The fourth generation Ssangyong Korando aims to move this mid-sized SUV from the South Korean carmaker further towards the mainstream in the UK market. It's smart, safe, well equipped and delivers spacious comfort and an impressive load-space. Sounds promising.
This month The SsangYong Korando range now starts at £2499. The electric SsangYong Korando 'Ultimate' 61.5kWh automatic has been added for the first time, priced at £6999 (section updated October 2023).
Choosing a mid-sized family SUV can be an expensive business these days. The ones priced anywhere near £20,000 tend to offer weedy performance and a relatively cramped interior. It's far more typical to be looking at vehicles with an RRP of around £25,000-£30,000 for a 'Qashqai'-class family hatchback-based Crossover of this kind, with many of the plusher models sitting in the £30,000-£40,000 bracket.
So, what are we to make of this, the fourth generation version of Ssangyong's Korando? From launch, prices were pitched at a genuine £20,000, with a really nice one pitched at under £27,000. This model's also better equipped than most comparable rivals and can tow heavier loads. But all of this you'd maybe expect from a Ssangyong. Can this one though, offer a properly class-competitive proposition when it comes to things like fit and finish, drive dynamics, efficiency, and safety? Let's find out.
Three powertrains are now available to prospective Korando customers, but these days, all of them only drive the front wheels. The petrol choice is a 1.5-litre GDI-turbo unit with 163PS and 280Nm of torque. It's usually mated to 6-speed manual transmission but of uyou avoid base trim, it can alternatively be had with an auto gearbox. The other main choice (and the one that this car's core caravan-trailing and towing market will want) is the 1.6-litre diesel, which has to be had with an auto gearbox. Here, you get 136PS, but far more pulling power - 342Nm of it; enough to allow the car to pull up to 2.0-tonnes. If your Korando has the 6-speed automatic transmission, it'll also come with selectable 'Normal', 'Sport' and 'Winter' drive modes.
This fourth generation Korando has a firm ride that can sometimes get slightly unsettled by low speed bumps on poorer surfaces, but that's because SsangYong has intentionally chosen a slightly firmer set-up to reduce body roll through the bends. That's paid off. Aided by its relatively stiff chassis, this car flows from corner to corner with surprising poise, aiding the smoothness of cross country journeys.
The alternative to the fossil fuel variants is the Korando e-Motion full-electric model. This uses a 61.5kWh battery (only 55.3kWh of that capacity usable) offering a WLTP range of 211 miles. A 188bhp drive motor powers the front axle and the 62mph sprint occupies around 9 seconds en route to 97mph.
The usual robust Ssangyong SUV silhouette is complemented here by the rather smart "birds wing"-style front grille which has become a visual identifier for modern Ssangyong models. Plus, strong side lines are matched with curved shoulder creases that taper towards the rear of the car, as well as a colour-keyed bumper, a rear spoiler and a rear skid plate, all of which lend this compact SUV an air of understated sportiness. Dependent on trim level, Korando offers a selection of alloy wheel designs with 17, 18 or 19-inch diamond cut rims. The e-Motion full-electric version sets itself apart with a sealed front grille.
Inside, the integrated wrap-around dashboard design is said to have been inspired by the design of a classical string instrument. At the top of the range, you get the brand's innovative "Blaze Cockpit" package, which gives you a 10.25-inch digital cluster and a 9-inch centre-dash infotainment display with a colour choice of 34 infinity mood lighting options. There's only one body style option, a 5-seater - but you do get reasonable rear seat legroom. And a decently-sized 551-litre boot too, which is unaffected in size if you opt for the EV variant. Fold the rear bench and the load area extends to 1248-litres of space.
There are three Korando trim levels - 'ELX', 'Ventura' and 'Ultimate' and you can only have 2WD. The base model is the 1.5-litre 'ELX' petrol model; unfortunately, it's not possibly to have the 1.6-litre diesel with either of the two more affordable trim levels (or with manual transmission).
The full-electric 'e-Motion' version is also only available in 2WD form, and you can opt for either the mid-range 'Ventura' trim or the top 'Ultimate'-spec.
Got that? Good. On to equipment. Even the base-spec 'ELX' comes with features like 17-inch alloy wheels and cruise control. All the diesel variants get heated front seats, fabric and faux-leather upholstery, front and rear parking sensors, a heated steering wheel, an 8-inch centre-dash infotainment screen with smartphone-mirroring ('Apple CarPlay'/'Android Auto'), a rear view camera and a full-sized spare wheel. Standard camera-driven safety features fitted as standard across the range include Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Autonomous Emergency Braking System (AEBS), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane keeping Assist (LKA) and Driver Attention Alert (DAA).
You probably wouldn't expect a capable SUV like this one to be anything near class-leading in terms of its fuel and CO2 efficiency stats - and this one isn't - but its figures do get nearer to the prevailing class standard than those of its predecessor.
The petrol manual version manages a WLTP-rated combined cycle fuel showing of 37.2mpg and a CO2 showing of 172g/km. That's with a manual gearbox; you'll do significantly worse with auto transmission. The diesel auto manages 46.3mpg and 159g/km.
The e-Motion full EV version has a 211 mile WLTP-rated driving range and there's rapid charging potential at up to 100kW.
As with all Ssangyong models, there's the peace of mind of a seven year/150,000 mile warranty.
'Korea can do'. That's apparently what 'Korando' means - and it seems appropriate. After all, it's hard to think of a carmaker that has come so far, so quickly as Ssangyong. This Korando remains very accessibly priced and feels even more class-competitive in this fourth generation guise. Yes, as the brand itself would admit, this remains a work in progress. But the signs with this car are that this Korean marque is learning quickly just what European customers really want.
So how to summarise? Well we'd say that this Ssangyong is a difficult option to ignore if you need a really capable car of this kind. It can powerfully tow, will more comfortably transport five people than direct rivals can and offers up plenty of kit on a tight budget. You'll just have to get used to explaining to people what it is. And who knows, you might even end up suggesting that they try one.
People with a disability and carers who choose a new Ssangyong Korando through Motability will receive a brand new car, delivered by a Motability Specialist at a local Ssangyong dealership, complete with insurance, servicing and maintenance, full breakdown assistance, replacement tyre cover, windscreen repair or replacement cover plus a mileage allowance of 60,000 miles over three years.
This month, these Ssangyong Korando New models can be ordered through the Motability Scheme: