Not only was it a handsome addition to the compact crossover market, it was also the firm’s very first monocoque model – meaning it delivered a far better approximation of a car’s handling characteristics than any of the body-on-frame SUVs that continue to fill out the firm’s modest lineup.
A facelift for 2014 updated the Korando inside and out without significantly tampering with the established formula. The front end, already a generic effort, receives a generic revamp; swapping out headlights, grille and air intakes for those of a slightly different shape.
LED daytime running lights now feature, but overall the impression is still of an acceptably modern-looking crossover with little about it to stick permanently in the memory.
The interior is slightly less forgettable, but only because it comes partly clad in the kind of cheap plastic which cannot otherwise find a home in this class. The redesigned dashboard makes ergonomic sense, although it hasn’t lost any of its brittleness.
On the plus side, the Korando gets large storage bins, reach and rake adjustment for the steering wheel and generous equipment levels on higher-spec models. It is also competitive on interior space; offering decent leg and headroom for rear passengers, and acceptable luggage space.
Power comes from a 176bhp 2.2-litre turbodiesel motor, available with either a six-speed manual gearbox, or, on top-spec ELX trim, a six-speed auto.
Dynamically, the Korando remains anchored to the more disappointing end of the compact crossover market. Driven back to back with another Ssangyong, and the benefits of a monocoque body can make it seem almost revelatory, but against other rivals its pitch and roll are more obviously untidy.
Things aren't helped by a sterile electric power steering system that continues to convey a disconcerting elasticity around the dead-ahead. The ride comfort is tolerable, and there’s a revised front subframe and new engine mounts to improve refinement, but the driving appeal is limited.
The car’s trump card, such as it is, is low-cost all-wheel-drive usability. Entry-level models are front-wheel drive, but there is the option of four-wheel drive for under £18k. Torque-on-demand all-wheel drive versions of all trim levels are available at £1500 above the front-driven models.