SsangYong Korando

2.2 ELX 4x4 Auto

SsangYong Korando, front quarter
SsangYong Korando, dynamic
SsangYong Korando, profile
SsangYong Korando, rear quarter
SsangYong Korando, interior
SsangYong Korando, dashboard

THE Korando was the model which heralded SsangYong's return to the UK car market in 2011 - pitching straight into the fiercely competitive compact crossover class.

Six years on and it has undergone some technical upgrades and a design tweak here and there, but the emphasis is still, just as it was then, very much on value-for-money.

Competitive pricing coupled with a decent level of equipment remain the Korando's key selling points, as they are with the vehicles that have joined it in the South Korean car maker's stable over the past half a decade or so.

Prices for the range start at £16,625 and you can pick up a 4x4 version from £18,125 - although you have to push the boat out a bit more for the range-topping ELX 4x4 Automatic that I drove.

SE and EX models sit below this flagship version along with a currently available LE (limited edition) version.

There's a choice of two and four-wheel-drive, although the ELX is only available as a 4x4, and you can specify a six-speed automatic transmission on LE and ELX cars, otherwise it's a six-speed manual.

Engine options are limited to just one, with power for the entire range coming from a 2.2-litre diesel unit which pumps out 178ps.

It is a little more agricultural than those in mainstream rivals, and particularly noisy under sharp acceleration, but does prove pretty punchy, with a sprightly 0-62mph time of 9.9 seconds and top speed of 115mph.

Its real party trick, though, is the mighty 400Nm of torque that is available available from just 1,400rpm - ensuring plenty of low-end grunt and also giving the Korando some real credibility as a tow car. A two tonne maximum towing capacity is sure to grab the attention of the caravanning community.

This car featured the automatic gearbox, which was surprisingly smooth and making swift progress when necessary, to overtake, for instance, was no trouble at all.

Light steering also makes manoeuvring the Korando pretty easy and, although by no means small, its dimensions are not prohibitive in city streets, with the elevated ride height also offering commanding all round views.

There is some body roll in pronounced bends and the suspension can be a little fidgety but there's plenty of grip on offer - especially in versions with the on-demand 4x4 system, which automatically shifts power to the wheels with most traction.

The Korando trumps many more expensive rivals in the compact crossover market with the internal space that is on offer. Head and legroom is good all round and three adults will fit in the back in a fair degree of comfort, with no intrusive transmission tunnel to hinder the one in the middle.

The boot, at 486 litres, has more than enough capacity to cope with most family needs, while folding the 60/40 split rear seats down increases the load space to an impressive 1,312 litres.

An abundance of scratchy plastics and cheaper looking finishes around the cabin bely the Korando's bargain price but SsangYong soften the blow somewhat by throwing in some equipment that you don't usually see outside of the premium sector.

This range-topper, for instance, boasts not only leather upholstery and an electrically adjustable driver's seat - but heated seats in both the front and back.

There's also satnav, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors and a seven-inch touchscreen multimedia interface with Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Even entry-level models get alloy wheels, electric windows, air conditioning and cruise control.


SsangYong Korando 2.2 ELX 4x4 Auto

Price: £22,750

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

Max Speed: 115mph

0-62mph:9.9 seconds

Combined MPG:41.5

Insurance Group: 26

C02 emissions:177g/km

Bik rating:37%

Warranty:5yrs/100,000 miles


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