1 Feb 2011
While ‘style’ and ‘SsangYong’ are far from synonymous, the Italian-designed 2011 Korando small-SUV had more to recommend it than rugged design and affordability. Just as well too, considering its price-point rivals included the Kia Sportage, Hyundai ix35 and the Mitsubishi ASX – all worthy cars.
Marking a renaissance of sorts for the South Korean carmaker in Australia, the Korando was a significant step toward modernity compared to the vehicles that preceded it. Yes it was cheap to purchase, but it was certainly not nasty to own.
Stepping away from the ladder frame chassis setup that formed part of the companies ethos, the Korando employed modern monocoque design that afforded advantages in refinement, economy and safety.
The car’s engine and transmission combination was also right at the top of its class, with a strong Euro 5 diesel matched to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. It also followed the trend of other manufacturers by offering the Korando in 2WD form, only the Korando significantly undercut its rivals on price. At the time of launch, there was no petrol engine, but that should be addressed by early-2012.
Producing 129kW with an official consumption figure of 6.1 litres (though we found it to closer to 8.0 in our test), it was a smooth and powerful unit. The only real downsides were a wild variation in refinement levels between our test cars.
One of the Korando’s strong points was its long list of standard features on the base model that included alloy wheels, all sorts of audio connectivity – including Bluetooth streaming for iPhone music – auto-dimming mirror, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and alarm. It went up from there.
One shortcoming was the lack of sat-nav availability, and nor does the vehicle have a console LCD screen or in-dash recess that could quickly accommodate one.
Despite a few small flaws, the Korando was a good-looking, well-made, powerful and well-equipped contender in the bustling compact-SUV segment.