What is it?

The SsangYong Korando crossover’s rural cousin. The Korando Sports may share its name and 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine with its smaller stablemate, but its pickup body (available with optional £1750 fixed hard-top as tested here) sits on top of a separate chassis, and comes with switchable four-wheel drive and a low-range gearbox for proper mud-plugging ability.

Unlike most of its competitors, the Korando Sports gets a coil-sprung rear suspension arrangement, chosen for improved on-road dynamics and ride comfort. It is available with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes. Starting at £18,295, the Korando Sports is around 20 per cent cheaper than its established pickup rivals, model for model.

What is it like?

Surprisingly well equipped, given its sticker price. Our mid-range EX model was equipped with heated, electrically adjustable leather seats, air conditioning, rear parking sensors and 18-inch alloy wheels. Additional equipment included the load-bay cover which, being styled and colour-matched to the rest of the car, doesn’t feel like an afterthought, and a Kenwood touchscreen infotainment system which is loaded with functionality including sat-nav and mp3 compatibility, although it is fiddly to use.

One of the few obvious victims of the Korando Sport’s low price is the dashboard, which sports a generic, unimaginative design and is swathed in scratchy plastics. Fit and finish, however, is more than acceptable, with hardly a squeek or rattle emitted. The switchgear, too, feels built to last the course.

Passenger space is generous, with even those sat in the rear cabin afforded generous shoulder and headroom. Legroom, however, is merely adequate in the front and somewhat pinched in the rear, although there is enough for passengers to remain comfortable on all but the longest journeys.

The 2.0-litre diesel engine is SsangYong’s own and has been retuned to develop more torque lower in the rev range compared to the rather peaky Korando crossover. With 153bhp and 265lb ft, it is enough to tow a braked trailer of 2300kg and get the brick-shaped pickup to a top speed of 107mph. The effect of that low-down pulling power is hampered somewhat by awkwardly spaced gearing. A short first gear – a sign of the Korando’s off-road intent – necessitates a quick change into second, where the engine is left wheezing beneath its torque band.

Steering is lifeless and the rack is very slow geared. While this is fine for off-road use, those who spend most of their time on Tarmac may tire of the constant arm waving in tighter corners or during manoeuvres.

SsangYong has made much of the Korando Sport’s rear coil springs, and while it rides remarkably well – albeit with a slightly bouncy quality when unladen – it has harmed the car’s load carrying capability. A maximum weight of 643kg is around half the class standard. The load space itself is well sized, however, and is able to accept a standard Euro-pallett. It also comes fitted with a durable plastic liner as standard.

Should I buy one?

The Korando Sports is a big leap forward from the ancient Musso which it replaces, and while it wears its low price tag like a badge of honour, it no longer has a whiff of skint desperation about it. However, in attempting to create a light commercial vehicle that appeals to urban SUV users, the Korando Sports falls short of pickup class standards in terms of load and towing capacity, and while ride comfort and refinement are wholly acceptable for this type of car, conventional SUV drivers will still expect more.

Despite these shortcomings, and the rather lacklustre interior, the Korando Sports represents excellent value for what is ultimately a well equipped and practical pickup. That it comes with the peace of mind of a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty adds a certain no-nonsense thrust to the appeal as well.

Daljinder Nagra

Ssangyong Korando Sports EX

Price £19,995; 0-62mph n/a; Top speed 107mph; Economy 37.7mpg (combined); CO2 199g/km; Kerb weight 2097kg; Engine 4 cyls in line, 1998cc, turbo, diesel; Power 153bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 265lb ft at 1500-2800rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
11

Could make a cracking towcar

1 year 42 weeks ago

Although seeming neither a good SUV or a good pick-up, the fact that this is a) heavy and b) coil sprung would make it a very good tow car indeed.

Pulling a caravan with a leaf sprung pick up is not a good idea (some manufacturers specifically advise against this), so the Korando certainly has that advantage over say, an L200 or Hi-Lux.

Is it better than an SUV for that kind of work?  Well it's certainly better than the soft-roader breed in the same price range because it's got a proper chassis and weighs enough to pull almost any 'van, and it's better than many hard-core off-roaders (e.g. Shogun, Landcruiser, etc) because it's very cheap and reasonably efficient.

So there is a niche here that the Korando nicely fills, that I think Autocar have missed.

But...aside from caravan owners wanting a cheap and hard wearing tug, it's hard to see who else would want a Korando.

I saw a Ssangyong Korando SUV

1 year 42 weeks ago

I saw a Ssangyong Korando SUV on the road the other day. First I thought it was a Vauxhall Antara. Since it looked fresh even from a distance I drove up to it.

On closer inspection I found that although the car's looks were slightly dated yet the car would stand its ground in comparison with the vast brigade of SUVs on sale.

Oilburner wrote: But...aside

1 year 42 weeks ago

Oilburner wrote:

But...aside from caravan owners wanting a cheap and hard wearing tug, it's hard to see who else would want a Korando.

What about other people who tow, or do the only people who tow own a caravan?!

Would work well for horse boxes/boats/car trailers if the capacity is high enough (circa 3000kg)

On the subject of coil vs leaf; the Nissan Patrol GU is available in Australia as a chassis cab with either leaf or coil back end, and a decent payload.

Paddler Ed wrote: What about

1 year 42 weeks ago

Paddler Ed wrote:

What about other people who tow, or do the only people who tow own a caravan?!

Would work well for horse boxes/boats/car trailers if the capacity is high enough (circa 3000kg)

Obviously there's other towing needs.  ;)  What I was trying to imply (but badly I admit) was that the Korando Sports isn't up to horse boxes, boats etc, (it can only pull 2300 kg max), but would beat a CRV or Rav4 hands down with a big caravan and is much cheaper than a Freelander or even a Sorento.  So its sweet spot is as a good budget tow car for caravans, but I can't see it cutting the mustard for serious towing beyond that.

Like you say, for heavy duty towing work (beyond caravans) you need towing limits of 3000kg +, the Korando Sports ain't quite there.

No Tow?

1 year 42 weeks ago

Oilburner wrote:

Pulling a caravan with a leaf sprung pick up is not a good idea (some manufacturers specifically advise against this), so the Korando certainly has that advantage over say, an L200 or Hi-Lux.

Interesting - first I've heard of that - most of these pick-ups sport leaf springs at the back and many can now tow nearly 3 tonne (or more)  - who says they can't tow a caravan?   I know someone that has an old model Ford Ranger to which a large caravan is attached - in their words "you wouldn't even know the caravan was there..."

Challenger440

1 year 42 weeks ago

Challenger440 wrote:

Interesting - first I've heard of that - most of these pick-ups sport leaf springs at the back and many can now tow nearly 3 tonne (or more)  - who says they can't tow a caravan?  

It's not that they can't tow a caravan. Far from it! The problem is that the leaf spring suspension (on a pick-up, with their high load rating - not a 70s Jag for instance) makes for a jarring ride for the caravan, putting it (particularly the chassis and drawbar) under a lot of stress.

In the small print for my Bailey caravan warranty it specifically states that you must tow with either a "private car or a 4x4 substituting for a private car".  e.g. not a commerical vehicle, which a pick-up with leaf springs most definitely is.

Every day's a school day...

1 year 42 weeks ago

Oilburner wrote:

In the small print for my Bailey caravan warranty it specifically states that you must tow with either a "private car or a 4x4 substituting for a private car".  e.g. not a commerical vehicle, which a pick-up with leaf springs most definitely is.

Ahhh.  Never knew that.  You live and learn!

SsangYong Korando Sports Pickup

1 year 42 weeks ago

How new is the SsongYang Korando Pickup? at last year's Royal Welsh Show a SsongYang distributor had one on display.

Didn't see much point in in myself rather too small to be much use. SsangYong UK didn't bother to import it's predecessors the Musso & Actyon Sports pickups so why they are bringing this in is rather puzzling.

Having said that I reckon that the standard Korando ain't bad at all, it's well screwed together and considerably cheaper than it's better known rivals and I should think that off road it probably also has the measure of them as well

This or a rusty nail in the head?

1 year 39 weeks ago

I'll get the hammer.

i can only presume you turned down the mainstream makes ( look Nissan quasqui,) and please agree with me, that's a safe bet.

i can see that this would suit the travelling comunity, as the engine is nice and strong for towing caravans, but apart from that, you have can't say, "look at that sleekness, oh, that sumpous leather, mmm, the quality." No, it makes the humble Skoda yeti look like a car for the aristocracy.

              Please great britain, don't buy into this?!

please comment and dare to differ.

Mac

Korando crew cab

1 year 36 weeks ago

Caravans...who mentioned those things.... I spent some time looking at this vehicle today and I was really impressed. From the leather seats to the Kenwood ICE. The Dash and layout was not cheap or scratchy.  Panel fit was superb down to the rubber seal ring between cab and pickup cover to keep the muck out, unlike other manufacturers. I was looking at the VW Amarok but with all the extras that this has with a 5yr UNltd Mileage warrantee, 10yr anti perforation warrantee, Ssangyong certainly have upped their game. it is not so long ago that Kia and hyundai were jokes, and they are now up there with the best, and RELIABLE too. It is what it is, another pickup in the sector to choose from. I for one would not dismiss this vehicle especially for the more car like ride.... My dentist won't be putting many fillings back.........

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The SsangYong Korando SUV is good compared to the company's previous models, but poor by class standards

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