SsangYong Korando 2014 review

4 Oct, 2013 3:30pm Paul Bond

The updated SsangYong Korando SUV aims to give the Dacia Duster a run for its money

Verdict

2
The new SsangYong Korando offers Honda CR-V space for Ford Fiesta cash. But in a market where Dacia has sold nearly 6,000 Dusters, customers will no longer put up with poor dynamics for the sake of saving money. While this is still a practical, budget tow car, the handling is flawed and even SsyangYong expects the new, larger Rexton to be more popular in the UK.

SsangYong is the oldest car brand in Korea, and it has big plans to expand its line-up of cheap and functional SUVs and carve itself a niche in the UK.

Sales of the current SsangYong Korando crossover have been fairly steady until now, but the company is hoping that this facelifted car can help it to really gain a foothold.

And with prices starting at just £14,995 for the entry-level 2.0-litre diesel model we tested, it’s sure to grab the attention of a few prospective Dacia Duster buyers.

It’s certainly more practical than a Duster, with 486 litres of luggage space behind the back seats and plenty of head and legroom in the spacious interior. You get a surprising amount of performance for the money, too, with the large-capacity diesel producing 147bhp and a decent 360Nm of torque – a crucial factor given the SsangYong’s positioning as a tough and rugged towing vehicle.

The brand claims 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds, but on the road the Korando feels slower than that. The coarse engine is hamstrung by its narrow powerband and the poorly spaced ratios of the six-speed gearbox. There is a large flat spot in the performance below 1,500rpm – not ideal when you’re going uphill.

One of the few mechanical changes for the facelift is the addition of new engine mounts to help reduce unwanted noise and vibration. While the Korando is a bit more civilised once you’re up to cruising speed, road and wind noise are still intrusive.

Despite the minor tweaks, the car is still years behind rivals in terms of dynamic set-up. The rubbery steering is inconsistently weighted and there is a large ‘dead zone’ around the straight-ahead that makes it twitchy and unstable at higher speeds.

Plus, while the upright stance and high-up driving position is good for visibility and ground clearance off-road, the poor body control means the Korando pitches and leans heavily into corners. The ESP light flashes worryingly even at low speeds and on dry roads, and even the four-wheel-drive version has a disturbing lack of grip from either axle.

These handling weaknesses would be less of an issue if the Korando was more comfortable, but despite the multi-link rear axle, any broken surfaces soon expose a lack of composure as the wheels thump over potholes and expansion joints.

Inside, the tall centre stack – flanked by large air vents – is similar to the design in the Hyundai Santa Fe, and the armrest cubby and push buttons feel tough and solid. But there is also plenty of evidence of cost-cutting, with cheap, hard plastics and a poor level of finish that makes the aspirational wood-effect dash trim look sadly out of place.

Disqus - noscript

Had a good look at one of these and was quiet impressed.
It had possibly one of the best paint finishes I've seen deep and orange peel free. I didn't buy one, as it hasn't a track record here although I believe they used to make 4 x 4 vehicles for the USA army. The CO2 levels were also high with the auto box fitted.
Overall it had what most people want out of a SUV. Hope the Mk. 2 version is better.

Looked at this and the Duster and the Korando is a better buy and built better aswell

For some reason the press hate these cars. Looked at this a Duster and Subaru XV. The Duster is nice but low power and tinny along with the XV in poverty spec they just didn't cut it. The Korando for everyday driving is excellent and feels far better made than the other two. Also the standard kit is fantastic for the money another 8K to get anywhere near in a Qashqai. No its not a race car but going back and forth to work on the A1 its spot on. You really need to give this manufacturer a break look at overall value 5 year unlimited mileage warranty and 5 years servicing for £500 gives piece of mind and keeps the running costs down. I stopped subscribing to Auto Express for the very reason above.

Key specs

  • Car tested: SsangYong Korando 2.0 SE
  • Price: £14,995
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel
  • Power: 147bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 9.9 secs
  • CO2: 147g/km
  • Equipment: 16-inch alloys, cruise control, air-con, leather steering wheel, electric front windows
  • On sale: December
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