Our cars: Ssangyong Korando - November
Week ending November 23
Driven this week: 376
Ssangyong Korando review
The recent wet and windy weather has proved that the Korando can be noticeably unsettled by crosswinds.
While travelling on the M3 this week a large gust threatened to blow it off-course. This is not unique to the Ssangyong. I was following a Mitsubishi Shogun at the time and it was clear that its driver was also affected.
Regular-shaped, lower-slung cars did not seem to have the problem in the same way.
Earlier in the day, I'd happily splashed my way through some deep water on a local lane, which if I'd not been in the Korando and I would have tackled far more cautiously.
It just goes to prove that you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
Week ending November 16
Driven this week: 231
The What Car? office car park is full to bursting at the moment, and I've taken the opportunity to hop in and out of a variety of cars over the past week.
One of them was a Nissan Qashqai; my first time in a car that consistently ranks highly in whatcar.com searches and as one of our favourite SUVs. I took a ride home in a 1.6-litre petrol model, available at similar money to our Korando.
There is no doubting the superiority of the interior finish, and it also has a more sensible balance between rear legroom and boot space. I must admit, though, I found the engine working a little bit hard on the motorway (no sixth gear), but the Korando is hardly a model of refinement itself.
One thing's for sure, you'd be daft not to have a very good look at a Qashqai before buying a Korando, even if it meant selecting a more basic version of the Nissan.
Week ending November 9
Driven this week: 195 miles
As autumn turns to winter, the Korando is beginning to look like a proper 4x4 more than ever. It's not the cleanest it has ever been right now (certainly on the outside), but the mud splats up the side are more of a badge of honour on something with the workhorse credentials of the Ssangyong.
It's got me thinking that at some stage I ought to put its four-wheel-drive system to good use. The Korando comes with a locking differential, which allows each axle to rotate as a single shaft, rather than an open differential, which will reduce torque to the opposite wheel should the other slip on snow or mud, for example.
What that means in practice is that a locked differential is favoured in challenging conditions. Now all I have to do is find some.
Ssangyong Korando 2.0D 4WD SX
Week ending November 2
Driven this week: 215
I had my first commute in the Korando the other day, when regular keeper Mr Golby was otherwise engaged.
There's no doubt that the engine and gearbox are a bit rough and ready - the clatter on the cold-morning start-up was pretty shocking, to be frank - but once the Ssangyong got up to speed on the motorway, I actually started to award it respect. It had enough torque to not feel outgunned, and I appreciated the decent levels of front visibility (helped, no doubt, by that slightly elevated SUV driving position).
Then we hit town traffic, and progress slowed to the usual stop-start queuing. The Korando was much less content in these conditions; they highlighted the fact that the diesel motor doesn't quieten down that much even when it's warmed up, and revealed that the clutch pedal now has a creak that kicks in when you depress it. Oh, and on its way up again.
Believe me, by the time I got to the office, I was wishing it was an automatic.