Car reviews - SsangYong - Sports Dual Cab - Utility range
Off-road capability of 4x4 model, comfortable and spacious rear seats, availability of flat tray
Room for improvement
Only available as a crew-cab, inferior on-road handling, ABS option on base model is far too pricey
23 Apr 2007
THE Actyon Sports is a no-nonsense ute that works hard for the money.
At $29,990 it isn’t cheap, but when you start to look at what it costs and what it is up against, the South Korean starts to look pretty good.
The SsangYong comes standard with features like air-conditioining and electric windows, which doesn’t sound like much to many of us, but when it comes to hard working utes, these are rarely standard features.
Aside from the fact it's a crew-cab, there's also the diesel engine which often adds a serious premium.
The Actyon seats five people happily as it is a real crew-cab, rather than a "space-cab".
Anyone who has been crammed in with big blokes on the way out to a work site in a space-cab would appreciate the benefits of the SsangYong’s spacious second row of seats.
You might have to take off the hard-hat, but there is also a fair amount of headroom back there as well.
As you would expect with a crew-cab tray, the Actyon Sport’s tub is fairly short at 1275mm, but that is on par with its main rivals.
Forget about trying to fit longer items like motorbikes in the back with the tailgate up.
Ssangyong says it is possible to fit one bike in, at an angle, with the tailgate folded down.
The tailgate is very heavy, no doubt designed with this in mind, which is a real pain if you are opening it frequently but gives it the strength needed to support heavier loads.
A durable plastic tub liner is a welcome standard feature that prevents a lot of potential scrapes and gouges.
If you need to carry bigger items, the larger, flat, aluminium tray is well worth the extra money - at the expense of aesthetics.
The standard rear-drive version has a ride height of 192mm, which is good enough for most applications.
For those working or playing in the dirt, the four-wheel-drive has all the ingredients of a very capable off-road vehicle.
The centre locking differential and limited-slip rear differential work well and the SsangYong also benefits from low-range for when the going gets really tough.
The on-road manners are not as important as they are in an SUV like the Actyon wagon, but it should be mentioned that the Actyon Sports is not a sharp instrument.
It tends to wobble around with a body that is not all that stiff. You can even see the tray vibrating considerably in the wing mirror on relatively flat roads.
The 2.0-litre diesel works well enough, although it does struggle with the 1803kg of the rear-drive model and the 1912kg of the 4WD.
It is hard to imagine it would go all that well fully loaded with its 830kg load capacity or towing up to 2300kg.
It is a good option compared to some rival petrol units though - especially when you consider running costs.
The Actyon’s combined fuel consumption of 8.0L/100km (ADR 81/01) is very good.
The five-speed manual does well enough as long as you don’t expect a slick shifting unit.
A better option is the $2000 four-speed automatic, which works well with the diesel engine and makes driving a lot easier.
The other advantage of picking the automatic is the cruise control that comes with it.
It is not a huge surprise that the base model is not fitted with anti-skid brakes, but the fact they are a $1500 option seems rather expensive for what is a very important safety item.
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