Peace of mind motoring

Gloucestershire Echo - - TEST DRIVE - By CHRIS RUSSON

KOREAN car maker Ssangy­ong is con­tin­u­ing its shift up­mar­ket with a new Ko­rando SUV. First re­vealed at the Geneva Mo­tor Show ear­lier in the year the new­comer will be on the road come Septem­ber and priced from £19,995.

It is the third gen­er­a­tion of one of the brand’s most pop­u­lar mod­els and builds on the stan­dards set by the larger Rex­ton which was launched in 2017.

Now owned by In­dian con­glom­er­ate Mahin­dra, Ssangy­ong has been up­ping its game and no longer does it sit in the bar­gain base­ment.

In fact, the top end Ko­rando tips the scales at more than £30,000 and the new model is pit­ting against the likes of the Nis­san Qashqai, Peu­geot 3008 and Citroen C5 Air­cross.

While it may not be as ac­com­plished all round the Ko­rando has many strengths – not least its cabin space which is class lead­ing and the list of equip­ment avail­able.

The new Ko­rando is big­ger than its pre­de­ces­sor, has a good amount of space front and rear and comes with a 407 litre boot that ex­tends to 1,104 litres with the rear seats folded.

Ini­tially it will be pow­ered by a 1.6-litre diesel en­gine devel­op­ing 136ps and mated to a six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

Top grade Ul­ti­mate ver­sions are 4x4 with drive modes for sport and win­ter as well as reg­u­lar use and there are no quib­bles with the ride, han­dling or per­for­mance.

Fuel econ­omy is good for a car of this ilk and we man­aged to av­er­age al­most 50 to the gal­lon – out­strip­ping the of­fi­cial 43.5mpg for the Ul­ti­mate by some mar­gin. Emissions are rated at 171g/km.

Trim and equip­ment lev­els are of a fair stan­dard and there are some fea­tures which are spe­cial to the brand such as an au­di­ble beep when the ve­hi­cle in front moves away.

An elec­tronic park­ing brake with auto hold are part and par­cel of the Ko­rando Ul­ti­mate spec­i­fi­ca­tion as is a lane de­par­ture sys­tem, Tom­tom sat nav and pad­dle shifters.

For off road use there is hill de­scent con­trol and an elec­tric lock­ing dif­fer­en­tial and the tow­ing limit is two tonnes.

The Ko­rando has al­ways been pop­u­lar with car­a­van­ners – it won awards in the Car­a­van Club Tow Car of the Year con­test in both 2018 and 2014 – and to cater for its lug­ging rep­u­ta­tion Ssangy­ong has pro­duced a lower grade Pi­o­neer model, priced from £26,495 for a front-whee-drive ver­sion or £28,495 for a 4x4.

Per­for­mance fig­ures for the Ul­ti­mate diesel – which comes in from £31,995 – are a 0 to 60 time of around 12 sec­onds with a top speed of 112mph and that is likely to be the case for the other ver­sions fit­ted with the same pow­er­train.

Later in the year a 1.5-litre petrol Ko­rando will be avail­able and that will be the cheap­est of the lot and will power the en­try level model. In Ul­ti­mate trim it will be priced from £26,495.

An all-elec­tric ver­sion is un­der de­vel­op­ment and Ssangy­ong says should be on the road next year.

With a nine-inch touch­screen and a 10.25inch dig­i­tal in­stru­ment clus­ter there is plenty of tech­nol­ogy to go at and con­nec­tiv­ity in­cludes full smart­phone con­nec­tiv­ity.

It’s a very well rounded pack­age and in the main com­pet­i­tively priced espe­cially tak­ing into ac­count the amount of kit and Ssangy­ong’s seven year/150,000 mile warranty. Peace of mind if ever there was.

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