Double take for Korandos with the same name

THERE is a US Baseball team which suffers the confusion of having two players with the same first and second names as well as the same middle initial. What makes it even more remarkable is that they are brothers and both are named after their father.

On the plus side, it makes life easier for mother who doesn’t have to go through the entire family roll call before hitting on the right name. On the minus side it’s confusing for everyone else.

SsangYong has caused a similar confusion/non confusion by giving its two latest vehicles the same name even though they are not, strictly speaking, in the same sector. It’s easy to see why it was done and not totally unheard of in the automotive world - think Mitsubishi Shogun, for example. It may be confusing at first but for us that feeling doesn’t last - not so for the baseball manager…

The recently launched Korando SX 4x4 is a crossover vehicle set to challenge the Nissan Qashqai, the Kia Sportage and their ilk. Priced at £18,795 it is powered by a 2.0litre turbo diesel engine with 146bhp at its disposal and is well-matched to an excellent six-speed manual transmission.

Its claim to fame is that under normal circumstances it is a 2WD vehicle with an automatic torque-on-demand system. This constantly monitors wheel grip in all four corners and switches to 4WD mode distributing power all round only when it senses the need. Drivers have no input and most will be unaware of its activity. The four-wheel-drive lock, however, is under driver control. It ensures a 50:50 spread of torque front and back at low speeds on slippery surfaces.

The SX has a high driving position, plenty of room for five, a two tonne towing ability and includes roof rails, tinted glass, rear parking sensors, cruise control and Bluetooth as standard. The interior is well-made and comfortable with rear seats which recline.

It has a towing weight of two tonnes, acceleration to 62mph takes less than 10 seconds; CO2 clocks up at 147g/km and 199g/km depending on model and transmission. Average fuel consumption is officially 45mpg. The flat loading boot is spacious enough for all the luggage and kit most families could muster.

Those who only drive on tarmac and have no need for off-roading technology should opt for the 2WD S or ES models which start at £16,995.

The similarly named but completely different SsangYong Korando Sports is a new pick-up from the Korean brand due to be launched here in the next few weeks which in some countries is known as the Actyon.

Classed as a light commercial vehicle, it’s large, long wheel-based and wide tracked. It sits on 16 or 18-inch wheels and so high is it that use has to be made of the surrounding step and grab handles to effect entry to the five-seater, four-door cab.

Once hoisted on board it offers a commanding view of the road in surprisingly comfortable surroundings. Forward and side visibility are excellent, rearward is restricted by bars if the optional payload cover is in place.

Powered by a 2.0litre turbo-charged diesel engine with 152bhp at its disposal, the 4x4 Korando Sports is a rock solid workhorse that can haul up to 2.3tonnes but is not so rough round the edges that the family will refuse to travel in it - quite the opposite.

The rear passenger area will take three with ease; all have reclining seats, grab handles, storage spaces and a low, flat transmission tunnel. Front seat occupants also have comfortable seats and are divided by a solid storage area. The driver has a stretch to the handbrake which is nestled up to the passenger seat but, on the plus side, the console is angled for easy-read and the instrumentation behind the steering wheel is clear.

Standard SX spec includes air con, Bluetooth, 16-inch alloys, trip computer, CD/radio, headlamp levelling, ESP, hill start assist, fog lamps and dual airbags.

Stump up the extra for EX trim and leather interior, heated front seats, power driver’s seat, 18-inch alloys, power folding door mirrors and rear parking sensors are included in the price. A six-speed automatic transmission is optional and includes cruise control - a working day behind the wheel suddenly got a whole lot easier.

Regardless of trim, the rear flat load space adds up to 2.04m2 and includes anchor points and an optional hard top. On the road, handling is solid and reliable with coil sprung rear wheel suspension for a smoother ride. The tight six-speed manual transmission coupled with steering that is lighter than might be expected for such a large vehicle makes it far easier to drive than its size might suggest.

CO2 emissions clock up at 199g/km and expect around 31mpg on average - nearer mid-20mpg if it’s off road and working hard.

Prices have yet to be confirmed but SsangYong execs are quoting £20,000 for the business customer (minus VAT) which is very competitive especially when the five year unlimited mileage warranty is added to the mix.