SsangYong SUT-1 is now a production-ready prototype .
SsangYong SUT-1 is now a production-ready prototype .
SUT-1 has a five-seat double cab and a two-square-metre load bay floor.
SUT-1 has a five-seat double cab and a two-square-metre load bay floor.
SsangYong SUT-1 is far from being a budget Far Eastern workhorse.
SsangYong SUT-1 is far from being a budget Far Eastern workhorse.

Korean manufacturer SsangYong - best known in South Africa for its 'Powered by Mercedes-Benz' Musso SUV - has completely moved out from under the shadow of its German mentors with the distinctive SUT-1, first shown as a concept at the Geneva Motor show in March 2011 and now as a production-ready prototype at Frankfurt.

SUT stands for sports utility truck (what we would call a leisure bakkie), and far from being a budget Far Eastern workhorse, it boasts a sunroof, RDS and Bluetooth audio, leather upholstery on power-adjustable, heatable seats, rear view camera, trip computer, hinge sprung tailgate and an electronic stability programme.

The SUT-1's has a five-seat double cab and a two-square-metre load bay floor for loading adventure playtoys such as dirtbikes, quads, surfboards and scuba gear.

Its two-litre turbodiesel is Euro 5-compliant, emitting only 186g/km of CO2 (nine percent better than its previous effort, says SsanYong) while churning out a quoted 114kW from 3400-4000rpm, and 360Nm from 1500-2800rpm, with 190Nm of that available just off idle, at only 1000rpm.

That gets laid down through either a six-speed manual or a six-speed auto transmission, with on-demand, all-wheel drive in both cases.

Suspension is up to premium SUV standards, says SsangYong, with double wishbones in front and a five-link set-up at the rear, while specially tuned engine mounts minimise vibration.

Important under-the-skin stuff includes a rigid ladder chassis - this is one truck that should be able to work hard and play hard.