THE gravel track disappeared in front of me, angling down in an amazingly steep gradient with a loose surface.
But the SsangYong Korando 4x4 took me safely down without difficulty and, after going across a hillside at what seemed impossible angle, it took me up an equally steep slope with ease.
Impressively, it did all of this and much more without the standard centre differential lock being switched on.
Now if serious off-roading was all this latest model was about it would still have limited appeal, but later I drove it on the road and was impressed by its excellent comfort and wide range of other abilities.
The recently upgraded Korando has a new distinctive grille and headlights, giving a much improved look and well upgraded equipment.
There are four models to choose from - the two-wheel drive SE at £17,000, SE 4x4 at £18,500, the ELX 4x4 at £22,000 and the same model with a six-speed auto is £23,500.
There is just one very good engine option - a reasonably smooth and quiet 2.2-litre diesel boasting 178bhp - and that's enough for good acceleration whenever it's needed.
It's up to the best of the rest in the way it pulls hard from low revs, but it's not perhaps quite as smooth as the very best diesels.
Having said that, I was not impressed with the refinement of some diesels in 4x4s costing £20,000 more than this one.
The manual six-speed gearbox feels good in use, with a light clutch, and comfort is excellent on all road surfaces.
It simply rolls over speed humps and lumpy level crossings leaving occupants completely unruffled.
And although it rolls a fair amount when pushed through corners, it clings on well.
There are no gaps in the performance and so it pulls hard all the way to motorway speeds and beyond, which I found very impressive.
A two-tonne towing capacity has meant that it is popular with those who need to tow a caravan, horsebox or boat and the excellent interior space gives good legroom throughout.
The boot is big and square and with the back seats down, there's room for bulky things like bikes or a couple of large dogs.
All models come with electrically adjusted and heated door mirrors with puddle lamps, RDS radio with Bluetooth, USB and aux, aircon, tinted glass and roof rails.
Mechanical: 178bhp, 2,157cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 115mph
0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
Combined MPG: 48.7
Insurance Group: 25
C02 emissions: 152g/km
Bik rating: 32%
Warranty: 5yrs/unlimited miles