Ssangyong Korando Review 2021 | Top Gear
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BBC TopGear
Car Review

Ssangyong Korando

£ 19,410 - £ 31,085
510
Published: 23 Aug 2019
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Cheap, but doesn't always feel it. The Korando is coming of age

Good stuff

Space, equipment, cheap but doesn't look it

Bad stuff

Sluggish diesel engine, lumpy suspension

Overview

What is it?

The chromey LED-licious nose could almost be a VW's. The inside could be a Honda's. If SsangYong isn't at the front of peoples' minds, at least it's more or less capable of being confused with some pretty senior players.

Pay it a closer inspection and it's not quite there, but we're at the stage of saying things about the Korando that we said about other big-name Koreans only a model-generation ago. It's on a steep ascent. The sort of upward gradient, one might unkindly add, that's only possible if you start from a lowish altitude.

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The Korando is a well-proportioned, generously sized and specced compact crossover. That's a mighty strong starting point in today’s market.

The old one was a favourite choice of value-seeking caravanners and trailerists. The new one with diesel power will haul a two-tonne trailer too.

Engines have been downsized, to a 1.5 GDI petrol and new 1.6 diesel, but 4x4 is still available with the diesel auto. In 2020 an all-electric version will be added, with a range well beyond 200 miles.

The Korando is less than 4.5m long – about the same as a Ford Focus – but that length encloses a whole bunch of cabin space. Tech is part of the pitch. A suite of active safety acronyms is fitted to all versions, as well as fancy cockpit gear including a virtual instrument screen rejoicing in the name BlazeCockpit.

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Prices are sharp. It starts at under £20k for a petrol, but the equipment tally on that is a bit workmanlike. Step up to the Ventura trim for a bigger centre screen, bringing CarPlay and a reversing camera, plus heated seats and 18s.

Then something interesting happens to the range, with the Pioneer spec. This takes the diesel-auto powertrain for a two-tonne towing ability, while losing a few bells and whistles from the ELX spec.

Top one is called Ultimate and gets the virtual cockpit, LED headlights, heated and cooled electric leather seats, navigation and dual-zone climate. Plus those not entirely beneficial 19-inch low-profile tyres. It's still only £26,495 for a petrol manual, though to add diesel, auto and 4WD it's another £5,500.

What's the verdict?

Cheap, but doesn't always feel it. The Korando is coming of age

If you look at the Korando in isolation, it's a bit average. But the sticker price and the warranty claw back ground. Perhaps not all it needs to, though. A Skoda Karoq is barely smaller and barely more expensive.

It's got some useful qualities – a robust cross-country ability, lots of towing gumption, heaps of rear space and a well-equipped cabin. It's also cannily styled. But even among vehicles with 4x4 there are more refined car-like options out there.

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