SsangYong Korando review
The SsangYong Korando is a compact crossover that offers a lot of car for your money
With the launch of the SsangYong Korando, the Korean firm is also relaunching its entire marketing strategy for the UK car market. 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 three models on offer, the front-wheel-drive S and ES, while the EXis essentially the same as ES, but with four-wheel drive.
Our choice: Korando 2.0 ES
Park the SsangYong Korando next to a Kia Sportage or Hyundai ix35, and it pales into the background due to its plain nose and simple boxy shape. If you want to stand out from the crowd, your best bet is to go for the optional Vibrant Red metallic paint. 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 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.