No nervous herd mentality here
GORDON HALL rates the Ssangyong Actyon Sports as a double cab
THE name is barely pronounceable and looks Chinese, but SsangYong actually hails from Korea, and since February 2011 has been owned by Mahindra.
Current petrol and diesel engines are apparently sourced in-house, although an unspecified European cooperation is admitted to.
The pick-up was extensively restyled in time for the 2012 Frankfurt Motor Show. It needed it.
It now looks more conventional, which is good, because manne don’t like being seen in anything really different. It’s that nervous herd mentality your boss calls “being a team player”.
The new e-Xdi200 two-litre diesel puts out 10 kW and 50 Nm more than the old engine did, while maximum torque kicks in earlier.
SsangYong says it also improved the Actyon Sports’s NVH, with a new engine cover and a double-layer construction and soundproofing for the dashboard, along with slanted engine mounts to minimise vibration.
Standard equipment includes a sixspeed manual transmission (fivespeed on the petrol model), two air bags, electronically switchable 2H, 4H and 4L drive modes, ABS, manual air conditioner, 16” alloy wheels, radio and CD player with USB and auxiliary, keyless entry, powered windows and mirrors, and an immobiliser with alarm.
The range-topping 4x4 diesel gains a few extra toys, including ESP, automatic air conditioning, 18-inch wheels, cruise control, a backup alarm, leather covers for the steering wheel and gear knob, and fog lights at the back.
Speaking of the back, you will find that the bin, while deep, is noticeably smaller than that of some competitors. Specifically, it’s 1 275 mm long, 1 600 mm wide and 525 mm deep.
It’s rated at only 383 kg, but total carrying capacity with passengers is still a pretty decent 860 kg. Gross braked towing mass is 2 300 kg.
The reasoning is that because this is primarily a leisure vehicle, loading space could be reduced to make the cabin bigger.
The SA Standard Tall Passenger approves. He allocated 10 points out of 10 for head, knee and foot room. He also found that he could get in and out without bumping head, shoulders or hips while doing so. Why can’t all double cabs be like this?
On that subject, the new diesel engine is smooth and quiet, gearing is fairly restful at about 2 600 rpm for 120 km/h in top, it rolls on nicely at normal cruising speeds and you never get the feeling that you’re enduring something agricultural.
It drives like a car, in fact. Out on our favourite provincial dirt road, independent suspension with double wishbones in front and a five-way multilink setup at the rear, provided an almost featherbed ride, while maintaining good directional stability. For a body-on-chassis double cab, that’s excellent. It’s capable, too.
Our first off-road challenge was a steep, softly surfaced and rutted hill that had defeated a benchmark Japanese high-rider 4x2 a day earlier.
With 4Low engaged and just enough momentum to keep going, the climb was accomplished easily — al- most a non-event.
We aren’t punting the SsangYong as a new wonder vehicle; we’re simply saying it can keep up with established double-cab players.
After that, the remaining trails were just plain boyish fun, although we did manage to stall it a couple of times while driving gently. Operator failure or not quite enough torque just off idle: who knows?
Overall, the Actyon Sports is evidence that affordable off-road functionality does not have to equate with noisy, clunky diesels, cheap and rockhard suspension or plasticky interiors.
Your barbecue buddies probably won’t accept it because it doesn’t fit the established mould, but that’s just their nervous herd mentality isn’t it? (Test unit courtesy of SsangYong Pietermaritzburg @ 310 Hoosen Haffejee Street.) The numbers Price: Engine: Power: Torque: Zero to 100 km/h: Maximum speed: Real-life fuel consumption: about Tank: 75 litres Ground clearance: Approach/departure/ breakover angles: Warranty: Service plan:
Geared and sprung to be used primarily as a leisure vehicle with a spacious cabin, the Actyon Sports can keep up with established double-cab players.