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Test drive: SsangYong Korando steps it up a gear

Koeran maker SsangYong has revamped its Korando, with an all-new interior and revised styling to match its Rexton and Tivoli stablemates.

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Test drive: SsangYong Korando steps it up a gear

The firm hopes this fresh looking compact SUV will grab more of the limelight than its rounded predecessor, taking sales from the Skoda Karoq, Nissan Qashqai and Seat Ateca.

 

And it should. This fourth generation Korando looks nothing like the model it replaces and has adopted some sharp European styling, with modern, sporty cues.

 

The firm’s seven-year, 150,000-mile warranty is equally as eye-catching and the range boasts a price which undercuts most of its rivals, starting at a touch under £20,000.

 

So, what do you get? At launch, power comes only from a 1.6-litre diesel packing a modest 136hp and 324Nm of torque – some downshift from the previous model’s 176hp 2.2-litre diesel.

 

A 1.5-litre petrol turbo will also follow, with 163hp.

 

But despite the on-paper power deficit, the lighter, more agile and more nimble-feeling Korando does not disappoint. It feels eager and responsive and does a good job of containing harshness, vibration and noise levels.

 

The Korando also rides well. Taught suspension stops it wallowing in corners, though the largest 19in wheels on our test model can deliver a fidgety ride on poorer surfaces.

 

In the cabin, the vantage point is pleasant, and build quality has gone up a notch.

 

Seats feel short of padding and the driving position can feel too upright, but this well-proportioned SUV delivers with space.

 

Easy

 

Its cabin width feels generous and a clever rear load compartment – while narrow – avoids using a lip, so loading is easy. A lift-out load floor comprising two panels, lets you access an underfloor space which can also be divided.


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There are four trim levels: ELX, Ventura, Pioneer and Ultimate. Our Ultimate test model was well-appointed, with a 9in multimedia touch-screen system, and a 10.25in virtual instrument panel, which lets you swap layouts according to your mood.

 

For those who want to tow, the diesel packs a 2,000kg towing capacity and four-wheel drive is also available. Launch models get an Aisin-derived six-speed auto version, with manual transmission due towards the end of the year.

 

While selectable drive modes include normal, sport and winter driving functions, the auto box also brings SsangYong’s automatic drive control, which monitors and shuffles torque among all four wheels.

 

Choosing Lock-Mode increases torque delivery to the rear axle, but at speeds above 40kph, this selection reverts to the default Auto mode for the preservation of dynamics and tyre life.

 

Slowing down sees Lock-Mode automatically re-engage. Choosing the petrol-powered Korando will reduce towing capacity by 500kg.

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