Ssangyong is no new kid on the block, manufacturing vehicles as far back as 1950, and the Korando was there at the start so, technically, it’s one of the longest surviving models of all time. This version, the fourth generation, is a step away from the rather odd looking vehicles of the past and is a good looker in the SUV market. Can it take on the other popular soft-roaders like the Hyundai ix35, the Mitsubishi ASX and Kia’s Sportage. Well after 9 days and 2300klm I reckon I have the answer.
Behind the wheel
There isn’t much to complain about inside for the price, there is high quality plastics throughout. The console and dash are well laid out and functional, and there is enough metal accents to offset the darker finish inside the cabin. The only mild complaint I would have is the cruise control stalk is located at the bottom half of the steering wheel. It’s extremely close which means that you often find yourself inadvertently switching it on with your thumb occasionally, and no seek arrows for the radio but merely a ‘seek’ button which means that you can’t control the direction of your radio station search, which on a long trip is a pain. That said the level of standard features in the Korando is impressive, and probably best in class for the money
The new line-up is available with the e-XDi200 2.0L R series diesel which is good for 129kW and 360Nm and coupled to a 6-speed manual box, the performance is surprisingly strong and it complies with stringent Euro V emissions. Offering enough performance for most, and should make a competent tow car. This engine is quieter than both the Hyundai iX35 and the KIA Sportage diesel variants and passengers are well insulated from diesel clatter. From idle, there’s plenty of punch, but you’ll need to keep the revs up near 2000rpm for smooth shifts, particularly down in the lower gear ratios. The six-speed transmission is a bit notchy, so the unit requires little more than a gentle nudge. At 110km/h the Korando cruises effortlessly in top gear, and overtaking on the open road is brilliantly easy. As far as 2.0-liter diesels go, this is one of the more refined units in play, with plenty of mid-range torque in all gear ratios.
Ssangyong offers the Korando with a choice of either all wheel drive or front drive variants, both utilizing McPherson Strut front suspension and multi link independent rear suspension so you would imagine the Korando would well planted but its not. Get on to a winding secondary road and the experience never fails to underwhelm,throw the Korando into a sweeping corner and the nose will lunge forward, the body will list heavily and only a distinct lift off the accelerator will get back on line. It’s not a pleasant experience. The opposition has it over the Korando in the the handling department especially the Mitsubishi ASX and Kia’s Sportage.
As I have said in the performance section, the diesel clatter doesn’t compromise comfort in the Korando. It features supportive seats that require little adjustment to find a decent driving position are also a bonus. The one-touch button for Blue tooth streaming from your i Phone – an absolute treat as is the ease of hooking up your hands free. For a compact SUV, the interior architecture has been well thought out. There’s considerable head and legroom for front and rear seats, as well as plenty of storage compartments. Luggage space is well catered for too with a large loading area behind the rear seats.
This is the Korando’s major strong point. There’s plenty of head-room and legroom, and with 486 liters of load space in the boot, it’s close to class-leading. If you want to lug big stuff around you only have to pull on a couple of levers and the rear seats will fold down to yield a useful load area. For the driver and front-seat passenger there’s an ample-sized central cubby and there’s plenty of room in the side-door pockets for you to store bits and pieces
There’s loads of it and for the price if you are disappointed you are expecting way too much. The base S Model Standard Features include:
Six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic transmission, Leather wrapped steering wheel and gear selector, 16” alloy wheels, including spare, Silver roof rails
Fabric seat trim, Remote key less entry, AM/FMCD audio with MP3 and USB facilities, Six speakers, Blue tooth with audio streaming, Power windows, Auto dimming interior rear view mirror, Cruise control with Eco mode, Tilt adjustable steering wheel, with audio, Blue tooth and automatic transmission shift controls, Power and heated external door mirrors with LED side repeaters and safety down light, Driver and passenger vanity mirrors, Optional rear cargo cover and net, Front & rear floor mats, Manual height adjustable driver’s seat, Trip computer, Center high mounted LED stop lamp, Alarm, Manual controlled air-conditioning with seven-speed fan, Roof mounted antenna
The -new Korando incorporates a full suite of the latest safety innovations including multifunction Electronic Stability Program (ESP) integrating active rollover protection, ABS, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist system and full traction control hill start assist,additionally the Korando comes equipped with six SRS airbags, electronic active head restraint for the front seats and multi load path body construction to evenly distribute collision energy throughout the vehicle structure for the best possible occupant protection in the event of an accident. Ssangyong has thrown everything it’s got at the Korando to give potential customers peace of mind.
This version, the fourth generation, is a step away from the rather utilitarian iterations of the past and is a rather great looking SUV designed to take on popular soft-roaders like the Hyundai ix35, the Mitsubishi ASX and Kia’s Sportage. Clearly, it’s got a lot of decent, well-priced competition to beat and without instant brand recognition, it’ll have to be the complete article to justify its presence in such exalted ranks. In some respects it has to offer a lot more to potential customers to steer them away from Korea’s volume manufacturers. Has it got what it takes? Absolutely Yes
What is good and not so good?
What is good
- Spacious,stylish looks,
- Rear seats easy to fold down,
- Towing capacity, Diesel Engine
- Five year warranty as standard
- Blue tooth
What’s not so good
- Wallowy handling,
- Zero steering feel,
- Notchy gear change,