Which would you prefer to eat? Kimchee from Korea or pad thai from Thailand. That's what it's like when it comes to one tonne utes. Most of the ones we get here are out of Thailand, but the Ssangyong Actyon is from Korea. We were keen to give it a try because we see Korea as more advanced than Thailand.
And the new Actyon Tradie - the entry level model in Ssangyong's new ute lineup reinforces this notion in plenty of areas. It's a good thing as well as being a much better looker than the previous model.
It sells for $26,990 for the six-speed manual we drove last week. This is the steel wheel special, the work truck that never has an empty tray, the one that lives outside and never gets a wash, rarely a service.
And get this, even though it's the base model the Tradie scores Bluetooth phone and audio, a soft feel dash and other cabin touch points, aircon, remote central locking including the spring loaded tailgate and a multi-function steering wheel.It needs a left foot rest for the driver and the handbrake lever mover on the right side. Apart from that, Tradie is full steam ahead.
This is a complete revamp of that ladder chassis vehicle with a new front, new interior and new powertrain including a 2.0-litre turbodiesel with a variable geometry turbo from VM Motori in Italy. There's plenty of power and torque from the engine that's good for 114kW/360Nm, the latter from a low 1500rpm.
And Ssangyong has geared the Tradie right with a low first to get off the mark smartly when heavily loaded, well spaced intermediates and a high but not too high top for cruising. Fuel consumption is good at 7.3-litres/100km which gives a 1000km plus range from the 75 litre tank.
The four-door dual-cab body offers room for five and access through the rear doors is easy. There's a tray liner protecting the painted two square metre tray bed. A tray bar to tie on lengths of timber or ladders over the roof would be handy.
This one feels solid as a rock and yet has coil spring rear suspension and rides like a passenger car even when unladen. Look underneath and there's a big diff, large springs and fittings, robust tailshaft - stuff that looks like it can take a pounding.
We did a bit of that too loading the Tradie with nearly a tonne of pavers despite the load capacity being about 850kg. Handled it no trouble.
We like it. Love the price and would definitely prefer an Actyon to a Chinese take away. The time Mercedes-Benz spent with Ssangyong had a positive engineering effect in that the latter knows how to build a truck.
SsangYong Actyon Tradie
Price: from $25,282
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel, 114kW/360Nm
Tranmission: 6 speed manual
Thirst: 7.3L/100 km (RWD), 7.4L/100km (4x4)