A significant step forward for Ssangyong but still falls short of current European standards

What is it?

It’s not obvious from the impressively generic exterior, but this is the new Ssangyong Korando. This is the first monocoque vehicle that the Korean company has ever produced and represents the first steps in a re-launch that is intended to make the brand more competitive against major budget European makers.

A 173bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel motor, developed by the company independently, is the only motor available in the Korando. A six-speed auto and all-wheel drive is on offer, but we’re testing the entry-level two-wheel drive model.

See first drive pics of the Ssangyong Korando 2.0d 2WD

What’s it like?

Rather bland in many respects, which for many will be an improvement on the rather eccentric previous models. When not under load the Korando is impressively refined by class standards, but otherwise the motor fails to meet modern diesel standards in terms of its usability.

Power delivery is very peaky – significantly more so than is now usual in modern turbodiesels - with all of the 266lb ft of torque arriving between 2000-3000rpm. The effect of this is amplified by awkwardly spaced gear ratios. Second is very short, but changing up into third leaves the engine floundering beneath its limited power range.

So powertrain is not something that Ssangyong can yet claim to have reached current European standards in, but ride quality is well judged – a little bouncy occasionally but nothing you wouldn’t expect of a softly sprung compact SUV, and body roll is also kept in check.

Steering is entirely sterile and has a disconcerting elasticity around the dead-ahead, but it is linear enough in response. Passenger space is also very competitive, particularly for those in the back, though luggage capacity of 486 litres is some way behind class best.

Should I buy one?

By any standards the Korando is a significant step forward for its maker, but if it is to be priced similarly to the Hyundai ix35 and Kia Sportage, as Ssangyong suggests it will be, it is impossible to recommend.

The Korando is not a bad car in isolation, just one that feels as if it has just reached the levels achieved by most of the obvious rivals one generation ago.

So Ssangyong’s competition need not need worry too much right now, but if the company can make the same level of progress with its next generation then there is every possibility it – and the Korando - could become a serious contender.

Ssangyong Korando 2.0d 2WD

Price: £17,500 (est); Top speed: 111mph; 0-62mph: 10.0sec; Economy: 47mpg; Co2: 157g/km; Kerb weight: 1591kg; Engine, type, cc: 4cyl, 1998cc, turbodiesel; Power: 173bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 266lb ft at 2000-3000rpm; Gearbox: 6spd manual; Boot capacity: 486 litres

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Join the debate

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Andyssangyong 7 May 2013


I have had the Korando EX for the past four months and i have found it to be a great drive, a little noiser that other Diesels but nothing major! i live in west Wales and there is a dealership in my village also one about forty miles away. I have had no issues with the car up untill last night on the way down to Cornwall i lost 50% of throttle power and had to limp to my hotel in St Austell. I got onto the webb site this morning and found a dealer in Launceston about 40 miles away they were very helpfull, so i arranged for recovery to them so fingers crossed it shouldn't take long to sort it! As an overall car it's got all the toys etc well impressed with it!!

Yeovilsu1972 4 October 2012

Ssangyong Korando - Awesome

It is said that your biggest problem may be finding somewhere to buy a Ssangyong Korando, as there aren’t many Ssangyong dealers, and that it could also prove troublesome when you’re getting your car serviced. Please done listen to this rubbish!!!

When you find your local dealer, you’ll need to know which version to buy. You won’t have to make a choice on engine, because all have the same 2.0-litre turbodiesel. There are various trims, though, some of which come with front-wheel drive, and some with four-wheel drive. The SX version is the way to go. It’s a four-wheel drive, and it has much better fuel economy and emissions that the higher-spec 4x4 version. In fact, it’s almost as smooth as the front wheel drive versions. The SX is also one of the cheapest cars in the range, and it comes with all the kit you really want, like alloys, air-conditioning, and Bluetooth. Meanwhile, top-level models add leather upholstery, powered front-seat adjustment and climate control.

I have driven one since it came out and they are awesome, take it from me.

Waynes World Au... 19 June 2012

Re: The SsangYong Korando

An honest piece, well done. The new SX 4x4 variant has just been released at under £18,800. See here: http://waynesworldautobloguk.wordpress.com