Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Jewels of Geneva: Ssangyong SUT 1 and Ford Ranger Wildtrak

The 2011 Geneva Motor Show is underway and it sure seems like the Europeans are getting a glimpse of far cooler machinery (both in concept and production form) than Americans have seen at US shows in several years. Okay, the Ford Raptor, GMC Granite, and Sierra All Terrain HD concepts are a few recent truck market exceptions.
Two vehicles that will stand out to Americans hoping for a legitimate US small pickup offering with diesel power are the Ssangyong SUT 1 and Ford Ranger Wildtrak.

2011 Ssangyong SUT 1 Concept

Ssangyong SUT 1
Korean automaker Ssangyong Motor (recently acquired by Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd) has unveiled their SUT 1 concept pickup truck at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. The concept pickup is likely to be based on a unitized platform shared with the Ssangyong Korando C SUV (Editor 11-Mar-2011: The SUT 1 is not based on the Korando C unibody platform.  It is actually an updated version of the body-on-frame Actyon Sports pickup.) The engine is a 2.0L 4-cylinder diesel (likely a design licensed from Mercedes-Benz) putting out 153 hp and 265 lb-ft torque, and backed up with either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission.

Despite its unfortunate name (sounds like ‘suck one’ to us, S-U-T doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue), the pickup is styled quite well. We suspect that the body concept was outsourced to an Italian design house as Ssangyong has done with the Korando C. Nothing against Mahindra’s styling department, but they should seriously consider using some Western consultation on their body design (although the W201 seems promising).

2011 Ssangyong SUT 1 Concept

The SUT 1’s wheelbase is about 2 inches shorter than a Honda Ridgeline’s and looks to have about the same amount of cargo space. It’s likely that a production version would get the same rear wheel drive or full time all wheel drive configuration options already available on the Korando C. Will we ever see it in the US? thinks we will. Based on the minimal success of recent trucks like the Honda Ridgeline and Subaru Baja, it’s questionable. Factor in the completely unknown Ssangyong name, and it’s probably a hard sell unless it has a really ridiculous base price. MP has been wrong before.
2011 Ford Ranger Wildtrak

Ford Ranger Wildtrak
The Ford Ranger Wildtrak is highest trim level of the new Ranger mid-size pickup that has been known for some time as ‘T6’ or the ‘Global Ranger’. This is the truck that many people wish Ford would bring to the US. The photos pretty much speak for themselves: it’s a killer truck and there are undoubtedly thousands of Americans who would love to own it, if they actually brought it here. How Ford can justify a prohibitively expensive halo truck like the Raptor but refuse to replace the outgoing Ranger with the new global Ranger is completely baffling. Seriously Ford, WTF?
2011 Ford Ranger Wildtrak

With a 7,385 pound towing capacity and a 197 hp/346 lb-ft torque, 3.2L 5-cylinder diesel engine, with manual or automatic transmission options… I’m sure that no one in America would ever want such an anemic and weak little truck. Obviously it’s terrible, so that is why 188 countries will get it, but the US and Canada will not. We can dream anyway.


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