Ssangy­ong comes back to Bri­tish mar­ket with im­proved of­fer­ing

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - FEATURES -

Ssangy­ong by a mile but one of the best look­ers from South Korea and sev­eral other mar­kets. It was cre­ated by Italde­sign Gi­u­giaro, the Ital­ian stu­dio.

The Ko­rando has a new 2-litre diesel, de­signed and made by Ssangy­ong, de­liv­er­ing 173bhp plus 265 lb-ft of torque for lusty tow­ing with a 2,000kg braked max­i­mum. Like most ri­vals it has an in­te­grated mono­coque con­struc­tion – the first in a Ssangy­ong. The ad­van­tage is bet­ter on-road re­fine­ment.

Ssangy­ong tells us that its 4x4s are de­signed “specif­i­cally to meet the needs of the driver who reg­u­larly tows a car­a­van, horse­box, car, boat or work trailer.” Well, I can see the Ko­rando be­ing bought by peo­ple who have no in­ten­tion of tow­ing. In that case they

If you want your Ko­rando to han­dle snow and mud then that means the EX at £21,445.

may opt for the front-wheeldrive ver­sion. It is a vi­able ri­val to a com­mon hatch­back.

Pric­ing is smart, too. The en­try S model is £16,995 which brings front-wheeldrive, air con­di­tion­ing, 16-inch al­loys, sta­bil­ity con­trol with a full set of airbags, rear park­ing sen­sors, hill start as­sis­tance, roof rails, a wind­screen de-icer, 60/40 split rear seats, heated power door mir­rors, pud­dle lamps in the mir­rors, cruise con­trol and roof rails. Plus, don’t for­get, a 2-litre diesel. (The cheap­est 2-litre diesel Fo­cus is over-priced at nearly £20,000.) There is an ES model which leaps in price to £19,495 (tinted glass, sun­roof, leather seats heated front and rear, cli­mate con­trol, 17 inch wheels, pow­ered front seats and bet­ter fab­rics) and is avail­able with six au­to­matic gears for £20,945. Av­er­age mpg is 47mpg with man­ual gears, 38.7 with auto.

If you want your Ko­rando to han­dle snow and muddy stuff then that means the EX at £21,445 with man­ual gears and £22,995 as an au­to­matic. Av­er­age mpg is 44.1 with man­ual gears and 37.7mpg with au­to­matic gears. This lat­ter was my test car. Like the 2WD auto, it pays a CO2 penalty, at 199g/km com­pared with 169g/km with man­ual gears. All the mod­els are quoted with a 0-62mph time of 9.9 sec­onds.

I found noth­ing se­ri­ously amiss with the Ko­rando, you could think of it as a large hatch­back – much the for­mat Nis­san used for the hugely suc­cess­ful Qashqai. All have a five-year war­ranty with un­lim­ited mileage.

I cov­ered sev­eral hun­dred miles in the Ko­rando EX auto. The 4x4 in­ter­ven­tion is au­to­matic, with a se­lectable lock-up for max­i­mum grip – say lug­ging a trailer in snow or mud. The test car was on Kumho mud and snow tyres, a close pat­terned tread which looks more road-based than mud-plug­ging.

Mostly, the Ko­rando was agree­able. Front and rear park­ing sen­sors made it easy to po­si­tion in a tight gap. At 173 inches it is the length of a fam­ily hatch­back – it just looks big­ger. The mo­tor­way drive was re­laxed un­til as a pas­sen­ger I felt the vi­bra­tion through the door and dash­board. At some low-speed moves there was a clunk when the au­to­matic gear­box (made in Aus­tralia) plonked into drive.

The ex­tra-cost Ken­wood nav­i­ga­tion (£999 with in­te­grated au­dio, ipod and Blue­tooth) has a small screen but worked well enough and in­cluded a speed limit dis­play.

Miss­ing: au­to­matic stop­start for ur­ban driv­ing, and a spare wheel (£219 for a slim spare).

The mo­tor has a rorty growl which is not un­pleas­ant. Econ­omy is par for the sec­tor, with a low of 28 miles a gal­lon on a typ­i­cal ur­ban­rural com­mute with few hills, and a high of 37mpg on the mo­tor­way.

Ver­dict: Ssangy­ong re­turns to the UK with a much im­proved of­fer. The mark-up for 4WD is large (about £2,000 de­pend­ing on model). The au­to­matic gears sav­age the CO2 fig­ures and the shifts can be sloppy and the ur­ban ride is not great. It needs more deal­ers to cover the coun­try. The value for money is tempt­ing and the ap­pear­ance is pleas­ing. Fi­nally, the Ssangy­ong im­age. In this coun­try it has be­come al­most un­known, so evades the blight of badge snob­bery. The cir­cu­lar mar­que em­blem is classy, too.

The Ko­rando is mostly agree­able and at the length of a fam­ily hatch­back is easy to park.

IN THE WET:

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