I will admit – SsangYong has never been on my radar. The vehicles to date have been somewhat, shall we say, an acquired taste?
Maybe they fired the designer – he or she never seemed to realise the errors of their ways but thankfully this latest rendition was handed to an Italian – and SsangYong just got sexy.
The new SsangYong Koranda offers all the space and versatility needed by active fun-seeking families like Tracey Taylor and son Alex, 3.
The SsangYong Korando is the baby of the SsangYong offerings, and even though it’s a compact SUV I would say it muscles itself well in to the mid-size SUV range. Its sleek styling draws you in; and once inside you could probably fandango in there, it’s so spacious!
Our test vehicle is the two-wheel drive petrol Limited Edition Korando, outfitted with the 2.0 e-XGi engine and six-speed automatic transmission.
Externally, it’s hard to fault – easy on the eye, flowing curves and a cheeky smile. A far cry from its 1974 beginnings as a Willys Jeep look-a-like, surviving more than 35 years to become a world record-holder for Korea’s longest surviving name plate – and at one point in time, being the ‘Dream Car of Youth’.
Town and around tuning
Driving the Korando is a very pleasant experience. The engine has been tuned to perfection for it’s urban destiny, with low-end performance being truly surprising. Getting away from the lights is no problem, even a bit fun! It doesn’t struggle on the open road either at 110kw – give or take a tiny bit – power is plentiful.
Inside, the Korando seems to perform a magic trick. You have to wonder how so much space could fit in to the body. Nothing is a chore either, all settings, controls, buttons, dials – everything – is simple and well thought out.
Even the rear-folding seats are a work of art – a simple touch of a button and the rear seats fold completely flat in one swoop. No fiddling with seat cushions and back rests, it all folds neatly in to the foot well in one motion.
The dashboard offers up USB and auxiliary inputs for your favourite devices; and Bluetooth hands-free for capable mobile phones. These are all entry-level standard features too. Our Limited Edition comes with some extra finishing and safety options, such as curtain airbags and ESP – activating all kinds of other safety features to keep you out of a roadside hedge.
All models boast a five-star KNCAP – the Korean version of ANCAP – safety rating too, so you know you and the family would be as safe as possible, should anything untoward happen.
Options to suit
The Korando comes in four flavours – the entry-level Sport, our test model Limited Edition, and the SPR. The 4th flavour is the SPR diesel, which gives the Korando SPR 129kw and 2000kg towing capacity – huge for a compact SUV.
The SPR variants are also the only all-wheel-drive models, if you need that stronger off-road ability. You have six exterior colours to choose from; and in the SPR model you also have the luxury of leather appointed seats with several colour options too.
I’m impressed. Very impressed. Prices for the Korando start at $27,990 for the Sport with six-speed manual gearbox – the only manual configuration available – all other models are automatic only.
Our test drive model comes in at $33,990, and prices go up to $41,990 for the SPR Diesel model. If you head in to Sheaff Vehicles on Kereiti St, just off Hewletts Road, they have a very special 3rd/3rd/3rd offer. What does that mean? Head on in to Sheaff SsangYong to find out!
Korando Limited Edition
Engine: 4-cylinder 2.0litre Petrol e-XGi200
Displacement: 1998cc, 109.6 kW
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Drive System: 2WD
Price From: $33,990
Dealer/Contacts: Sheaff Vehicles Ltd,
20 Kereiti St, Mount Maunganui.
Ph: 07 575 6722 or visit www.sheaff.co.nz