KOREAN brand SsangYong has come on in leaps and bounds in the last few years and is now producing good quality vehicles that are also great value for money.
The latest example is the all-new fourth generation Korando which launched last year powered by a 1.6 diesel engine.
Now the company has introduced a petrol version and I have been sampling it in top Ultimate trim.
The Korando has been going since 1983 but this latest version of the family SUV is a testament to how far SsangYong has improved in that time.
The Korando is now a good-looking and practical package that also drives well and features all the latest technology.
Available in four trim levels called ELX, Ventura, Pioneer and Ultimate, the petrol models are powered by a 1.5 GDI-turbo unit combined with manual or automatic transmissions. Some models also feature four-wheel-drive(4WD) but my car had to do without it.
Prices across the range start from Â£19,995 for the entry-level Korando ELX model powered by the 1.5-litre petrol engine with manual gearbox. The range-topper is the Korando Ultimate with the 1.6-litre diesel engine, automatic transmission and 4WD - at a still reasonable Â£31,995.
The new Korando is really quite attractive and has a sporty stance. It has a wide grille, sweeping light clusters, tinted rear windows, roof rails, a rippled bonnet, rear spoiler, front and rear LED daytime running lights, 19-inch alloys and a powered tailgate.
My Ultimate model with the new engine, a six-speed automatic transmission and two-wheel-drive (2WD) cost £27,995 and is now a genuine challenger in a crowded market.
SsangYong has worked hard to improve the quality of its interiors and the Korando cabin is a marked improvement over previous efforts.
Its comfortable leather seats are power operated and can be heated or cooled. The leather-trimmed steering wheel is also heated - ideal in the recent very cold weather. The finishes are mostly soft-touch and a piano black dashboard facia features nicely lit digital dials.
A nine-inch high definition touchscreen dominates and there is Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone connectivity, a six-speaker sound system with iPod and Bluetooth link-up, TomTom navigation, a reversing camera, a DAB radio and 10.25-inch instrument cluster.
The Korando also holds its own out on the road. It can reach 62mph in 10.0 seconds but feels quicker and goes on to a top speed of 119mph.The latest WLTP figures say it is capable of 35.8mpg but I got slightly less than that over a week of mixed motoring in very cold weather.
The 1.5 petrol engine always felt lively and punchy and had enough puff for overtaking slower vehicles even although the Korando is a substantial car. The automatic transmission is smooth but steering wheel mounted paddles allow you to take control if you feel the need. The car also offers a choice of three driving modes - normal, sport or winter.
The Korando feels at home cruising on the motorway but it is also just as happy on the twisty stuff with a supple ride and good handling.
The roomy cabin offers space for five to travel in comfort and there is good all-round visibility and lots of storage space.
The boot offers 551 litres of space and if you collapse the 60:40 rear seats that goes up to a substantial 1,248 litres.
The Korando features all the latest safety tech and boasts the maximum five stars Euro NCAP safety rating. Even the entry-level model s get all the safety kit, including Autonomous Emergency Braking as standard.
The Korando may be up against some very good opposition but this Ultimate version is well worth a look if you are in the market for a family SUV.