While it shares its name and engine with the Korando crossover, it rides on an entirely different platform and features unique styling.
The flagship Korando Sports EX driven here is expected to cost around £20,000 and comes with 18-inch alloys as standard, tinted windows and keyless entry.
Inside, there are leather seats, a leather steering wheel, automatic air-conditioning, and a Bluetooth-equipped Kenwood stereo with USB and auxiliary inputs. There are also self-levelling headlamps.
Fit and finish are more convincing than in the Korando crossover, and the dash is more upmarket. However, although most of the switchgear feels okay, the cruise control switches and indicator stalks are flimsy.
The good news is it’s easy to get comfortable behind the wheel and there’s plenty of grunt from the 149bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel. That’s down to class-leading torque of 360Nm, at only 1,500rpm. Its part-time four-wheel drive works well with the smooth six-speed auto, too.
Considering it’s a pick-up, the Sports is impressively refined and has accurate steering, despite little feedback through the wheel. Rear multi-link suspension, a first for this class, helps give it more carlike manners.
It makes for a comfortable ride and, although it can be bouncy along a country road, it’s never crashy. But this set-up isn’t as strong as simpler torsion-beam ones used on rivals, so the Korando payload is only 630kg – less than others.
Running costs are competitive, with 35.3mpg and emissions of 212g/km of CO2 for the auto, and SsangYong is likely to offer the entry-level model at around 10-15 per cent cheaper than rivals. That means the Korando Sports should start at a competitive £17,600 when it goes on sale in October.