SsangYong isn’t exactly the best known automotive brand in Australia and it hasn’t had a new model of any of their vehicles that are available in Australia for over three years but that may all be about to change with the new SsangYong Korando.
The last time I saw a Korando it was an ugly boxy looking SUV powered by a 3.2-litre Mercedes-Benz petrol engine that SsangYong built under licence. Owners of early model SsangYong Korandos seemed to have a love/hate relationship with their vehicle and with SsangYong. You can read about our encounter with an early SsangYong Korando by following the link.
They loved the vehicle but hated the fact that the one part that was most likely to break on the Korando was the one part that took six to eight weeks to bring into Australia.
Hopefully that spare parts issue has been overcome now because the latest SsangYong Korando isn’t an ugly boxy looking SUV … it’s a sleek Italian designed vehicle that’s priced to sell.
The new SsangYong Korando comes in three models and with a starting price of $27,990 drive away it’s certainly going to attract some attention.
The base model is the Korando S and for $27,990 you get a 2WD powered by a 2.0-litre diesel linked to a six-speed manual gearbox. A six-speed automatic 2WD is coming in March for an extra $2,500.
The mid-range model is the SX is all-wheel drive manual and it’s powered by the same 2.0-litre diesel engine. The recommended retail price for the SX is $30,311 and you can add another $2500 to that price for the automatic version.
At the top of the pile is the fully-equipped Korando SPR that comes with six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive as standard and recommended retail price for the SPR is $36,811.
The e-XDi200 2.0-litre common rail diesel engine that comes with the Korando is brand-new. It features variable geometry turbo-charging and produces 129kW of power and maximum torque cuts in from 2000 rpm.
According to SsangYong the e-XDi200 is one of very few diesel engines in the Australian compact SUV market that meats Euro 5 emission standards.
There’s no doubt that it’s fuel efficient and SsangYong are claiming a combined cycle of 6.1L/100km for the manual 2WD model and 7.3L/100km for the automatic version. The numbers are equally impressive for the all-wheel drive versions with 6.4L/100km for the manual and 7.5L/100km for the automatic.
The six-speed manual has been designed to ensure what SsangYong refer to as “strong startability” as well as enhancing quietness and boosting fuel efficiency at cruising speed with a spread of ratios perfectly matched to the strong torque and performance of the turbo diesel engine.
The manual features overdrive on fourth, fifth and sixth gear taking advantage of the engine’s torque characteristics and it uses triple synchro on first through third gear with double synchro on fourth and fifth and a single synchro on sixth.
The six-speed Australian-built DSI automatic uses the e-Tronic system and is equipped with artificial intelligence that provides dynamic driving and optimal shifting by altering the shift pattern to match road and driving conditions.
The Korando AWD features a 4WD lock function which enables the driver to lock the system in marginal road conditions at low speed to ensure maximum grip and 50/50 power distribution to front and rear wheels.
All Korando models come with six airbags, electronically controlled interior rear view mirrors that dip when following headlights are too bright and the usual Electronic Stability Programme, Electronic Brake Distribution, Brake Assist System and Hill Start Assists.
From the photos it’s seems that the Korando has a neat but relatively uncluttered dashboard that doesn’t overwhelm the driver with buttons, knobs and other things.
There are plenty of storage spaces in the centre console, doors and behind the front seats and the new Korando comes with the usual 60/40 split fold rear seats that feature a fold and dive design to give a fully flat and smooth load area when required.
The front seats seem to provide plenty of side support and there appears to be plenty of legroom for the driver and front passenger. The seats in the S and SX models have cloth trim while the SPR model has leather trim.
Even at the base-model level there’s plenty of standard equipment including a six-speaker sound system with USB and Bluetooth connectivity. Power windows are standard as is air conditioning and the SX and SPR are both equipped with climate control.
A power operated sunroof is standard on the SsangYong Korando SPR.
S Model Standard Features
- Six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic transmission
- Leather wrapped steering wheel and gear selector
- Anti-lock Brake System, Electronic Brake Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Brake Assist System and Hill Start Assist
- 16” alloy wheels, including spare
- Silver roof rails
- Fabric seat trim
- Remote keyless entry
- Six SRS airbags — dual front airbags, side airbags and curtain airbags
- AM/FMCD audio with MP3 and USB facilities
- Six speakers
- Bluetooth with audio streaming
- Power windows
- Auto dimming interior rearview mirror
- Cruise control with Eco mode
- Tilt adjustable steering wheel, with audio, Bluetooth and automatic transmission shift controls
- Power and heated external door mirrors with LED side repeaters and safety downlight
- Optional rear cargo cover and net
- Front & rear floor mats
- Manual height adjustable driver’s seat
- Trip computer
- Centre high mounted LED stop lamp
- Manual controlled air-conditioning with seven-speed fan
SX Models Features
All the features of the S model plus:
- Active AWD
- 17” alloy wheels including full size alloy spare
- Front fog lamps
- Illuminated driver and passenger vanity mirrors
- Rear cargo cover and net
- Climate Control air-conditioning
All of the features included in SX model plus:
- Six-speed automatic as standard
- 18” alloy wheels including full size alloy spare
- Rear roof mounted spoiler
- Power sunroof
- Leather seat trim
- Heated front seats
- Power adjustable driver’s seat
- Power folding external door mirrors
And all that adds up to quite a challenger for the others in the compact SUV market … let’s just see if SsangYong can really break into that very competitive market.