Ssangyong Korando long-term test review

The new Ssangyong Korando is aiming to offer unbeatable value while still excelling at the family SUV brief. We have ours for four months to see if it has the ingredients to succeed...

Ssangyong Korando long-term test

The car Ssangyong Korando 1.6D Ultimate 

Run by Max Edleston, junior photographer

Why it’s here The new Korando aims to take on the family SUV class leaders with improvements to its engines, suspension and interior quality. Over the next four months, we'll find out if it can do just that

Needs to Be spacious enough to carry all of my photography gear plus any passengers, comfortable enough to travel all over the country in and connected enough to function as a mobile office

Mileage 10,906 List price £31,995 Target Price £31,536 Price as tested £31,995 Test economy 41.3mpg Official economy 35.3mpg Private price now £21,278, Dealer price now £23,938, trade-in price £20,889

8 March 2020 – Budget brilliance

When I decided upon the Ssangyong Korando as my new car, I was eager to find out to what extent the Korean brand could compete with the mainstays of this class – think the Nissan Qashqai, Seat Ateca or Kia Sportage – but I also wanted to see whether it could offer the same features as a top-end SUV, take for example the Audi Q3 Sportback pictured below, for a much lower price.

It was a tall order, admittedly, but I have to say the Korando has, largely, blown me away.

A stand out element to the Korando Ultimate I chose is the level of technology and extras you get as standard – including heated and cooled seats, keyless entry, a powered tailgate and cruise control. Indeed, my car can do everything that fellow photographer Will’s Q3 Sportback can do, but I paid a lot, lot less for my car. While he has the badge appeal, then, I have more money in my pocket.

The interior of the Korando was my main highlight. With full leather seating and infinity mood lighting on the passenger’s side dashboard, it’s a stylish, comfortable and – after being rigorously tested – well built place to be. The seats and steering wheel are fully adjustable, allowing you to find the perfect driving position. This was vital for me, especially as I covered almost 11,000 miles in the four months of running this car. 

The other strong point of the Korando's interior was its infotainment screen. I found it to be responsive and stylish, and the shortcut buttons were well laid out and easy to understand. It also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is a huge positive for me because my car also serves a mobile office.

The rear seats are incredibly important in a car like this as well, and I’m pleased to say that everyone who traveled in the rear of my car was very impressed by the level of comfort and legroom available to them – including the person sitting behind all 6”2 of me.

Ssangyong Korando with Audi Q3 Sportback

It’s not all brilliant though, and the Korando does have its problems. The plastic piece of underfloor on the belly of the car come off twice, the first time was when I hit a puddle on the motorway traveling at 60mph, but the second time there was no cause at all – it just fell off. Additionally, the power tailgate failed on me after being exposed to a bit of rain, thereafter it wouldn’t lock without a strong push on the mechanism; not great, either for the car itself or the security of my camera kit inside.

And finally, I found the Ssangyong's incessant beeping to be somewhat annoying. Whether it was to alert me to the doors being open or to chastise my straying out of lane on the motorway, the loud beeps became more of a bugbear as time went on. Opening the powered tailgate became a particular chore; before the boot will open, the car beeps at you three times, pauses, and then another three times as it opens the boot. That’s six beeps to access my camera gear.

The only other real issue I had was with the parking sensors. Whilst everything else is making a noise at you, the parking sensors are incredibly delayed in announcing your proximity to nearby objects. In my early days with the Korando, I found myself nearly hitting objects in front of me because the sensors took so long to alert me.

Did those flaws stop me from enjoying my time with the Korando, then? Not a bit of it. Offering an enjoyable driving experience, a plethora of gadgets and a keen price, the Korando is proof that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a posh badge to get a great car. In this case, then, going cheap was, largely, very cheerful.

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