£16,295 - £24,345 Price range
37 - 53 MPG
SsangYongs have been on sale in the UK since the ’90s – the company usually offers big SUVs for less than the majority of their competitors. Sadly, most of their models have proved to be lacklustre alternatives to the likes of the Kia Sportage, Suzuki Vitara and Nissan Qashqai.
The launch of the new Tivoli earlier in 2015 proved that their could be light at the end of the tunnel, though, and now it’s the turn of the SsangYong Korando to have its talons sharpened.
The Korando’s renewed energy comes largely thanks to the fitting of a new 2.2-litre diesel engine, which is Euro 6 compliant and replaces the old 2.0-litre unit. It offers the same performance as the outgoing engine, but has cheaper running costs.
To drive, the Korando isn’t much fun, but most people buy one because they need an SUV either for tackling rough terrain or towing – two roles the SsangYong is perfectly suited to.
Far from a best-in-class model, the Korando does at least come with a five-year/unlimited mileage warranty and decent standard equipment levels including cruise control, alloy wheels and climate control.
In early 2016, Ssangyong introduced a Red special edition Korando. This version is based on the already well equipped ELX but adds a full red leather interior, a ventilated driver’s seat, sunroof and xenon headlights for just £1,000 extra.
Good news first – the Korando is a practical vehicle. It has a large – but not class-leading – boot, and decent space inside. Unfortunately, although it may be inexpensive, it feels it too. Testers say the dashboard plastics are scratchy, and the leather seats do little to dispel the feeling of cheapness.
On the plus side, there are plenty of toys to play with becauase the Korando is well-equipped, especially for a vehicle of this price. Alloy wheels are standard throughout the range, as is air conditioning, cruise control with ecodrive, CD & RDS radio with iPod and Bluetooth connectivity, rear parking sensors and hill-start assist.
As you would expect at such a price point, the Kenwood touch-screen and sat-nav system is an optional extra. However, it’s said to look like an aftermarket unit (it likely is) and it’s supposed to be less-than user-friendly to say the least and therefore best avoided.
There’s light steering which makes the Korando easy enough to drive and a soft ride smothers the worst of road imperfections. But it means the car leans a bit in bends, so this is no sporty SUV. While some degree of body lean in a vehicle of this type can be sometimes be overlooked, it’s so bad in the Korando that it’s even a problem at low speeds.
The steering is also low on feel, and slow to respond to your inputs. It’s clearly not a vehicle meant to be driven quickly, which is fair enough, but some degree of body control would help quell the boat-like feel.
If you are looking for a car that is pleasant and rewarding to drive, you’d probably be better off looking elsewhere.
SsangYong used to fit the Korando with your choice of two 2.0-litre diesel engines, but the ageing pair have been dropped in favour of one 2.2-litre diesel that brings slight improvements to fuel economy and emissions.
As a result combined fuel economy now simmers to 53.3mpg (the old model managed 47.1mpg) and CO2 emissions have been cut from 147g/km to 139g/km. Neither figures are too far away from what you can expect from a Qashqai, and the Nissan is slower than the Korando.
That said, the new engine brings no performance gains. The 0-62mph sprint takes exactly the same time as it did in the old car, at 9.9 seconds, and top speed drops slightly from 119 to 115mph, although this is largely irrelevant to most buyers. The old model’s 2,000kg maximum towing weight remains unchanged.
Although you won’t find Euro NCAP ratings for the Korando, or any other SsangYong for that matter, it’s not an area that should be of any concern to prospective buyers.
The level of standard safety equipment is as generous as it is with other features on the Korando. As well as dual-front, side and curtain airbags, you also get ESP with Active Rollover Protection, active head restraints for the front seats, ABS, EBD, Hill Start Assist and Isofix fittings to outer rear seats to secure kids’ seats.
The Korando may have had to skimp on some things to deliver its low price, but safety is one area that isn’t obviously lacking.
Ssangyong does at least do value well, something that’s not changed from its early days. Under £17,000 will get you into the basic model, which is the most economical and therefore cheapest to run. Equipment levels are good too, with things like cruise control as standard.
Mid-range ELX trim gets plenty of goodies as standard but, for the most value for money, look to the Red special edition. This version gets a full red leather interior, ventilated driver’s seat and xenon headlights as standard for just £1,000 extra.
Indeed, you’ll pay significantly less for a Korando than you will for an equivalent Hyundai ix35, the previous value champ. But the Hyundai has now moved on by leaps and bounds in terms of quality, which reinforces the notion that you get what you pay for.
However, depreciation for past Ssangyong has been horrendous, and we wouldn’t expect the Korando to be any different. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re getting a great deal, if it’s not worth much when it comes to selling it then you won’t have actually saved any money.
As you can probably tell from the wowscore and the summary above, testers aren’t overly impressed by the Korando. Even the Giugiaro styling is fairly bland, so aside from being good value, there’s little else to recommend it.
You’re best off avoiding the automatic option – despite having a manual override it’s fairly poor, not keen to select the gears you choose. To top it all, it has a negative impact on economy.