluetooth audio streaming proved too difficult.
The Actyon Sports has plenty to offer and feels good on the road, especially in the suspension department, which outpoints most if not all competitors for comfort.
As a workhorse, we’d probably just settle for the 4x2 Tradie.