With a choice of engine types and the option of two or four-wheel drive, the all-new fourth generation Korando offers plenty of flexibility for SUV hunters. And when you add in great styling, nice handling, a seven-year warranty and the asking price, it’s quite a catch.
The goodOutstanding value for money, great styling and good handling
The badCompeting in overcrowded sector with so much choice
SsangYong Korando 1.5 GDI-turbo Ultimate Auto – First Drive (2019)
SsangYong was once considered the bargain basement manufacturer building budget cars that were cheap and cheerful, but the Korean marque has turned a corner in recent years developing high quality vehicles that are excellent value for money.
And anyone looking for proof of that transition should check out the all-new fourth generation Korando – a practical family SUV that looks dynamic, drives well and is packed to bursting with all the latest technology.
The Korando has actually been around since 1983, but this latest version really raises the bar. The diesel-powered models were launched earlier in the year and now SsangYong has released a petrol line-up.
There are four generously-equipped trim levels to choose from called ELX, Ventura, Pioneer and Ultimate. The petrol models are powered by a 1.5 GDI-turbo petrol unit with manual or automatic transmissions and 4WD available on certain cars.
Prices across the entire line-up range from £19,995 for the entry-level Korando ELX model with the 1.5-litre petrol engine and manual gearbox. The range-topper is the Korando Ultimate powered by the 1.6-litre diesel engine with automatic transmission and 4WD – this car will set you back £31,995.
There’s no denying the new Korando is very easy on the eye with its sporty styling, featuring a wide grille, sweeping light clusters, roof rails, a rippled bonnet, rear spoiler, front and rear LED daytime running lights, tinted rear windows and a powered tailgate.
We tested the high-end Korando Ultimate model with six-speed automatic transmission and 2WD. This car, priced at £27,995, looked the business riding on 19-inch alloys and the interior is very classy too.
It’s an area SsangYong has given lots of time and attention too and is a vast improvement on previous models. The soft leather seats are power operated and can be heated or cooled. The leather-trimmed steering wheel can also be heated and there are lots of soft touch surfaces, chrome trim, a piano black dashboard fascia, plus a whole host of creature comforts to explore.
On-board techno treats include an upmarket nine-inch high definition touchscreen, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone connectivity, TomTom navigation, a reversing camera, a DAB radio, a six-speaker sound system with iPod and Bluetooth link-up and 10.25-inch instrument cluster.
So the latest Korando looks the business and is very well kitted out, but how does it perform when put to the test? The answer is very well indeed. According to the official stats, it can reach 60mph from a standing start in 12.0 seconds and tops out at 117mph, while delivering 35.8mpg under stricter WLTP testing with carbon emissions of 162g/km (NEDC).
Despite the larger wheels, the car was nicely balanced and the road holding proved confident too. There are three drive modes to switch through called Normal, Sport and Winter and these alter the vehicle’s characteristics, with Sport delivering a livelier performance. There are also steering wheel mounted paddles for extra driver engagement.
Out on the faster roads, the acceleration through the automatic gearbox is smooth and responsive. And there is ample power on tap from the punchy engine to help make light work of overtaking slower moving vehicles.
The driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility thanks to an elevated seating position – this is another plus point as it is a car that’s likely to feature regularly on the dreaded school run with pedestrians, children, cyclists and pushchairs emerging from all angles.
The new Korando can carry five adults when necessary and there will be few complains from passengers sitting in the back as they are treated to ample leg, head and shoulder room. Storage space is impressive too with a boot capacity of 551 litres – drop the 60:40 split-folding rear seats and that limit increases to 1,248 litres. A glovebox, deep central cubby, seat pockets, cup holders, a sunnies holder and practical door bins offer additional storage options.
Safety is another area where the latest Korando excels gaining a maximum five stars when tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating. And it’s great to see that even the entry-level ELX model features all the safety systems too, including the likes of Autonomous Emergency Braking and High Beam Assist as standard.
So, all in all, the latest SsangYong Korando seems to tick all the relevant boxes for a compact family SUV. It looks dynamic in its styling, it’s practical, drives well, is very safe and boasts all the latest infotainment and connectivity features we demand these days.
Admittedly, the car is up against some very stiff and well recognised opposition in a fiercely competitive sector, but it’s worth noting that the name SsangYong means “double dragon” in Korea and this latest Korando is certainly all fired up and raring to go.
SsangYong Korando 2.0 EX Auto
SsangYong is about to make its mark amongst the big boys with its highly impressive Korando.
With Nissan’s Qashqai, Hyundai’s ix35 and Mitsubishi’s ASX in its sights, the Korando is a great looking vehicle that boasts top notch specifications, an outstanding warranty package and a price tag that cannot fail to impress.
And when you add in the accomplished performance credentials, the Korando is certainly one to watch out for.
With five models to choose from with either six-speed manual or automatic transmission, there are three trim levels – S, ES and EX. Prices start from just shy of £17k and the more upmarket models even offer four-wheel-drive on demand.
SsangYong believes the top-of-the-range EX will be the biggest crowd pleaser, so the automatic version seemed like the ideal model to test drive priced at £22,995.
This five-door vehicle looks impressive from all angles thanks to tinted windows, twin exhaust pipes, 17-inch alloys, roof rails, body-coloured mirrors and door handles, smart light clusters and a distinctive split front grille housing the SsangYong emblem.
And the quality is just as apparent once you take your seat behind the leather, multi-function steering wheel with an array of controls, buttons and read-outs perfectly positioned for driver usability.
Creature comforts include air con front and rear, heated seats – front and rear, sat nav, rear parking sensors, cruise control with EcoDrive monitor, a sunroof, auto dimming rear view mirror and plenty more besides.
Although there is a bit too much plastic for my liking within the cabin, the build quality is still notable. The test model boasted soft leather seats in jet black which contrasted neatly with the cream interior and flashes of aluminium throughout the cabin.
The cabin itself is bright and spacious with ample room for five adults to travel in comfort. And there will be no limits on luggage either as the Korando boasts a generously-sized boot that can be expanded further thanks to split folding rear seats. Elsewhere, there are a number of useful storage options including the glove box, side door pockets, a central bin and sunglasses holder.
Fitted with a 2.0-litre, diesel-powered engine, the Korando was a pleasure to drive. Acceleration was sharp and smooth and the vehicle can sprint from 0-62mph in just 9.9 seconds with a top speed of 116mph.
Road-holding was impressive and the cabin noise relatively quiet even on rougher surfaces.
Another plus point was manoeuvrability as the Korando was very agile and nimble making it easy to squeeze into tight parking spaces, and all-round visibility would be excellent except for the central rear headrest which rather obscures the view.
Safety features are very thorough and include anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, hill start assist, plenty of airbags, electronic stability programme with active rollover protection and a great alarm system to keep any unwanted visitors at bay.
A further point not to be overlooked is the impressive SsangYong five-year, limitless mileage warranty.
Paul Williams, CEO of SsangYong Motor UK, explained. “This warranty is designed to be totally transparent and give our customers complete peace of mind. With SsangYong, ‘limitless’ means just that – not the 60,000 maximum mileage condition that some brands impose in their small print.”
All in all, the Korando is quite a vehicle and with its attractive pricing structure, it’s certainly one the big guns will paying close attention to.