Ssangyong comes back to British market with improved offering
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.
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