Ko­rando come­back

An In­dian-owned car­maker has a new model for Aus­tralia, writes Neil Dowl­ing

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

DIS­SOLVED mar­riages and af­fairs that end in tears aren’t Mills & Boon text but the emo­tional roller-coaster of Ssangy­ong. But now, with a new owner and the ex­pec­ta­tion of a fresh Ko­rando SUV priced from un­der $27,000 for Aus­tralia in Jan­uary, things could at last be look­ing up.

The Ko­rando, launched this month in Bri­tain, is a new start for Ssangy­ong. It is the first time it has made a mono­coque ve­hi­cle— all pre­de­ces­sors were built on a lad­der chas­sis — and is the pointer to new SUVs and even pas­sen­ger cars.

The five-seater wagon will also come as an op­tional price-cut­ting 2WD that could start at about $28,000.

Ssangy­ong Aus­tralia spokesman Paul Hare is pre­dict­ing a strong fu­ture for the brand af­ter it was bought this month by In­dian con­glom­er­ate Mahin­dra. ‘‘There are re­place­ments for some SUVs and we’re talk­ing about pas­sen­ger cars as well,’’ he says.

Ssangy­ong terms its new Ko­rando — which was pre­vi­ously known in­house as the C200 — a cross­over ve­hi­cle, mark­ing a de­par­ture from its rugged 4WD prod­ucts of the past.

It is styled by Gior­getto Gi­u­giaro and even the 2-litre turbo-diesel en­gine, with an elec­tron­i­cally vari­able-ge­om­e­try tur­bocharger, was de­signed in Europe.

The en­gine is rated at 129kW at 4000rpm and 360Nm of torque at 2000rpm, av­er­ages 6 litres/100km and 157 grams per kilo­me­tre CO2 to meet Euro-5 emis­sion stan­dards. In Aus­tralia the Ko­rando will get the choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive and six-speed man­ual or au­to­matic trans­mis­sions.

Hare says the Ko­rando will come with a full suite of the lat­est safety equip­ment in­clud­ing ESC that in­te­grates ac­tive rollover pro­tec­tion. It also gets four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, elec­tronic brake force dis­tri­bu­tion, brake as­sist sys­tem, trac­tion con­trol and hill-start as­sist. Stan­dard gear will be six airbags, elec­tronic ac­tive head re­straint for the front seats and multi-load path body con­struc­tion to dis­trib­ute col­li­sion en­ergy.

Fi­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tions for Aus­tralia are ex­pected to be top-shelf. They will in­clude a choice of leather or cloth trim, pre­mium au­dio and con­ve­nience fea­tures, elec­tric ad­just­ment for the driver’s seat and a 60:40 split fold rear seat with a fold­ing cen­tre arm­rest.

Ssangy­ong says the boot space is big­ger than most of its com­pact SUV ri­vals.

The com­pany is ex­pected to fol­low the Ko­rando dur­ing 2011 with a big­ger SUV to com­pete with the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento.

This wagon, which re­places the Rex­ton and may res­ur­rect the Musso name, is ex­pected to use a lad­der-frame con­struc­tion and is likely to be­come avail­able as a 2WD or 4WD. It is be­lieved to use a big­ger 2.2-litre ver­sion of the Ko­rando’s turbo-diesel en­gine. A petrol en­gine may also be of­fered.

On track: the Ko­rando SUV spear­heads a re­born Ssangy­ong’s new push.

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