Korean manufacturer Ssangyong is not exactly a fashionable name in the UK car market but it has historically done business in a small but useful niche – large, robust and cheap 4×4 towcars (Rexton) and people carriers (Rodius).
Ssangyong has been absent from the UK for a few years but is now returning with a promising new model and a couple of old favourites.
The Rexton and Rodius still feature in Ssangyong’s model range but the Korando is an all-new, European-styled model aimed at the mass market – albeit with a bias towards towing enthusiasts.
The Ssangyong Korando is a crossover-style SUV that might remind you slightly of the Nissan Qashqai, with which Ssangyong hopes it might compete. It is far nicer to look at than any previous Ssangyong, thanks to styling by Italian designer Giugiaro. It is also designed for towing, with a maximum braked trailer weight of 2,000kg and a towbar noseweight of 80kg – far higher than average for this size of car.
Engine choice is limited to a 2.0-litre diesel that puts out 173bhp and a solid 360Nm of torque – great for towing, if a little gruff alongside more modern units. Three specification levels are on offer – S, ES and EX. S and ES models are front-wheel drive while EX models comes with selectable four-wheel drive.
Korando prices start at just £16,995 and all models are well specified; even the basic S model includes air conditioning, parking sensors, electric windows and cruise control. It should be ideal for anyone wanting an affordable but capable towcar and its low price and five-year unlimited mileage warranty might also make it attractive to anyone planning to keep to to high mileages.
If a 2 tonne towing capacity is just not enough for you, or if you want something with better off-road capability, then the Ssangyong Rexton may be the answer.
The Rexton is a large 4×4 with a 3.2 tonne towing capacity and a whopping 128kg noseweight limit. This makes it a member of a small club of large 4x4s with 3,000kg+ towing capacities.
At the very top of the pile is probably the Land Rover Discovery, which can tow up to 3,500kg and offers luxury, great handling and impressive performance. However, the Discovery has a starting price of £37,995 – almost twice the £19,995 starting price of the Rexton.
If you are going to do a lot of heavy towing and are on a budget, you could do a lot worse than buy a Ssangyong Rexton. Large catering vans, livestock trailers, car carriers and the biggest caravans will all be easy meat for the Rexton’s 2.7-litre engine, which delivers 163bhp and more usefully, 340Nm or torque. Like the Korando, the Rexton also has a five year, unlimited mileage warranty and should be a robust workhorse – even if it does lack a little refinement.
To find out more about Ssangyong cars, visit www.ssangyonggb.co.uk.