Joel Helmes reviews the Ssangyong Actyon.
We talk a lot about South Korean built cars on Behind the Wheel because generally speaking in 2012 they are actually pretty darn good.
But are the same dramatic improvements that we have seen in their cars taking place with their ute’s, 4×4’s and commercial vehicles?
Well if the Ssangyong Actyon Sport is anything to go by the other manufacturers had better start really looking over their shoulder.
I must admit I felt a little apprehension when handed the keys, Ssangyong have given us a bit of a mixed bag of vehicles since they arrived here about 15 years ago and I think even by their own admission would say a couple of models weren’t up to scratch.
The Ssangyong Actyon comes in three trim levels the Tradie, mid-range SX and top of the range SPR; I had the SX model in two wheel drive configuration.
Powered by a 2.0 litre turbo diesel engine mated to a six speed auto the Actyon is actually quite a nice vehicle to drive.
The engine and gearbox are both very, very impressive.
Delivering 114kW and 360Nm the engine never feels like it needs any more grunt. Acceleration is very good and it handles hills with aplomb.
The gearbox is as smooth as silk and I really liked the push button gear change switch on the selector.
The best bit is that not only is this one of the new generation diesel engines that runs nice and quiet, it also seems to have an eversion to using fuel, in the city this big dual cab used only around 9 litres per 100!
With a 75 litre tank that gives you a range beyond 700 kilometres in the city!
Away from the engine and gearbox the Ssangyong Actyon rides quite nicely, a touch on the firm side but that gives the vehicle a solid feeling on the road (many early Ssangyong’s were criticized for having suspension that was too light and floaty).
The steering is a touch on the light side and there isn’t a great amount of feedback to the driver, this I guess isn’t a complaint it’s just more of a feeling you would expect in a premium sedan rather than a dual-cab ute.
Inside you will find a good combination of comfortable and practical.
There is a fair bit of hard plastic around the cabin and the arm rests could be a touch softer.
The seats are quite nice, seating position is good, leg and head room also gets a pass mark.
There’s also a reasonable amount of cabin storage areas and the Ssangyong team have done a great job in keeping external sound levels to a minimum.
What’s even better is the Ssangyong Actyon Sport comes with most of the little extra’s as standard that help make it a little more user and family friendly including power windows, mirrors, remote central locking, cruise control, Bluetooth capabilities, USB and audio input, and of course air-conditioning.
On the safety front the Actyon Sport doesn’t yet have an Ancap safety rating but it does come standard with ABS, dual air-bags, and electronic brake force distribution.
Taking a step outside the cab I must say the external styling is light years ahead of the previous Ssangyong offering (which was unbelievably ugly!), and with nice touches such as chrome door handles and driving lights you don’t miss out in the looks department with the 2012 offering.
Summing it up the new Ssangyong Actyon is going to be a strong competitor to the more established ute manufacturers, the turbo diesel engine is absolutely phenomenal and is well worth checking out for that fact alone.
Pricing is another good reason to have a closer look too, you can jump into an Actyon Sport for under $32,000, that is tremendous value for money.