AS more UK motorists consider it cool to have a pickup rather than a car as their personal transport there is one problem involving most of these vehicles which does detract a bit from their use for transporting passengers rather than a load carrier - the rear suspension writes Bryan Longworth.
For most pickups have old fashioned rear leaf spring supension which provides a much firmer ride especially for passengers in the back of the vehicle but the Korean built Ssang Yong Korando Sports has multi-link coil spring rear suspension just like a car which provides a much smoother ride.
In fact Paul Williams the Chief Executive Officer of Ssang Yong in the UK says that the rear suspension on Korando Sports means it is more a passenger car with pickup versatility than the other way round and it also has pleasing styling for such a vehicle.
Which is why the Korando Sports with its five seater double cab is proving to be such a popular vehicle along with part time four wheel drive and low ratio gears the rear load area plus its ability to tow a trailer or horse box up to 2.3 tonnes and a five year warranty.
Korando Sports which comes with two trim levels is powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine and my test car was the EXT top manual transmission model costing a very competitive £21,495 on the road with a top speed of 107mph combined fuel consumption of 37.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 199g/km.
It was loaded with standard kit which included a moulded rear canopy whose rear door was also activated by the remote door locker, 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, powered drivers seat, rear parking sensors, heated front seats and a load deck liner - options included sat nav and rather surprisingly a tow bar.
It was apparent as soon as I started driving the vehicle the coil spring rear suspension did provide a comfortable car like ride and I forgot I was driving a pickup also because the stylish rear canopy blends in so well with the rear of the vehicle it looks just like a car and I am sure that most people who saw it thought that it was a car and not a load carrying pickup as used by builders and farmers.
The Korando Sports with its rigid separate chassis handled quite well and the five seater interior with a large rear bench seat that had an adjustable back provided a roomy environment for those aboard.
I was also impressed by the smooth and quiet diesel engine which added to the driving experience and for most of the test period I felt as though I was in fact driving a car which was the first time I had encountered such a feeling in the numerous pickups I have driven over many years.
The rear canopy with its load deck liner and a carrying capacity of 643kg enables the owner to have a huge amount of space for when the vehicle is being used for leisure purposes and also for business use when the very effective four wheel drive system will enable the Korando Sports to traverse muddy tracks on farms and building sites.
My main grumble concerned the steering which needed too many turns of the wheel for tight parking situations especially which could be rather irksome and it would have been nice to have had a wiper/heater on the canopy’s rear window which had bars on it that also restricted rear visibility and the driver has to rely on the exterior mirrors most of the time.
There is no doubt whatsoever that the latest generation of Ssang Yong vehicles such as the Korando Sports is much better in every way especially styling and it is certain to have big appeal with the growing band of motorists going for a pickup as their personal family transport now that this one has rear suspension like a car that makes it much more civilised.
My Verdict: Britain’s best car like pickup.
Model: Ssang Yong Korando Sports.
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel.
Output: 153bhp @ 4000rpm.
Transmission:Six speed manual.
Drive train: Part time 4x4.
Maximum towing weight: 2,300kg.
Top speed: 107mph.
Fuel consumption: 37.7mpg combined.
C02 emissions: 199g/km.
Price: £21,495 on the road.