SsangYong Korando SX

9 Aug, 2012 5:45pm Damion Smy

Is the bargain, entry-level SsangYong Korando a genuine rival to the Qashqai?


The Korando SX is a smart move from SsangYong, with a lower price and running costs. But this budget off-roader is let down by a low-rent interior and a lack of refinement. For a little more money, you can buy an equivalent Hyundai ix35. And the Dacia Duster will be just as practical but cost a lot less when it goes on sale later this year. The choice is yours...

The SsangYong Korando SX is the cheapest four-wheel-drive version of the company’s Nissan Qashqai rival. It’s a new option for buyers on a tight budget who still want light off-road ability. And with a revised 2.0-litre turbodiesel, it’s also the most economical 4x4 in the range, returning 45.6mpg and emitting 157g/km of CO2.

The SX has the same chrome grille, plastic body protection and silver roof rails as the rest of the range, and rides on 16-inch alloys. Inside, the dash is good looking, but the plastics are harsh. Even the leather-wrapped wheel and handbrake feel cheap, while the rest of the interior, including the switchgear and instrument cluster, can’t match the quality of rivals.

When it comes to kit, things get better: the car is fitted with cruise control, curtain airbags, ABS with ESP and reverse parking sensors. Plus, our car benefited from an upgraded audio/sat-nav system with Bluetooth – a £999 option.

Despite the high driving position, there’s loads of head, leg and elbow room, and the rear can accommodate six-footers. Also, the 486-litre boot capacity increases to 1,312 litres when you fold the 60/40-split seat flat.

The engine output has dropped from 175bhp to 149bhp, but with 360Nm of torque the car gets up to motorway speeds easily and acceleration is strong in town. Trouble is, it’s noisy even at idle, and a huge gulf between second and third gears means you have to keep shifting between the two. The electric steering is light for urban manoeuvres but short on feel, even as speeds increase.

While the ride can be crashy over potholes, the SX settles down quickly after bumps and is comfortable. But there’s a price for this smoothness: more body roll than rivals, and the nose dives downwards under braking.

Ultimately, the Korando is let down by its ratio of price to perceived quality. It’s one of the most affordable ways into a 4x4 of this size and has a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty – but it’s still not especially cheap, and the fit and finish can’t compete with rivals’, even for similar money.

Key specs

  • Price: £18,795
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel
  • Power: 149bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, four-wheel drive
  • 0-60mph: 9.9 seconds
  • Top Speed: 116mph
  • Economy: 45.6mpg
  • CO2: 157g/km
  • Equipment: Keyless entry, cruise control, ESP, curtain airbags
  • On Sale: Now