Ssangyong Korando Sports EX review: A boot big enough to carry a cow but does it cope with city life? | Mail Online

10 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Ssangyong Korando Sports EX review: A boot big enough to carry a cow but does it cope with city life? | Mail Online

The Ssangyong Korando Sports EX has a boot big enough to carry a cow but how does it cope with life in the city?

PUBLISHED: 22:00 GMT, 8 December 2012 | UPDATED: 23:28 GMT, 8 December 2012

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Every year I go round the country looking for the UK#8217;s best young kitchen talent in one specific area.

A snappy name for a competition, I know, but the quality of the entrants is exceptional.

What I didn’t expect was the way the Ssangyong Korando Sports EX drives. I clocked up 1,000 miles over the week and the two-litre diesel was a revelation

You#8217;d think I#8217;d have to feign interest in new ways of serving mince; Bolognese faces with spaghetti for hair, that kind of thing.

But how wrong you#8217;d be. I#8217;ve seen some amazing skills and even learnt a thing or two myself from these kids.

The only down side is that I have to travel around 400 miles a day.

At the end of that, all I want to do is soak in a hot bath and chill out in whatever hotel I#8217;m booked in.

As it happens, this year has seen me booked in at three branches of the hotel chain I helped start, around the time the kids I#8217;m currently judging were being born.

I was 22 when we started. I knew how to work hard, having come from the Michelin-starred restaurant at Chewton Glen, but those were the busiest years of my life: not a single day off until I was 25. Talk about trial by fire.

The Ј1,000 touchscreen sat-nav/media centre gave it a veneer of hi-tech, but I’d rather buy my own stick-on Tom-Tom or Garmin

Ten years after opening, the chain was sold on. It was a sad day, but we hoped the buyers would push for quality as much as the original team had.

Well, staying in three of them on this tour has given me the chance to find out #8211; and sadly, I#8217;m not so sure.

We always used to pride ourselves on deep, comfortable beds. The one I#8217;ve just been sleeping on is about eight inches high.

And I know it#8217;s hard to keep room service looking nice on its way up from the kitchen, but my steak would have been more edible if I#8217;d tied it to my car and dragged it along the road for a week.

This Ssangyong would have tenderised it a bit. It#8217;s a monster pick-up. Even parked next to my Toyota Hilux it looks big.

It’s got ESP, roll-over-protection and hill start assist, and those nice leather seats are heated at the front. It’s also got cruise control and parking sensors

You can have it with an open rear deck or with a rigid hard top like the one I had.

Opening the tailgate with a lovely, solid clunk I haven#8217;t heard since the Series 1 Land Rover, I discovered a never-ending cavern in which Lord Lucan and Shergar could hide.

In addition there#8217;s a rear bench the size of my sofa with reclining seatbacks, and two front seats the width of my grandad#8217;s favourite TV chair. For this price (they start at Ј18,295) it#8217;s a hell of a lot of car.

It’s possible the Korando Sports is a bit too farmer-friendly

Of course, there#8217;s a trade-off in that it#8217;s all pretty basic.

The Ј1,000 touchscreen sat-nav/media centre gave it a veneer of hi-tech, but I#8217;d rather buy my own stick-on Tom-Tom or Garmin.

Other than that the dashboard is all hard-wearing dials and switches not unlike my old Massey-Ferguson tractor. Which is absolutely fine by me.

What I didn#8217;t expect was the way it drives. I clocked up 1,000 miles over the week and the two-litre diesel was a revelation.

Although only 153hp, there was limitless low-end torque.

Good news if you#8217;re a farmer; the four-wheel drive can be set to low ratio for getting in and out of ditches.

But it#8217;s also good on a motorway, as you can overtake without huffing and puffing.

It#8217;s kind of half-rural, half-urban, this. Like any solid off-roader it#8217;s got a separate frame chassis so it can take its knocks.

But unlike other pick-ups it#8217;s got multi-link rear suspension to give a smoother ride.

There’s a rear bench the size of my sofa with reclining seatbacks, and two front seats the width of my grandad’s favourite TV chair

It#8217;s got ESP, roll-over-protection and hill start assist, and those nice leather seats are heated at the front. It#8217;s also got cruise control and parking sensors.

The down side of the gentrifying is that it can#8217;t quite hump as much weight as other pick-ups. It can carry 643kg (about one cow) and tow 2.3 tons (about three cows).

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