SsangYong Korando review
It won’t thrill you or turn the neighbours green with envy, but the latest Korando’s spacious cabin and competitive pricing make it a practical choice
What the Korando lacks in flair it makes up for in being a sturdy, dependable and practical choice in the family SUV market. Its spacious cabin and long warranty are high points and the uninspiring performance or handling aren’t likely to be a major barrier to many owners, though there’s still room for improvement on running costs - perhaps that’s something the upcoming electric model will fix, as well as putting an extra pep in the Korando’s step. Still, it’s a good effort, and the large towing capacity will be useful to some buyers, too.
About the SsangYong Korando
SsangYong’s latest Korando might not be top of your list of choices for a practical family SUV, but it certainly has several elements in its favour. Now in its fourth generation, the latest SsangYong takes qualities that the Korean brand has always offered, such as competitive pricing and good value for money, and combines it with surprisingly high quality and a cabin that’s up there with the best in class for space.
With a braked towing rating of up to 2000kg it’s also likely to appeal to caravanners and those with countryside pursuits in a way that more urban-orientated equivalents may not. The tradeoff there is that while it can match rivals on price or space, it’s not quite as good to drive as some equivalents from other brands, with uninspiring handling and engines that are effective but not over-endowed with performance or refinement.
Car group tests
The Korando is handsomely styled though, both outside and in - the quality and design of the materials used in the cabin actually just edges Nissan’s Qashqai, while large physical dimensions give it better interior space than many rivals, as well as a healthy boot. However, established players such as the Skoda Karoq, Kia Sportage and Ford Kuga will all prove tempting to customers seeking the best SUV package.
While it won’t blow you away in terms of economy (though an electric model is on the way to solve that particular issue), the Korando's competitive pricing and a warranty that matches rival Kia’s excellent seven-year duration are both strong selling points.
Engines, performance and drive
The Korando is not a car you’ll derive any fun from driving, but it’s well-suited to its intended use. That largely means cruising along and not tackling too many corners, and perhaps some towing thrown into the mix - something the diesel 4x4 model is best suited to.
There’s not a lot of flair to be found though. The chassis feels vague and the steering doesn’t offer much information about what’s going on at ground level either. There’s a fair degree of body roll too, while you shouldn’t hope for much improvement with the Sport button, as it largely just adds weight to the steering. Given the talented behaviour of rivals like the Peugeot 3008, that’s a shame.
The Korando doesn’t quite make up for it in terms of performance or refinement either. It can feel rather sluggish, and while the ride is decent most of the time, it’s more troubled at low speeds, particularly on the larger wheel options. The diesel in particular can become a little clattery sometimes too.
Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed
SsangYong offers a pair of engines in the Korando. One is a petrol 1.5-litre, the other a diesel 1.6, while both are turbocharged. Coupled to this you get front-wheel drive and a choice of manual or automatic transmissions in the petrol depending on the model, while the diesel is offered in automatic front-wheel drive or automatic 4x4 variants. None are what you’d call high performance machines, but their outputs should be more than adequate for their intended use. The petrol makes 161bhp and 280Nm of torque, and the diesel 134bhp and 324Nm, all managing 0-62mph in twelve seconds flat regardless of transmission or driven wheels. Top speeds are fairly similar too, the petrol manual stretching to 119mph, the auto 117mph, and the diesels 112mph.
MPG, CO2 and running costs
Of the two available engines, the diesel is naturally the most economical of the duo, specifically in front-wheel drive form with a quoted 46.3mpg combined. That drops to 41.5mpg for the 4x4 model, while the petrol models achieved a claimed 37.2mpg and 35.8mpg for the manual and automatic transmission respectively. All those figures are fairly standard for the class, though experience suggests you can expect a little less in the real world.
The front-drive diesel also has the most competitive CO2 figures at 159g/km. Despite being more frugal than the petrols, the diesel 4x4’s CO2 is actually a little higher than the petrol manual, at 178g/km to 172g/km, the mpg gap not quite enough to offset the higher CO2 diesels produce for a given quantity of fuel. The front-drive diesel receives a £215 annual tax bill, with other models slotting into the £540 bracket. Likewise, BIK rates are in the 34, 35 and 36% range for the front-wheel drive diesel over the next three tax years, with the others at a flat 37%.
At the base of the range in ELX trim the Korando sits in group 21, rising to group 26 by the time you reach the range-topping Ultimate models. This is a little higher than some rivals though - a basic Qashqai is only group 14, so insurance costs are worth comparing before you buy.
Residual values for the Korando aren't the best, so customers shouldn't expect to recoup a great deal come resale time. After three years and 36,000 miles of ownership, the lower-spec Korando models should be worth around 37-40% of their original value, while cars in top Ultimate trim will only retain about 32% over the same period.
Interior, design and technology
While it’s unlikely to tear buyers from their premium models, the latest Korando is more handsome than the car it replaces and with a few slightly chintzy exceptions, exterior detailing is good too. There’s only so much you can do to jazz up a boxy SUV profile but pronounced rear aches, a design flourish in the C-pillar and the bluff rear end all give the car some personality.
It’s a sign of how quickly SsangYong is progressing that we’d now consider its interior a step up from a Nissan Qashqai in terms of design and quality, with only a few bits of plastic trim letting the side down here and there. The major touchpoints are good though, and everything feels sturdy. There’s even a little design flair, courtesy of central vents whose design is replicated at either end of the dash and even bleeds into the front door trim. Comfort is good too, with wide and well-shaped seats, a spacious cabin environment and plenty of equipment to keep occupants happy.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
Eight- and nine-inch touchscreens dominate the Korando’s dashboard, depending on trim level. That’s not as broad as some but the displays are clear, and responsive to the touch. Integration with Android Auto and Apple Carplay is standard regardless of the version, so your phone should be able to make up for any features not included in the system itself.
Practicality, comfort and boot space
Stretching larger in most directions than several of its rivals the Korando has space on its side, and it makes the car among the more practical models in its class. There’s plenty of room for passengers and a sizeable boot too, while cubbies and cup holders are plentiful. There are several 12V sockets too and, with SsangYong aiming the Korando at caravan owners, it has another ace up its sleeve with a braked towing capacity of up to 2000kg in diesel Pioneer trim.
The latest Korando is a touch larger than rivals like the Nissan Qashqai. At 4450mm long, 1870mm wide and 1629mm tall, it’s 80mm longer, 70mm wider and 34mm taller than Nissan’s big-seller, while its 2675mm wheelbase is 29mm longer than that of the Nissan. It is however a touch heavier, with the lightest petrol, manual model coming in at 1505kg and rising to 1700kg for a diesel, 4x4 variant.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
Space shouldn’t be an issue wherever you’re sitting in the Korando. The tall roofline means headroom is abundant in both the front and back seats, and the flat floor and wide cabin make slotting three people across the rear bench pretty painless too.
The Korando’s extra size over close rivals like the Qashqai is beneficial for boot space as well as interior volume. With the rear seat in place there’s 551 litres available and 1248 litres with the seats folded flat, though this drops to 407 and 1104 litres in Pioneer models. A Qashqai offers up to 430 litres, but its 1598 litre seats-down volume is significantly greater.
Reliability and safety
The Korando achieved a full five-star crash test rating with EuroNCAP when assessed back in 2019. Breaking the scores down saw 88% for adult protection, 85% for child occupants, 68% for vulnerable road users (previously known as pedestrian protection) and 74% in terms of safety assistance systems, with features like active emergency braking and lane departure warnings to keep occupants and other road users safe.
With relatively low UK sales, there weren’t enough Korando-owning respondents for the car to feature in the most recent Driver Power survey - but SsangYong’s long history and one of the best warranties on the market both breed confidence.
Only one other manufacturer offers a warranty as long as SsangYong, and it’s another Korean brand - Kia. The seven-year, 150,000-mile warranty offered on the Korando is a fairly good indication the car is unlikely to prove too troublesome to own.
SsangYong quotes a one-year, 12,000-mile service interval for its cars (whichever is sooner). It also offers plans for servicing, with prices starting at just over £20 per month, which can be incorporated into the purchase cost.