|The new Actyon Sport at the Kitenui Deer Farm, prior to off-roading. The animal, by the way, is a sculpture.|
So near, yet so far. I've been down Taupo way off-roading in the new SsangYong Actyon Sports ute. This one is totally revised compared to the previous model, which I always thought was pretty useless and ugly to boot. Not so the new model whose 4WD range starts at $39,990 for the six-speed manual and two thou more for the six-speed auto. Its two litre turbodiesel provides 114kW of power and 360Nm of torque from 1500rpm, but has almost 200Nm just a toe's quiver off idle. The SsangYong-developed engine is smooth, quiet, has one of the best CO2 emissions of any 4WD and is frugal on fuel. Both the six-speed manual and the six-speed auto are excellent. The manual has overall low gearing of 50.66:1, a creditable figure. The automatic, with its higher gear and higher final drive, manages an average 34.23:1.
All of this suggests the Actyon Sports might be an excellent off-roader, but it fails in some key areas. Approach and departure angles are a mean 25deg; ground clearance according to SsangYong is just 203mm. The front bumper will be gone the first time it gets in some serious terrain. On the other hand, the underbody bits and pieces are well tucked away in and around its ladder chassis. Suspension travel doesn't seem all that good and its electronic traction control will have to work hard. Unusual for a ute, it's on coil springs all around (but still has a reasonable 750kg payload rating) and has disc brakes at all corners.