No place like where the Actyon is

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 September, 2010, 12:00am

There's something delightfully eccentric about the SsangYong Actyon Sports 2.0, and that's even before you get to the spelling.

Did somebody at the factory forget to add something on the rear end of the vehicle?

Or did somebody else put in a couple of extra suspension bars by mistake?

It would look right parked in front of Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock, and it seems tailor made to pull up at a dude ranch in Montana.

Place it on an arrow-straight road, slicing through the Russian tundra, headed toward the horizon beneath lowering storm clouds, and it would appear to be in its natural habitat.

However, in Hong Kong, this is certainly a car - or is it a van, or a people carrier, or a scaled-down truck? - which stands out from the rest of the pack.

I'd planned to make this a quick test drive: through the tunnel to Kowloon, pump the gas a bit on the highway, then a couple of turns and grind to a halt some where in Mong Kok.

But I really didn't want to let go of the wheel.

Perhaps the real joy is of riding high above the traffic, not double decker bus altitudes of course, but still at a considerably superior position to all the saloons.

Pressed as to who buys this sort of motor, a company representative admitted that it goes down well with construction site foremen; while otherwise it is seen as a 'holiday car'. Personally, I foresaw being able to sling a month's worth of supermarket shopping into the trunk, even a whole load of suitcases and souvenirs shortly after landing at Chek Lap Kok. Regulations forbid stowing children in here, though parents might be tempted at times.

Maximum load is a tad over 430 kilograms, which is respectable to say the least.

Some other specifications are: 1,988cc; four-wheel drive; six-speed automatic transmission.

I had no call to try out the anti-lock braking system, but it's nice to know it's there, and so are the airbags for driver and front-seat passenger.

There's a bunch of extras as well for those cashed-up enough to install them, of which the DVD player, rear view camera and GPS are the most sparkly.

The Sports handles well, the instruments are laid out logically, and there's more than a little comfort spread among its seating for five. However, the real pleasure is of being at the helm of a vehicle that is just that little bit different.

And for anyone wavering over whether this might be the right automobile, the selling price is a fairly nifty HK$216,800.

Plus, not even the most absent minded myopic driver is going to be unable to locate this particular vehicle in a car park.