FORGET those hulking off-roaders with fat, whining tyres, stubbly aerial growth and the silhouette of a Queenslander.
The compact SUV segment attracts far more sophisticated clientele more interested in a broad-shouldered station wagon that sits just a little higher than the rest of the traffic and is usually – but not necessarily - fitted with all-wheel drive.
To that end, SsangYong has varied its tough 4WD menu and has added its own decaf soy latte, the Korando - an attractive, car-like compact SUV.
The question you have to pose is, does the new Korando have enough substance beneath its pretty face to give it legitimacy in what is now a highly competitive segment with many entrenched, well-regarded competitors?
Model release date: February 2011
THE third-generation SsangYong Korando – a re-working of the second generation – reintroduced the Korando nameplate to this country in May 2004 as the Korean brand made yet another foray into the Australian market.
Available in both hard-top and soft-top variants, the Jeep-like three-door Korando came with just one engine option – a 2.9-litre 88kW/258Nm five-cylinder diesel from Mercedes-Benz – even though petrol engines were available overseas.
The rough-and-ready Korando was renowned for its ruggedness, riding on a tough ladder chassis – a cut-down version of the bigger Musso platform – and no-nonsense, if unspectacular, off-road performance.
But, in the end, its lack of on-road sophistication and style overwhelmed its virtues, with the Korando going out of production in South Korea in 2006.
Sales of remnant stocks drifted on until 2007 in Australia, before the then importer packed it in.