This has got to be the best-looking SsangYong in history. It's the new SsangYong Korando, offering a body design that could easily be mistaken for a European car.
The new car features a 2.0-litre turbo diesel e-XDi200 engine outputting 129 kW of power at 4000 rpm and 360Nm of torque from 2000rpm. You may have noticed the 'e' prefix in front of the engine name suggesting there might be some form of electrical assistance under the hood. And there is.
The engine uses a little something called Electric Variable Geometry Turbocharger, a bit like a Porsche 911 Turbo in that the 'size' of the turbo veins are expandable and contractible. Basically it means there's little or zero turbo lag down low and plenty of puff once the engine is in full swing.
This technology also means the engine can be efficient. SsangYong says it will achieve 6L/100km on average and emit just 157 grams of CO2 per kilometre. Not bad for a 129kW soft-roader.
Back to those looks though. Yes, it is a SsangYong - not usually known for creating great looking cars - but this looks like a European car, and there's a good reason for that. It is European. It was designed by the famous Italian design studio, Giorgetto Giugiaro. This studio penned cars like Maserati's 3200GT, the Alfa Romeo 159 and Brera and the glorious Ferrari 250 GT... a company that knows a thing or two about art.
It's yet more evidence of the rising power of the Korean auto industry. Manufacturers such as Kia, Hyundai and SsangYong now have enough money to employ the 'big guns' during development which in turn helps the companies churn out more desirable products such as this.
The chassis is a monocoque structure, so it does without the ancient, although sometimes more robust, ladder-bar chassis design. It does mean the car is relatively light weight (1672kg in manual form - 1591kg in 2WD) though, and offers better rigidity and strength not only for driving performance but also for more security during a crash; the impact can be distributed more evenly through the car instead of being 'shocked' along two common rails.
Other safety features include six airbags, electronic stability control with anti-roll over protection, anti-lock brakes and Emergency Stop Signal.
The package will be available in either front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive form with a manual or automatic gearbox. The car goes on sale in overseas markets at the end of 2010. It's unsure if and when the Australian launch will take place. We'll keep you updated.
2011 SsangYong Korando is scheduled to launch in Australia in January, 2011.
Check out the recently released YouTube video below for a closer look.