SsangYong Korando SUV review (2019 - )
The Korando is a mid-size SUV that aims to offer a value-for-money alternative to cars like the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Peugeot 3008.
The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.5
The Korando isn’t the best car of this type or size, but it is very affordable, and comes loaded with equipment. It’s also very practical, with lots of space inside for people and their things, and it has a stonking warranty. With a driving experience that’s entirely acceptable, it should have lots of appeal to cost-conscious buyers.
- Cheap to buy
- Huge warranty
- Some rivals are better to drive
- Overall running costs unclear
Interested in buying a SsangYong Korando?
How good does it look?
The Korando cuts a sharp look that fits in well with its rivals. The overall look continues the evolution that other SsangYongs, such as the Tivoli and the Rexton, have been going through in recent years.
All versions have alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights. The entry-level ELX has puddle lamps to light up the ground by the door at night, electric folding door mirrors, and rides on 17-inch alloy wheels, while the Ventura adds roof rails, a chrome grille at the front and LED front fog lights, as well as 18-inch wheels, a rear-view camera and front and rear parking sensors.
The Pioneer model, which is aimed at off-roaders and those that like to tow things, goes back to 17-inch wheels but keeps the same exterior kit as the Ventura, while the top-of-the-range Ultimate model features brighter LED headlights
What's the interior like?
Build and material quality in the Korando is very good. Sure, there are a few areas where some rivals might feel a little more premium, but they’ll be considerably more expensive. Overall, the SsangYong feels like a good quality interior with a couple of cheap-feeling bits, rather than the other way around.
All but the entry-level cars come with a touchscreen infotainment system that we’ve not had much time to play with yet, but it seems intuitive enough and comes with Apple Car Play, Android Auto and, on the Ultimate model, sat-nav courtesy of TomTom. The Ultimate and Ventura models also comes with a big 10.25-inch digital instrument panel in place of traditional dials, which is impressive at this price. You don’t get that in a Nissan Qashqai.
You sit very high in the car, even with the seat on its lowest setting, but that gives a commanding view of the road ahead, and there’s enough adjustment options, both on the seat and on the steering wheel, to get your preferred driving position.
How practical is it?
This is one of the Korando’s big selling points. There’s lots of space in here, with a 551-litre boot that outclasses rivals like the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Peugeot 3008 for size. Space for passengers is good too, with plenty of leg and headroom for even tall adults in the back. There are a good number of storage spaces around the cabin too, with deep door pockets, two cupholders and some cubby holes between the front seats, and a storage area under the centre armrest.
What's it like to drive?
The Korando has been set up to be comfortable and practical, and avoids the recent trend of some SUV rivals to be agile and sporty. So it feels very much like a heavy SUV. It is indeed heavy compared to its rivals, and that, combined with quite dull steering feel, means it’s a touch ponderous through the corners. But that’s made up for by an impressively cushioned ride. A slightly rumbly reverberation through the suspension isn’t ideal, but at this price it’s really nothing to worry about. Overall, it’s a car that doesn’t like to be rushed, but it is a comfortable place to be while on the move.
How powerful is it?
There are two engine choices in the Korando, of which the best-seller is likely to be the petrol version. It’s a turbocharged 1.5-litre with 165 horsepower, but we’ve not had a chance to try it yet.
We have tried the diesel though, which could be a better option for those doing longer journeys, due to the better fuel economy, or those that want to tow trailers or caravans. The diesel, in 4x4 models, will pull an unbraked load of 2,000kg. With 136 horsepower the 1.6-litre unit isn’t brimming with oomph, but it does have enough low-down strength to not feel strained. Pushing it hard yields little extra performance, so best to let it pull you along at its own pace, which should be perfectly adequate for most needs. We tried it with a six-speed automatic that isn’t quite as slick as the machinery found in some rivals, but again, it’s considerably cheaper than most of them.
A full electric version of the Korando is due to arrive in late 2020 or 2021.
How much will it cost me?
It’s hard to give a definitive verdict on the Korando’s running costs, as the all-important predicted resale values haven’t yet been released. But it’s safe to say that the Korando looks like value for money on purchase price alone. While the range starts at a similar price as Nissan’s Qashqai, the equipment levels on the Korando are much higher, which makes it look like you get more for your money. While we don’t yet have full fuel economy figures for both engine options, it does look like the diesel lags behind rivals for fuel economy, so that could cost you more over the life of the car.
How reliable is it?
SsangYong sells cars is small numbers so it’s hard to gain meaningful data on how reliable the company has been. It features in the lower half of Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index, which ranks manufacturers, but that uses data from out-of-warranty cars. SsangYong’s products have changed dramatically since then, so we wouldn’t read too much into it. Customers will be reassured that if anything does go wrong with their new Korando, SsangYong offers a very impressive seven-year, 150,000-mile warranty, which if nothing else shows confidence in its products.
How safe is it?
The Korando has yet to be crash-tested by safety organisation Euro NCAP, but will hopefully improve on the four-out-of-five star rating achieved by the last SsangYong tested, which was the Tivoli. Impressively, the Korando comes with all of its safety kit as standard across the range, including automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, which helps keep you in the middle of a lane. All cars also come with six airbags and two Isofix child seat mounting points on the outer rear seats.
How much equipment do I get?
SsangYong has crammed the Korando full of equipment and features across the range, with even the entry-level ELX model well-stocked. It comes with a leather-covered steering wheel, cruise control and automatic headlights, as well as keyless entry and manual air-conditioning. It doesn’t have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto though, which is a shame.
You'll get them if you upgrade to a Ventura model though, and you’ll also get fabric and faux-leather seats (with the front ones heated), as well as the digital instrument panel, front and rear parking sensors and the 8.0-inch dashboard screen. Oh, and a rear-view camera.
The Pioneer model comes with a heated steering wheel, but misses out on the digital instrument panel. It does come with a full-size spare wheel though, which the other models don’t.
The top-spec Ultimate model gets heated and ventilated front seats, with leather upholstery, as well as brighter LED headlights, push-button start and the digital instrument panel. On top of that, it’s got mood lighting inside and an electric boot lid on cars with the automatic gearbox. In addition, there’s a larger 9.0-inch screen and sat-nav courtesy of Tom-Tom, and dual-zone air-conditioning.
You’ll want to check out the Korando if you want to maximise the amount of car you get for your money. It’s comfortable, well-equipped and has a stonking warranty, as well as being one of the most practical and spacious cars in the class. It should please the die-hard SsangYong fans as well as appeal to plenty of new customers.