Our cars: Ssangyong Korando - August
Week ending August 24
Driven this week: 320 miles
Ssangyong Korando review
Some cars seem born to carry a bike rack. The Korando is one of them. My standard-issue Halfords item fits a treat, helped by the brackets left by the towbar when it's removed.
On some cars I have struggled to find a place to locate two hooks that have to be fixed underneath the car. I've never favoured using the bumper, because the straps have to be pulled very tight.
The spare mounting points for the Witter towbar are perfect and the rest of the bike rack fits with ease.
I did notice more wind noise than normal when the bikes were mounted, but can only assume that was more to do with how I had positioned the bikes than anything to do with the Korando. Now we've got the rack set-up for the Ssangyong, we'll be able to fill it in seconds and carry bikes a lot more.
Week ending August 24
Driven this week: 363 miles
One of the oddities of our Korrando is the boot cover, which only appears to begin halfway along the boot, some six inches or so behind the back seats.
I'd been wondering why it might have been conceived that way since taking delivery. I now realise it's because the back seats not only fold forward, but also recline backwards.
It's a compromise in my book, because it means the retractable (and removable) cover sits halfway along the boot, so tall items that require the cover to be left open don’t always fit without removing the cover entirely.
Week ending August 17
Driven this week: 408 miles
Did I mention the five-year warranty on the Korando? Thought not. I was reminded of this by Ssangyong’s new television advert, where another Vitamin Red SX model was staring down the tubes at me.
The advert is worth a look, if for no other reason that it is unusually aggressive towards its key competitors. Car buyers in the USA are used to these tactics, but it’s rare to see this approach over here
It’s all about value and the Korando’s price is pushed hard.
Back to the warranty, Ssangyong also claims superior coverage. The small print needs close scrutiny, but important items such as wheel bearings, shock absorbers and suspension components have unlimited-mileage coverage where others offer only 60,000 miles.
Week ending August 10
Driven this week: 379 miles
I spent a week in colleague Iain Reid’s Mazda CX-5 recently, and when we swapped back, I was surprised at how easily I accepted £10k less of refinement and style.
Within half a mile, I felt back at home in the Korando, and barely missed the superior cabin and equipment of the Mazda. Perhaps I am easily pleased, or more likely, the Korando offers everyday motorists a lot of what they are looking for in a modern car.
That is, except boot space. The only reason we swapped is because I took a holiday in Wales and was not confident of fitting everything into the Korando. The CX-5’s boot apparently has fewer litres, but there is no doubt in my mind that it’s a more useable luggage area.
Week ending August 3
Driven this week: 469 miles
We've spent £999 on Kenwood's optional sat-nav and Bluetooth unit, but I'm not sure if it's money well spent. It's a pretty complicated touch-screen set-up, with some tiny buttons to the left of the screen that offer alternative ways to switch between features.
My iPhone 3GS often fails to pair with the Bluetooth (probably an issue with the phone in all honesty) but when it does there is very limited functionality unless I am parked with the handbrake on. I understand the thinking in part – to prevent distraction while driving – but I think it might have the opposite effect, by forcing users who need to make a call to do so via their handset.
The approach is also inconsistently applied, because there are no restrictions while in motion of every other part of the system.
Garmin provides the navigation function and anybody familiar with one of their portable units will recognise the menu system and display. It's easy to operate and pretty reliable – if not as accurate as a TomTom in predicting arrival times.
The graphics and touchscreen buttons for other features, such as the radio, CD player and audio options are a bit garish to look at, and sometimes tricky to operate, but do their job.
Overall though, I wonder if I would have preferred an aftermarket Bluetooth kit and a dash-mounted TomTom.