The last time we drove a SsangYong Korando, we criticised it for its noisy diesel engine and complete lack of refinement.
Since then, the guys at SsangYong have been busy rejigging the Korando and believe they have come up with a rightful competitor for compact SUVs like the Nissan Dualis.
Starting at $27,990, the SsangYong Korando is priced above the Nissan Dualis, Skoda Yeti, Jeep Compass, Patriot and Hyundai ix35. Certainly not a good start, but it makes up for it with a decent list of standard features and a spacious interior.
One of the most significant revisions to the Korando engine is an ECU remap, which has reduced the amount of noise emitted by the turbocharged diesel engine and improved power delivery. The 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine produces 129kW and 360Nm of torque.
Fuel consumption is a respectable 6.1L/100km on the combined cycle when coupled with the six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel-drive. That figure jumps to 7.5L/100km for the all-wheel-drive six-speed automatic Korando.
Even though the engine’s remap has improved the drive, the suspension hasn’t been adjusted. Rough roads and pot holes aren’t soaked up as keenly as they should be and the body roll is more noticeable than the Korando’s competitors.
Developed in Australia, the slick-shifting six-speed automatic gearbox works well with the Korando’s 2.0-litre diesel engine. The six-speed manual gearbox is also good, but can be a little notchy during gear shifts.
At highway speeds, there isn’t much noise from the road, but the engine can be heard when pushing on the throttle to pass other cars. While driving around town, the diesel engine is more pronounced as the revs rise.
Inside the cabin, hard and easy scratching plastics dominate the interior. Rough surfaces are also abundant. Luckily, the interior design isn’t too offensive and looks far smarter than SsangYongs of yesteryear.
Visibility out the front, rear and sides is good, but a little hampered by a chunky C-pillar.
The SsangYong Korando is available in three specification levels – S, SX and SPR. The S starts from $27,990 and comes with the option of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel-drive. The SX comes with all-wheel-drive and starts from $32,110; it too is available with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
At the top end of the Korando range, the SPR comes with heated seats, sunroof, automatic air conditioning, Bluetooth and leather seats. But, expect to fork out $38,775 for the privilege.
Although the SsangYong Korando comes with a raft of standard features, the ride and handling and pricing brings it down below its competitors .There are better buys to be had in what is well and truly a buyer’s market.