Korean motoring brand Ssangyong is on the rise with their well-made and comfortable Korando SUV model.
By motoring journalist Tim Barnes-Clay – follow on Instagram @tbarnesclay.
Yes, guys, I know – it’s another SUV. Yawn. Oh, are you still here? Well, you should be because even though SsangYong’s new Korando has a face only a mother could love, it’s a winner in every other department.
It’s a solid, comfortable car with enough space for the brood. I know what I’m talking about here because I ferried my trio of kids around very happily over Christmas. There were no complaints from the rear about the lack of space or comfort. They slept well on a couple of 200-mile obligatory festive trips, and there were plenty of little places to store their bottles of juice and electronic gadgets. The Korando’s boot does the job for a family, too. At no point did we have an issue fitting overnight bags, presents and other family-related stuff into the Korean-made vehicle’s load area.
The compact crossover SUV is well-made, inside and out, and looks genuinely durable for years to come, which is what you’d hope for from your next main car. The automatic gearbox shifter looks like a golf club, and there are lots of slabs of black plastic, but it’s been put together with accuracy.
Whether you opt for a diesel or a petrol is up to you – both variants are efficient. Diesel isn’t the cool fuel to have anymore, but it’s still unbeatable if you’re regularly driving long distances. I managed 40mpg in the 1.6 Pioneer diesel 4×4 Auto, on test here. It’s also useful for towing. So, if you need to lug a trailer or whatever, you can – as long as it doesn’t exceed 2,000kg. I also drove the petrol variant just before Christmas and was impressed. It can’t match the towing prowess of the diesel, but it can still handle up to 1,500kg. The 1.5 GDI-turbo petrol also offers good fuel economy and decent clout, producing 163PS of max power.
Behind the wheel, the diesel propelled Korando sounds a tad clattery. Fortunately, the noise settles once things warm up. It’s not quick, either. It’ll get you from 0-62mph in 12 seconds. The steering is a little vague, too, but the delivery of power is even, helped by the able six-speed automatic gearbox.
The Pioneer version, fitted with either two or four-wheel drive, is well-appointed with an eight-inch infotainment display, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. It also houses Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – and provides graphic displays showing infotainment and driving data. Outside, you get 17-inch alloys shod with all-weather rubber.
What’s more, the SUV comes with a seven-year/150,000 mileage warranty. Oh, and if you’ve never heard of SsangYong, the word means “double dragon”. Yes, okay, the Korando isn’t exactly a fire-breathing beast, but the Korean brand is on the rise, so expect to see a lot more from it this decade, including cars with electric-only powertrains.
Fast Facts – SsangYong Korando Pioneer Diesel 4×4 Auto as tested:
- Max speed: 112mph
- 0-62 mph: 12.0 seconds
- Combined mpg: 43.5
- Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder diesel
- Max. power (ps): 136
- CO2: 171g/km
- Price: £28,495