SsangYong Korando -

new kid on the block

SsangYong Korando 2.2 ELX, front, action
SsangYong Korando 2.2 ELX, side, action
SsangYong Korando 2.2 ELX, side, static
SsangYong Korando 2.2 ELX, rear
SsangYong Korando 2.2 ELX, interior
SsangYong Korando 2.2 ELX, dashboard

IT is rare to be able to try out a proper four wheel drive SUV on and off-road on the same day.

I always try and get to my local off-road centre to put them through their paces but don't always manage it.

However, I did with the new SsangYong Korando and was very impressed with its wide range of positive attributes.

It is an SUV about the same size as the Nissan Qashqai, or the Land Rover Discovery Sport with good looking lines and decent interior space for four or five.

The model I drove was the ELX at the top of the range, with four-wheel-drive and an automatic six-speed gearbox.

Power comes from a new 2.2-litre diesel engine which boasts no less than 178bhp and is also fitted to the Korando's big brother, the Rexton.

In the smaller body it gives a 10 second sprint to 60mph and, with a reasonably good kickdown, can be hustled along with great ease.

It is not the smoothest engine on the market, but most owners would rarely push it hard enough for that to get annoying.

Drive in this 4x4 version is to the front wheels for road work, but when sensors detect a potential loss of grip it switches seamlessly to four wheel drive.

For very loose or slippery surfaces the system can be locked to send power equally to front and rear axles for maximum traction.

It was excellent off-road, taking some very difficult terrain in its stride despite the lack of low ratio gears.

It is enjoyable on the road too, with a lovely feel, well weighted steering and a very comfortable ride over all surfaces.

Road-holding is also good, but of course, there is some roll - which is only to be expecteds in such a vehicle.

Inside, the leather seats are comfortable and well-shaped, giving a good driving position. There's no reach adjustment for the steering, but its not really needed in an automatic.

This top model is very well equipped, with sat nav, climate, rear parking sensors, alloys, umpteen airbags, hill start assist and stability control.

: Nissan Qashqai

FAST FACTS

Price: £22,495

Mechanical: 178bhp, 2,157cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 115mph

0-62mph: 10 seconds

Combined MPG: 41.6

Insurance Group: 26

C02 emissions: 176g/km

Bik rating: 30%

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