The name may not trip off the tongue, but the brand SsangYong will be one people will be talking about a lot more in the future. The company’ is taking on the more established manufacturers with its medium-sized SUV, the Korando.
South Korea is emerging as a serious contender in the car market, with Kia, the most well-known manufacturer. SsangYong is coming up fast behind and producing a growing range of vehicles, including SUVs and Pick-Ups.
I drove the Korando Ultimate model, which is the top of the range that starts with the ELX, then the Ventura and Pioneer. All come with a seven-year or 150k mile warranty and are packed with technology. Two engines are available, a 1.5-litre GDI-Turbo petrol and a 1.6 Ltr diesel, with a greater torque but slightly less max power. The version I went in was the petrol, and it was smooth, quiet and economical. Perhaps it lacked some power for overtaking, but it reaches cruising speeds comfortably and can sit there all day. Let’s face it; the Korando will not be bought by people interested in 0-100 Km/H times and top speeds.
Competitors are the big-selling Nissan Qashqai
Unbeknown to me, the Korando has been around since 1982 when it looked more like a Jeep; four generations on, it looks every bit like a modern SUV. Good looking exterior with LED rear brake lights, stylish moulded door mirrors and elegant grille.
Getting in the Korando at Fine Cars in Gosport, I was immediately taken with how luxurious the interior is and how much room there is. It also seems high off the ground, and you step up into it. This does give you an excellent view of the road, which is always good. The drivers’ cockpit and whole front cabin are well-planned and have plenty of controls for Korando’s technology.
Talking of technology, the Ultimate version I tested was brimming with safety assistance, readouts and entertainment. SsangYong calls it the Blaze cockpit featuring two digital displays, one a 22cm multi-functional infotainment control, enabling Apple Car Play etc. Your second display is 25cm and can mirror the first unit or be a stand-alone function. Offering turn-by-turn navigation, map or phone mirroring. Extraordinarily pleasing, easy to use and read.
The list of intelligent safety features is long, so I will touch on those that are now standard in most new cars: front Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Safety Distance Alert from the vehicle in front of you. A couple of good driver aids to mention are the High Beam Assist which automatically detects the rear lights of a car or oncoming headlights and alters between high and low beams for you. Traffic Sign Recognition aids you with the system noting speed limit signs, then warning you on the display.
I mentioned the space inside the car and have to again as it is voluminous. The seating is flexible to allow more cargo space when the passenger seats are folded flat. Five hundred fifty-one litres of load space is available with all seats upright so five people and all their kit can be carried comfortably. All occupants are protected by the high-tensile strength steel body and six airbags.
The Korando is a capable car; it handles well and can tow two tonnes if a bar is fitted. It is versatile with good load carrying space, and I liked its comfort and look. The ride and drive are smooth, and it deserves a test drive if you are in the market for a five-seat SUV.
SsangYong Korando – Where and How?
Korando range starts from
Six colour options are available.