Motoring and Property Editor
10:47 PM 26th November 2019
Capable Korando – SsangYong’s SUV On Test
It had been a while since I had driven anything made by Korean manufacturer SsangYong, so the all-new Korando seemed like a good place to start.
Aiming to take on the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Vauxhall Mokka and the plethora of competent rivals, at first glance the Korando looks to be dressed to impress. It’s an attractive design and removed of badging, it could pass for a better-known European model.
Prices start from just £19,995, rising to £31,995 for a top-spec Ultimate edition.
The four-strong trim level opens with the ELX and with a generous standard specification, many will find this model caters for their needs. Expect to find air conditioning, cruise control, automatic headlights and a set of smart 17-inch alloy wheels.
Ventura is the next step up the ladder and brings heated front seats, parking sensors, cloth and faux leather upholstery and 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels.
On test here is the Pioneer variant. This model will suit those who need to tow a big trailer or caravan. Front or four-wheel drive can be chosen, and the wheels come shod with all-weather tyres. A full-size spare wheel and a two-tonne towing capacity complete the package.
The Ultimate model is just that, so you will find climate-controlled air conditioning, leather upholstery, a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system, LED headlights and a power tailgate.
There is a choice of two engines, a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol unit producing 163PS and a newly developed 1.6-litre diesel motor, good for 136PS. The latter comes exclusively with a six-speed automatic gearbox.
On the road the diesel engine feels reasonably brisk and faster than its on-paper 0-62mph sprint time of 12 seconds would suggest. The gearbox shifts smoothly and kicks down briskly when required, helping to make the most of the modest power available. A ‘Sport’ mode livens things up a little without sacrificing much in the way of refinement.
The 4x4 system adds a layer of reassurance in everyday driving and of course I couldn’t resist the chance to try a few muddy tracks. The Korando coped with some gloopy mud and wet grass, but lack of ground clearance precluded me from venturing on to some more challenging routes.
Back on terra firma, there is little to excite the enthusiast driver. However, safe and secure will suffice for many and that seems to be the SsangYong way.
Ride both on and off road is well gauged, with enough absorption to deal with urban potholes, yet firm enough to ensure that there is isn’t a surfeit of body roll when pressing on.
The interior offers ample room for four large adults to spread out, the rear leg rom being especially generous. And that generosity extends to the load space, a large 551-litre in size before folding the rear seats.
Material quality is fine, though look hard enough and there is evidence of some cheaper plastics in places, but everything feels robust and built to last.
Safety has been put to the fore with the new Korando. A six-airbag system is just the start, with all models also featuring an autonomous emergency braking system, Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Warning.
As tested, my Pioneer models weighs in at £28,495 and for that I would expect some sort of standard fit navigation unit. Apple Car Play and Android Auto are included, so that will be the route to guidance…
Rivals also offer climate control air conditioning at this price point too.
However, despite the slightly unusual standard specification, there is much to like about the latest Korando. Unless you need 4x4 capability, I would keep it simple and buy a base ELX model with the petrol engine. At under £20,000, it represents a lot of car for the money and one which SsangYong are happy to guarantee for seven years and a whopping one hundred and fifty thousand miles.
Fast Facts (as tested)
SsangYong Korando Pioneer 4WD
136PS 1.6-litre diesel engine
Torque – 324Nm
Six-speed Aisin automatic gearbox
0-62moh in 12.01 seconds
Top speed 112mph
Maximum braked trailer load 2,000kg
Combined economy 41.5mpg
Emissions 170g/km CO2
Insurance group 32D
7 year/150,000 mile warranty