Ssangyong Korando SUV (1997 - ) review
Read the Ssangyong Korando 4x4 (2012 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives
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The styling is probably the Korando’s strongest suit. It’s a modern design and is far more cohesive than some of SsangYong’s previous efforts. The exterior was styled by Italian car design guru Giorgetto Giugaro and it really shows, with flowing lines, chunky wheelarches and nicely integrated features.
There’s no doubting the space inside the Korrando. In the back there is plenty of head and leg room, and finding a comfortable driving position is a cinch, thanks to a steering wheel which adjusts for both reach and rake. When it comes to quality and ergonomics, however, the Korando fails to impress. The plastics inside feel cheap, scratchy and not particularly well assembled and although the dash is simple and easy to use, there is a sense of fragility. The optional sat-nav/radio looks and feels aftermarket and the buttons to control it are on the wrong side of the screen, meaning you have to reach across it to operate them. The touchscreen icons don’t fit on the screen properly, either, and it’s hard to read the screen in bright sunlight.
There’s enough space in the boot, which measures 486 litres with the rear seats up. However, rivals such as the Hyundai ix35, Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5 boast greater capacity. The rear seats, however, fold right down, leaving a cavernous, flat loading bay for larger items. The flat floor and wide middle rear seat in the Korando mean that three adults can comfortably sit across the back bench. There are also plenty of cubbies dotted around the cabin, including a particularly handy one on top of the dashboard.
Ride and handling
The Korando’s ride is significantly better than any of its SsangYong siblings, but it’s far from being the best in the business. It’s not uncomfortable but it never quite settles and the soft springs and high-profile tyres lead to a fair amount of bounce. This also results in a fair amount of lean when cornering. The steering is slow and not particularly feelsome but the bigger issue is the deadness around the straight ahead, which makes it difficult to plot a smooth course. We didn’t get to test the car off-road, but we expect that the Korando will be acceptable on the rough stuff – with decent wheel travel, good ground clearance and part-time four-wheel drive.
There is only one engine available in the Korando – a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel – and it comes in two states of tune (149- and 173bhp). We tested the 149bhp version, which is brisk enough, but lacks refinement – it’s noisy at all speeds and emits far too much vibration. The quoted 9.9-second 0-62mph time is believable, as is the 112mph top speed but it’s not a car to be hurried. The power delivery is not ideal, either – all the urge comes in one big lump between 3- and 4,000rpm. This means that there isn’t the flexibility that you would find in other, more modern diesel units.
Despite the rather agricultural nature of the 2.0-litre diesel, it should be reasonably cost-efficient to run. Its combined fuel economy of 45.6 isn’t too far off its slightly less powerful and more expensive rivals. The Korando’s CO2 emissions of 147g/km are on par as well. SsangYong are also offering the car with a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty, which will bring peace of mind and is more comprehensive than many of its rivals.
SsangYong has a fairly impressive rating on Warranty Direct’s reliability index, even if the Korando is too new to have contributed. This, combined with the aforementioned comprehensive five-year warranty, means that owners shouldn’t have too many reliability issues. That said, the lack of quality inside does make you wonder how long some of the trims inside will last.
The Korando hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP, so we can’t make definite statements about how safe it is. It does, however, come with plenty of safety kit as standard. This includes: ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), two front, side and curtain airbags, ESP and active rollover protection.
Standard equipment is pretty generous on the Korando, with even entry-level models coming with alloy wheels, rear parking sensors and air conditioning, as well as MP3 and Bluetooth connectivity. Further up the range, leather upholstery also becomes standard.
If you’re after an affordable, stylish, spacious and reasonably comfortable crossover and aren’t particularly worried about residuals, interior quality or refinement then the Korando makes a decent case for itself. If you’d prefer a higher quality product, however, there are many significantly better alternatives available.