First Drive

2014 Ssangyong Korando review

  • Face-lifted budget SUV driven in the UK
  • Improvements to cabin quality and refinement
  • On sale now, priced from Β£14,995
Words ByEd Callow

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The new Ssangyong Korando is a revised version of the compact SUV that first appeared in 2011.

As part of a mid-life face-lift, Ssangyong has upgraded the quality and design of materials in the cabin and also worked on improving refinement.

Like the outgoing model, the new Korando come with a choice of two diesel engines, manual and automatic gearboxes and two- and four-wheel drive.

There are four trims: SE, SE4, ELX4 and ELX4 Auto. We tried an entry-level SE model, as well as a range-topping ELX4 Auto.

What’s the 2014 Ssangyong Korando like to drive?

In 147bhp SE guise, there’s no denying the Korando is a more refined car than before. New engine mounts and the use of more sound-deadening material make the cabin much quieter.

True, the engine is still slightly grumbly around town, and not as smooth as the best rivals', but it is at least hushed at higher speeds.

In SE trim, the Korando comes with two-wheel drive, and a claimed average fuel economy of 47.1mpg. This figure is very similar to the Hyundai ix35 1.7 CRDi’s, which is impressive when you consider the extra punch of the Ssangyong’s engine. The 265lb ft of torque also gives the Korando plenty of appeal as a cheap tow car.

The ELX4 Auto comes with a 173bhp diesel engine. Unfortunately, it's not a particularly refined powertrain. The engine drones loudly around town and creates a racket even on faster roads.

The automatic β€˜box also hangs on to gears for too long, and the manual buttons on the steering wheel and gearstick are constantly overridden by the computer. The six-speed manual is a far better choice.

Two-wheel drive models come with 16-inch alloy wheels as standard, which help keep the ride fairly comfortable at higher speeds. However, the Korando still jostles you around a bit too much at lower speed – particularly over broken Tarmac.

Unfortunately, the larger alloys fitted as standard to the more expensive four-
wheel drive models make the ride even less settled and generate considerably more road noise at motorway speeds.

What’s the 2014 Ssangyong Korando like inside?

There are no changes to the interior space in this face-lift, which means you get the same generous room for rear passengers, as well as a 486-litre boot. The Korando doesn’t have as much luggage capacity as a Hyundai ix35, then, but its rear seats fold completely flat to give a level load bay.

Cabin capacity may not have changed, but the dashboard has had a thorough makeover. A more stylish centre console houses a revised, Bluetooth-compatible audio system with USB and aux-in sockets.

New soft-touch materials on top of the dashboard and armrests replace the cheap-feeling plastics in the old car, and there are also wood grain inserts across the middle of the console. From the driver’s perspective, the whole layout now looks and feels much classier.

As with the outgoing model, entry-level cars come with a decent level of equipment for the price, while more expensive models get luxuries such as larger wheels, heated leather seats, an electric sunroof and privacy glass.

The face-lift is most obvious from the front of the car, where smart headlamps incorporate LED daytime running lights. There are also new alloy wheel designs available across the range.

Should I buy one?

While the Korando still doesn’t beat its rivals in any area other than price, its cabin appeal and refinement are much improved.

The entry-level car is reasonably efficient and very cheap to buy – it undercuts the cheapest diesel Hyundai ix35 or Kia Sportage by at least Β£2300, so has clear appeal as a budget compact SUV.

The 173bhp diesel is best avoided, though; it’s far too raucous, and is available only with the hesitant and inefficient six-speed auto gearbox.

However, if you’re in the market for a good-value family-sized SUV, then the cheaper Ssangyong Korando models should now be on your shortlist.

What Car? says…


Hyundai ix35

Kia Sportage

Ssangyong Korando 2.0 SE
Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
Price from Β£14,995
Power 147bhp
Torque 265lb ft
0-62mph 9.9 seconds
Top speed 116mph
Fuel economy 47.1mpg
CO2 147g/km

Ssangyong Korando 2.0 SE4
Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
Price from Β£16,495
Power 147bhp
Torque 265lb ft
0-62mph 9.9 seconds
Top speed 116mph
Fuel economy 45.6mpg
CO2 157g/km

Ssangyong Korando 2.0 ELX4
Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
Price from Β£19,995
Power 147bhp
Torque 265lb ft
0-62mph 9.9 seconds
Top speed 116mph
Fuel economy 45.6mpg
CO2 157g/km

Ssangyong Korando 2.0 ELX4 Auto
Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
Price from Β£21,495
Power 173bhp
Torque 265lb ft
0-62mph 9.9 seconds
Top speed 112mph
Fuel economy 37.7mpg
CO2 199g/km