2008 Ssangyong Actyon Sports review

2008 SsangYong Actyon Sports review

CarAdvice rating:

Test Model: SsangYong Actyon Sports 4 x 4 Diesel 2.0-litre Limited automatic

Options Fitted: None

Recommended Retail Price: $39,990

On Road Price: Around $43,000

2008 Ssangyong Actyon Sports review
2008 Ssangyong Actyon Sports review
2008 Ssangyong Actyon Sports review
2008 Ssangyong Actyon Sports review

Where it sits: The top version of SsangYong’s unique–looking ute. The range starts at $29,990 for the two-wheel-drive manual with automatic adding $2000.

- by Robert Wilson

SINCE it re-emerged as an independent marque from the wreckage of Daewoo in 2002 SsangYong has been peddling its wares in Australia with modest success. It is the most expensive of the Korean brands, which keeps sales restrained. To pay $13,990 for a Hyundai Getz is one thing, to fork out $49,990 for SsangYong’s flagship Rexton SUV is commitment on another level. About 2300 buyers will make the SsangYong leap of faith in Australia this year

What do they get for their money? Uniqueness. SsangYong follows its own path. Its truck-building heritage shows up in separate chassis underlying all its models and in styling its philosophy seems to follow Oscar Wilde’s dictum that be that the only worse thing than being talked about is not being talked about. Better for an upstart maker to be noticed and reviled than blend into the background.

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2008 Ssangyong Actyon Sports review
2008 Ssangyong Actyon Sports review
2008 Ssangyong Actyon Sports review
2008 Ssangyong Actyon Sports review

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The ultimate expression of this idea is the SsangYong Stavic people mover, which has generated much more vitriolic ink than its modest sales could ever justify. Motoring writers love it because it gives them license to give their nasty side full throttle. Writing for another publication I once said the Stavic was so ugly owners should be careful not to leave it parked on the street on council clean-up day.

The Actyon provokes similar responses. While the overall silhouette and proportions are fine, to some eyes the clash of angles in its front styling makes it look like one of those unfortunate vehicles you sometimes see on their way to the panel beater after rear-ending the car in front.

I see an avian influence. It looks like a giant – and not very happy – bird of prey with its beady eyes and massive beak. But get over it – or stick a bullbar on it if you live in the country – because the surprising news is that the Actyon Sports is not all bad.

The Actyon Sports is a ute version of the Actyon SUV and like that vehicle is available with petrol and diesel engines in two and four-wheel drive. CarAdvice drove the top model in the ute range, the diesel Limited automatic, priced at $39,990.

2008 Ssangyong Actyon Sports review
2008 Ssangyong Actyon Sports review
2008 Ssangyong Actyon Sports review
2008 Ssangyong Actyon Sports review

Utes are not known for their generous standard equipment but the Actyon Sports Limited is equipped to something approaching luxury car levels. It has ABS, rear disc brakes (rare in this class), a quite appealing set of 18-inch alloys, climate control air conditioning with rear ducting, electrically-adjustable heated front seats, reverse parking sensors, power-folding mirrors, rain sensitive wipers, manual headlight levelling and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. The Actyon’s front airbags were rare in any 4WD ute until recently – but it missed the chance to up the ante by having side airbags.

The range begins at $29,990, for the basic two-wheel-drive model with rear drum brakes and 16-inch steel wheels. But even it has a standard plastic tray liner, immobiliser, keyless entry, alarm, front and rear mudflaps, front and rear fog lamps, electric windows, power mirrors, a four-speaker CD sound system with steering wheel controls and air-conditioning, not bad in a sector where some manufacturers will charge you more than $50,000 for a vehicle with no internal mirror adjustment.

Cabin fit and finish are fine but some of the plastics are hard and brittle in feel. Control layout is a little eccentric, with large circular clusters of buttons for minor functions, although all the major systems are more-or-less where you’d expect to find them. The handbrake is on the left of the transmission and the indicators are on the left of the steering column. Anyone familiar with Korean cars will recognise the tobaccoey interior smell and over-tanned steering wheel leather of the Actyon as common with most cars from that part of the world.

2008 Ssangyong Actyon Sports review
2008 Ssangyong Actyon Sports review
2008 Ssangyong Actyon Sports review
2008 Ssangyong Actyon Sports review

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It’s a roomy cabin by ute standards, with plenty of head room and above average rear seat comfort. There are no child seat anchors although there are bolt-holes for them and there’s only a lap belt for the centre back-seat passenger. The front seat is also well bolstered and a closer, more supportive fit than often found in this class of vehicle.

The other aspect of roominess in a dual cab ute is the tray. At 1275mm long, 1610mm wide and 540mm deep the Actyon Sports’ tray is between 150 and 200mm shorter than that of a typical Japanese competitor but wider and deeper. The press kit mentions an 828kg load limit for the tray, up 200kg on the old Musso ute.

SsangYong have long had a technical cooperation relationship with Mercedes-Benz and the Actyon’s 2.0-litre diesel engine is based on a Mercedes-Benz design. With common-rail injection and a variable geometry turbocharger it delivers a respectable 104kW at 4000rpm and 310Nm at 1800rpm. SsangYong claims fuel consumption of 8.7 litres per 100km for the auto and 8.0l/100km for manual versions. On test it used 10.5 l/100km.

On the highway it cruises along with passenger car levels of refinement, only rarely does it need to be pushed hard enough to deliver the thrashing, braying sound that diesel utes used to inflict on their drivers from the moment the key was turned.

But there’s a major irritant in the way it coordinates with the Actyon’s Australian-made four-speed automatic. (that’s right folks, the same box as in Ford Falcons so at least overhauls will be cheap). Turbo lag, or more accurately, a combination of boost threshold lag,a modest torque endowment and a two-tonne mass can be a hassle when trying to move off smartly from rest.

Typically you’ll spot a gap in traffic while trying to get on to a busy road and push down the pedal. Nothing happens, you start saying “come one, come on, come on!”and then you bolt forward just as the gap is closing. After a whjile you learn to compensate and anticipate but spoils an otherwise impressive combination that is smooth-shifting and suffers less than expected form only having four speeds.

Off-roading was limited to a brief excursion over some rather damp fire trails but a 2.48:1 low range reduction ratio is good sign that the Actyon Sports might be a reasonably useful device in the bush . It’s selected by a small rotary switch rather than a lever. Unfortunately there’s no rear limited slip differential, which could be a weakness on muddy or severely rutted tracks.

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On road it impressed with a very refined manner at highway speeds. Ride is well above ute standards thanks to a five-link coil-sprung rear axle –passenger car technology until a few years ago. There’s none of the unladen tail-happiness that afflicts many other utes and although it gets jiggly and a little noisy over broken bitumen there’s no effect on directional stability. In some competitors the driver would be working the wheel like Ari Vatanen just to keep in a straight line.

That’s not to say the Actyon is any sort of sporty handler – it isn’t. It handles like two-tonne 4WD ute – but it feels a touch above the pretty low dynamic standards of its class. Despite being rack and pinion the Actyon’s steering is not great, with virtually no communication about what’s happening at the road surface. It’s reasonably accurate at straight-ahead, though.

The Actyon Sports is no beauty – but its not the beast I’d feared it would be. If you’re looking for a ute that has comfortable passenger accommodation, good fuel consumption and your loads are bulky rather than heavy, it is worth putting on your shopping list.


SsangYong Actyon Sports
Engine : 2.0 litres
Power : 104kW
Torque : 310Nm
Performance:N/A
Top Speed : N/A
Length: 4965mm
Weight: 1934kg
Luggage capacity: 1275x1610x540mm
Safety:ABS – front airbags – front seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters
ANCAP Rating : not tested
Wheels 18-inch
Turning Circle : 12.4 M
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km Fuel
Fuel tank: 75 litres
Combined Consumption : 8.1- 8.7 litres/100km
Fuel Type : diesel




  • Anthony

    Wow.

    100kw ute? hahahahaha

  • Grant

    butt ugly in and out, underpowered and not cheap enough.

    if i was in the market i’d be getting a couple year old hilux, navara etc

  • greg

    U.G.L.Y. mother, I vomit all over the place ever time I see one of these ssanyyongy’s..

  • Duck

    Better than the “Musso Sports Ute” Ssang Yong use to make. But it still looks very ugly specialy from the front! Id rather spend a few extra $1000 for a rodeo etc.

  • jbot

    It doesn’t matter how good or how powerful a ute is if it is that ugly. Surely no one will buy it anyway.

  • Duck

    I tell you what if Ssang Yong reduced the car cost(amount) by about $5000 id think about buying it! But then i’ll still be miserable with everybody laughing at me and saying how ugly my car is!

  • http://www.geardiary.com Mitchell Oke

    Agreed, you’d be better buying something second hand like a Toyota that will never die, has some street-cred for said reliability, and doesn’t look like it ran into a towbar before it made it to the dealership.

  • Frugal One

    2300 punters plonked down coin for this brand in 07′.

    P.T.Barnum was 100% correct!:-)

    Cheers

    F-0

  • Anthony

    Even if it was a sexy Aston, at 100kw it is not a ute.

  • http://www.importjap.com/blog ImportJap

    How can any carmaker get it so wrong?!

  • Tonyn

    i reckon if it has the rextons front on it it might look half decent…. i have to say i have driven one and its quite a good thing

  • bubba ganush

    It would be good as a farm work hack. its that ugly and cheap you wouldnt care if you backed into a few fence post

    buy it for a song and drive it to the ground

  • Duck

    We drove past one of these crap-ssangs and i just pointed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Binaround

    Poor Ssanger, no pretty face, just solid value for money. I’ve owned a HiLux and wouldn’t have another one – overpriced and not as reliable as you’d expect. I think Toyota is trading on street cred’ it gained from the old FJ series.

  • Duck

    Binaround,
    If TP (Toyota Paul) heard you say that he would be spewing!

  • http://caradvice.com.au Swags

    I think it looks pretty “snazzy” – a bit similar to the Mitsubishi utes. Not as boxy as the holdens and toyotas. Anyway, just haggle the dealers down a few grand & it’d be worth it as it comes with a lot of features other brands charge as extras. It’s the most environmentally friendly ute around

  • Duck

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^But not the prettiest! HA!

  • http://www.hardfacewelding.co.za Herbert

    I bought my Acton Sport 4X4 over a year ago and the more i drive it the more it grows on me. So what if it looks different from the rest of the crowd. it is for those that do not follow the rest. Like the sheep in Aussie. they follow one another. Ssanyong makes its own statments and those that drive them do so too.
    Just drive it for a week and you will feel different from the rest believe me.
    Herbert
    TRUE SSANGYONG SOUTH AFRICA

  • Lee Boon Leong

    I have owned one 9 months now and have not regretted buying it at all. Comfortable, frugal, very quiet interior, good hifi set. Good top speed 160kph is no problem at all. Worth the price I paid.

  • Matthew

    Those who say 100kw is not enough for a ute are not looking at the right stats. The torque and when it kicks in is what is important in the power department and over 300nm is enough. Test drove one the other day and there seems to be plenty of power.
    However what is holding me back from buying is concern about parts and service availability, durability of the tray (if it will rust like other Korean steel) and real world fuel consumption. Would love to hear from owners about those issues.
    A crash test rating might reassure my partner.
    A three year old Toyota costs about the same but I would have to replace the seats and live with being as unoriginal as everyone else. ;p

  • Iva

    It’s no more ugly than the new bloated whale looking HiLux or the wierd jellybean looking Triton.

    I can live with the styling, but the tray overhand is enormous. Totally useless for carrying a heavy load. But then again every other twin cab on the market has the same problem – no space forward of the rear axle.

    I think manufacturers have lost the plot. No tradie would buy one of the new crop. They are aimed dead on at the weekend family recreational brigade.

    The grill on the Sport looks a lot like the front of an old Ford or Willys Overlander. OK by me.

  • http://2008SsangyongActyonSports David

    95% GOOD BAD CARRYING CAPACITY SUSPENSION SITS ON BUMP STOPS WITH 300KG NUDGE BAR COSMETIC & VERY FLIMSY SERVICE PERSONEL VERY GOOD BUT UPPER MANAGMENT DO NOT WANT TO HELP DAVE

  • Michael

    Got one a few months ago. The breaks are of concern to me as a result of a near accident. Is the pedal supposed to hit the floor in a emergency situation or if i were to put some pressure on it for 20 seconds?. My dealer seems to think its normal but cant find anyone else to say that’s o.k. Where can i get help?

  • Ian

    Ssangyong. Yes I laughed too, until we traveled over 10,000ks in outback NT in a Musso towing a 2 tonne trailer. Handled everything the toyotas did and used half as much fuel. So I bought a Sports ute which has just done a highway trip from Canberra to Newcastle and used around half a tank (around 34lts for 560ks, you do the sums). As far as the looks go they grow on you. Michael I have not had that problem with mine.( 6 months and going strong) Has it got drum or disc rear brakes? Try the roadside assist hotline. It may be a warrentee issue.

  • Kamil Y

    Well – as they say… you wouldn’t know it until you own one ! I bought mine – manual, full leather seats + sport deck.. and that was 3 months ago. No regret – but I chose this UTE over my two other cars. Why – the power and torque just absorb you ! This gem can shame a hilux 2.5, nissan trooper, isuzu 2.5 and even the triton 2.5… hands down !! Doing 170 km/hr is no sweat at all and cornering / handling beat all those wannabees as this is the only one with 4 coil spring and 4 all around disc brake. Small catch in terms if crgo handling… but then we are urban yuppies and not contractors… 4 golf bags and luggage and 4 golf buddies – we are o our way to hatyai… Malaysia to South Thailand is a breeze with Actyon ( need to have though… ). You want to know more… just email ok ….

    cheers..

    • http://caradvice matt roe

      hi

      just looking at buyin an 08 ssangyong actyong dual cab 4×4 ute auto SPORTS 100 Series SPORTS tow bar nudge bar roof racks new tires for 23,000 , im still concidering buyin it , i love it but am getting mixed reactions from everyone are they a good vehicle worth buyin, i dont want a vehicle thats gonna cost a fortune to service or keep on the road, it still has 8mths new car warranty left what do you think,
      regards matt

  • Phil G

    I have 15 months before I can get one, it is going to be a long wait.

    I own a Stavic and find it a fantastic vehicle, I just want to have the ute as well

  • Declan

    Bought the SPR dual cab and it the best ute i have ever owned what you get for your money is way ahead of its competion and fit and finish is way beter than the ford or holdens i use to drive , if you are not a bage snob take one for a drive and you will nevr look back

  • David

    I HAVE HAD MY DUEL CAB FOR 1 YEAR AND HAVE BEEN FAR MORE IMPRESSED THAN I EXPECTED, I BOUGHT IT FOR WORK AND NEVER LOOKED BACK NO PROBLEMS AT ALL, IN THE PAST TWO MONTHS I HAVE TAKEN IT, THE WIFE, TWO KIDS AND 1.7TON CARAVAN TO GOLD COAST FOR THREE WEEKS NEARLY 5000KM NO PROBLEM WITH IT AT ALL SMOOTH, LOW FUEL COST, COMFORTABLE AND I FOUND NO PROBLEM WITH PERFORMANCE OTHER THAN A LITTLE TORBO LAG SAME AS THE REST OF THEM. ONE WEEK AFTER I CAME BACK I HAD TO GO TO BOURKETOWN NEAR 3000KM ROUND TRIP INCLUDING HOMESTEADS, MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND OF THESE WERE DIRT ROADS I ONLY HAVE THE 2WD TRADIE BUT IT HANDLED IT WITH NO FUSS AT ALL WHILE TOWING 1/2 TON ENCLOSED TRAILER I WOULD RECCOMEND THIS CAR TO ANYONE AND I HAVE, I HAVE BEEN APPROCHED BY MANY PEOPLE ASKING WHAT IT WAS AND I WAS HAPPY TO TELL THEM. MOST PEOPLE SAID IT LOOKED DIFFERENT RATHER THAN UGLY AND WERE VERY IMPRESSED BY WHAT I PAID FOR IT

  • Face

    Have a 2007 Actyon 4wd Auto … Best car i have ever owned… Love cuising up the freeways with the trailor cruising past the nissans and toyota’s who do the run up at the hills, then eventually drop behind on a rise… (while i have cruise control engaged).. Done 75000k without a problem, goes everywhere the “real” 4 wheel drives go, but in comfort and with ease… yeah it looks weird.. butt ugly like a landrover? or butt ugly like a pregnant nissan? thats your call as i cruise past you with my feet on the dashboard!

  • Jamie

    I have had the Actyon Sports SPR Ute for 12 months all and all a good vehicle but the servicing is expensive, parts are not easily accessable and the dealer neglects to tell you that at approx 30000km you will need to not only replace the brake pads but also the brake discs, all tolled $1200. This makes an expensive 30000km service at around $1900, so although the vehicles are cheaper than a hilux or simular they certainly make up for it on parts and servicing and that is a let down.Very dissapointed with after sales servicing.

  • Andy

    I have a 2007 A200 sports done 35k in 19 months with only minor niggles!
    front pass wheel adjustment needs to be way out for FNQ roads or it will scrub in 4k (but thats the same for a 2009 200 series cruiser!!!!!!)and yes ssangyong parts are very expensive from the dealers but they can be got from the standard shops as OEM for cheap as chips! low micron particulate fuel filter change at 30k would have cost $250 just for filter from dealer but only 80 bucks for the same filter (delco) from parts shop over the road!!! tray has taken a pounding (I’m a tradie)few dents and scratches but is still good 2 wet seasons on. No rust anywhere that I can find and yes it can tow quite happily, 3 adults with 800kg in the back and a 2 ton trailer up a long steep incline raised an eyebrow among the hilux fans!
    Upshot of it all is I love it and so does the family. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!

    Oh and Bullbars are now available:
    http://www.ecb.com.au/model/actyon.htm
    http://www.ama4wd.com.au/index.php?a=details&subcat=262&id=1184

    • Ian

      Andy,

      Have you got the genuine Ssangyong tray? I’m looking to change over my tub back for a tray and would be interested in that you’ve got.

    • Michelle

      I am owner of actyon sports for about 3 weeks am having a problem with power loss. accelerator sensor was changed and fuel filters – which i was told were dirty. After 3 weeks … Any body else had this problem?

      • Ivan

         had same problem mine had accelerator sensor changed at 58000 ks but still getting ap1234 code was told it was a fuel sensor cant get any sense out of most dealers still love the ute tows 1.7tonne caravan terrific fuel economy

  • mjm154

    The problem with having looks that grow on you is that it takes longer to grow on other people. So where you are perfectly happy with the car, you’ll still have people pointing and laughing at you for buying something that looks like the back end of a bottom-dwelling fish. I park next to a guy who owns an actyon so that i never loose the car in the car-park, you can see these buggers a mile off..

  • Micke

    I’ve been driving an Actyon (five door, automatic) for a couple of months and couldn’t be happier! We have not tried it off-road yet, but it’s lovely to drive in the city. Much better steering than on the Audi A4 and the automatic is smooth (sometimes there is a little bump when going from 4th to 2nd though). Fuel is about 0.85l / 10km in the city and the diesel has good power. If you don’t need to carry big things in the trunk it’s a great buy!

    • FrugalOne

      Seems most are happy with them, bit nowhere with price, not as cheap as great wall or mahindra, and not far off the cheaper japper utes.

      is the parent company back in business or not?

      cheers

      • http://www.ssangyong.com.sg maeco

        yes

        nice to hear the feedback from the drivers,

        beauty is in the eyes of beholder, no one car is perfect for everyone, however im proud to say that ssangyong has its attraction ..

        Do contact me at 8322 2199 MAECO/ 9374 1715 JO
        a pleasure to show you around Our Showroom

        1094 lower delta road
        Motorway Building

  • hados

    Why do people always knock ssangyong for their styling yes they look different but are great cars at least this company doesn;t follow the standard boring design trends that seem set by the germans then slowly filters into other manufactures.
    ssangyongs make me like cars as they are not boring.

  • nik

    I just test drove one. Yes, they are ugly but my wife reckons it looks cute?!?!
    Anyway, I was very impressed after driving it. This actually drives like a car, comfortable, no harsh rear ancient suspension, plenty of torque, quiet. Definitely the best ute I ever drove (and the ugliest in my opinion).I feel sorry for the earlier buyers, these can now be picked up with about $5,000 discount from the earlier prices, now seems a real bargain at $23-24,000.
    Defenitely better than the mahindra or great walls and hey, how do these 2 look anyway?
    Yep, I’ll get one after squeezing the dealer some more.

  • Che59

    Def not the good looker of the bunch…. but drives very well! looking at 1 in Ireland at under 10K including Vat
    Really worth a Suffty!! plus you canny see what it looks like when your driving it!

  • Abo

    I own one and I’m disappointed and frustrated where I am
    this vehicle seems to have a manufacture’s fault in its
    clutch kit,mine is hardly 40000km under warranty but the Multi
    Franchise refuses to fix it so now I must pop out R25,000 to
    Fix it! This is my second Actyon Sport and th first one had
    the same problem and they fixed it free but now they don’t
    want to!

  • kingbros

    I test drove one today and I must admit, its the best drive I’ve had from any ute/van. I analysed the FORD RANGERS( too rugged, ride extremely rough and bumpy, interior basic), TRITONS (interior farely comfortable, highly over-priced, TOYOTA HILUX ( extremely basic interior,prides itself on the suspension but also over-priced for such basic features) MAZDA BT2500 ( just like the FORD RANGER just a different name), NAVARA’s( spacious, reasonably ok but serious tail end issues which causes most to skid or crash) but all in all, none has satisfied me and met my expectations like the POWER, FEEL, COMFORT that the Actyon has. At the end of the day, the looks has nothing to do with the performance and reliability of anything.

  • Cindy

    I drive a action sport and i tell you this the best car on the market. I have driven a vw toyota bmw and mercides but the best is the ssanyong may next one will be brand new out the box just n pitty it is so expensif the same price as n triton. ssanyong i will alwys support.

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