The SsangYong Korando has undergone a metamorphosis since it first emerged in 1983. Welcome to the All-New Korando.
It was born as nothing more than a Jeep CJ-7, but it was 1996’s Korando that got things going. It was an oddly attractive, curvaceous off-roading machine. Then, the third-generation model followed the SUV trend, helping to boost the brand’s popularity. And it’s the SUV formula that the South Korean marque has retained for the All-New model.
The recipe may be similar, but believe me, this is an entirely fresh car with new tech and mechanicals, as well as a different platform. It looks good, too; it has slicker lines, even though it’s the same height as the exiting Korando – and it’s only 40mm longer.
Inside, it’s a similar story. The cabin is far sexier than before, perhaps even better than the benchmark Nissan Qashqai’s. Sure, there are still some hard plastics here and there, but the switchgear makes up for it by feeling robust and durable.
The SsangYong also houses a lot of decent technology. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto feature and you get digital instruments on the top models instead of analogue ones. The Korando also provides different graphic displays that show infotainment, navigation and driving information in a multiplicity of ways.
Rear seat occupants get loads of head and legroom, and the boot is a reasonable size. That said; my test vehicle was furnished with a spare wheel under the load floor, which is excellent if you like getting your hands dirty sorting your puncture out, but it cuts into the cargo capacity somewhat.
The Korando enters the UK with just one choice of engine: a 1.6-litre diesel producing 136ps. But don’t worry, if you’re a diesel hater, a 1.5-litre petrol unit will kick in at the end of the year. And, perhaps more interestingly, an electric Korando EV will be ushered in by the end of next year!
Behind the wheel, the oil-burner sounds a tad agricultural. It’s worse at start-up, rattling like an old taxi. Fortunately, the clatter does calm down a bit once the engine warms up. It’s not fast, either. It’ll get you to 62mph from a standing start in 12 seconds. The steering is a little woolly, too, but ride comfort is generally reasonable. Furthermore, the delivery of power is smooth, helped by the competent six-speed automatic transmission.
At this moment in time, there are just a couple of trim levels to select. The Pioneer, tested here, is fitted with either two or four-wheel drive. It’s well-appointed inside with heated front seats and an eight-inch infotainment display. Outside, you get 17-inch alloy wheels which come with all-weather tyres. Then there’s the Ultimate model, which I also tried. This comes with leather seating, the earlier-mentioned digital instrument cluster and flashier 19-inch alloys. Oh, it gets LED lights, too.
And the best bit? Every Korando is given a seven-year warranty. Peace of mind, or what?
Car reviewed: SsangYong Korando Ultimate 1.6 Diesel Automatic 4WD, on the road price £31,995, range pricing starts at £19,995 0-62mph 11.2secs Top speed 111mph Engine 1597cc 4 cylinder diesel Euro 6.2 Fuel Economy Combined 43.5mpg CO2 emissions 170g/km Max Power [email protected] Torque [email protected] Transmission 6-speed automatic with manual mode
Tim Barnes-Clay qualified as a journalist in 1994 and is a member of the Midland Group of Motoring Writers. He initially trained in broadcast journalism and has worked as a reporter and news reader at various radio stations in East Anglia and the Midlands. He has also been a motoring journalist for the Mirror Group’s L!ve TV cable network and a presenter, reporter and producer at ITV Central in Birmingham. Tim is now an automotive writer, focusing on car reviews. He has media accreditation with all motor manufacturers’ press offices, and this enables him to test drive the latest cars. He also attends new vehicle press launches at home and abroad.
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