SsangYong Korando review
The SsangYong Korando is a compact crossover that offers a lot of car for your money
The SsangYong Korando, is the car most likely to make a dent in the UK market for the South Korean firm. The compact crossover is a rival for the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Ford Kuga, but it offers a lot more car for less cash. Standard equipment even on the entry-level model includes a rear parking camera, air-con and cruise control, while the top-spec models get heated leather seats and a sunroof. There are two models on offer, the SE (offered in front- or four-wheel drive) and the ELX, which is only available in four-wheel drive guise.
Our choice: Korando 2.0 ES
There's been some major changes to the Korando, as Ssangyong ramps up its fight against the UK's favourite crossovers. The front-end gets a slimmed down, black-mesh grille, more modern headlights and lower and wider air intake, while the rear gets some redesigned light clusters. However, park the SsangYong Korando next to a Kia Sportage or Hyundai ix35, and it still pales into the background and feels a few years behind its rivals. A long wheelbase means there's plenty of space inside the Korando – there's space for three in the back, and the rear seats recline for added comfort. Reach and rake adjustment on the steering wheel means it's easy to get comfortable at the wheel, too. High spec models get heated leather seats as standard, but all cars are let down by the hard, scratchy plastics and dated dashboard design.
One thing's for sure, you don't buy a Korando for driving thrills. It's the first SsangYong to use modern unitary construction, but the suspension fails to deliver a coherent performance. In corners the Korando rolls alarmingly, yet the suspension fails to soak up the bumps. The 2.0-litre diesel is powerful and returns low emissions, but it's a noisy, rattly unit (despite claimed improvements to noise, vibration and harshness) and has a narrow power band, so you need to use the vague and notchy gearbox to keep the engine on song.
SsangYong is something of an unknown quantity when it comes to reliability, although the firm offers a five-year unlimited mileage warranty to give some peace of mind. As part of the brand's relaunch, SsangYong is aiming to have 65 dealers across the country, although that means you may have to travel to get your car serviced. All Korandos come with six airbags, ESP stability control and Isofix child seat fixings as standard.
The Korando has one of the biggest boots in the compact crossover class. At 486 litres, it has more than 70 litres more boot space than a Nissan Qashqai, although SsangYong has missed a trick by not adding a sliding function to the reclining rear seats. Standard rear parking sensors will help make the Korando easy to park, while the torquey engine will be well suited to towing. The Korando has maximum towing weights of 750kg (unbraked) and 2,000kg (braked).
You get a lot of car for your cash – in fact, the only options are metallic paint and two grades of aftermarket stereo, one of which includes sat-nav. Fuel economy and emissions are similar to rivals in the class, but the one area where SsangYong buyers will lose out is when it comes time to sell on. As SsangYong isn't a common brand in the UK, residuals will be poor, although the standard five-year warranty should help matters.