The 2020 SsangYong Korando goes on sale in Ireland in December priced from €24,495. We haven’t heard from SsangYong for a while but the brand is building a new presence in Ireland as SsangYong Automotive Ireland under new Country Manager John McKenna. The new Korando builds on the good form seen in the smaller Tivoli compact crossover, which has also undergone an update for 2020. Caroline travelled to Madrid, Spain, to test drive the new Korando.
The fourth generation Korando was designed at SsangYong’s R&D Centre in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. It’s out with the old and in with the new: the Korando is a car transformed since the previous generation of the SUV with a modern, edgy design language that follows on from the cool Tivoli launched back in 2016. This car has a good presence in the metal and is something distinctly different for the busy C-SUV segment.
Another major transformation has taken place inside the cabin of the new Korando. The simple horizontal layout is easy to navigate and cabin materials look good. Some of our high-spec test cars had the “Blaze Cockpit” with a 10.25” full digital cluster and 9” touchscreen unit and ambient lighting with 34 colours. However, this feature will be reserved for top-level ELX models in Ireland. No problem, the analogue dials look fine too. An 8” touchscreen is available from mid-level EL cars and supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The new Korando is longer and wider than the car it replaces with a longer wheelbase of 2,675mm, one of the longest in its class for increased comfort. The extra space is apparent, especially in the rear. Luggage capacity ranges from 408 to 551 litres with all seats in position depending on whether a spare tyre is specified, and there is up to 1,248 litres available with the rear seats folded. The rear seats split-fold 60:40.
In Ireland, the 2020 SsangYong Korando will be available with a new 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine (163 hp) and a revised Euro 6D-T compliant 1.6-litre diesel (136 hp). 6-speed manual and automatic gearboxes are available. The Korando is a front-wheel drive SUV, but all-wheel drive models will be available by special order. In Ireland, motor tax for the Korando range will vary from €280 to €590.
The Korando has always been a favourite for towing and the diesel automatic has a two-tonne towing capacity.
An electric Korando is expected in 2022 with a 61.5 kWh battery and ranges up to 350km (WLTP).
On the road
The 2020 SsangYong Korando sits on an all-new platform. Measures have been taken to make the Korando more refined on the road and suppress NVH (noise vibration and harshness). In a first for SsangYong, structural adhesives have been used to improve rigidity.
At the launch in Madrid, we had the opportunity to test drive a 1.6-litre diesel automatic and a 1.5-litre petrol manual.
On the road, early indications are that the 2020 Korando is a slicker and more refined vehicle with smooth gear changes and not too much intrusive engine, road or wind noise. The Korando has retained some feeling of an authentic off-roader in that it hardly feels athletic on the road and it leans a bit in corners. There’s actually a compliment in that – while most soft roaders feel like slightly loftier hatchbacks, the Korando feels more like it might seriously like to get its tyres dirty!
The Korando will be available in three trim lines in Ireland: ES, EL and ELX. Standard equipment will include 17” alloys, cruise control, electric, folding side mirrors, automatic lights and wipers, manual air-con, Bluetooth radio and steering wheel mounted controls.
EL models add equipment such as 18” alloys, an 8” touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, a heated, leather steering wheel, leather upholstery, heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors and dual-zone climate control.
ELX models get 19” alloys, Blaze Cockpit with 10.25” LCD screen, 9” touchscreen, ambient lighting, sunroof, wireless charger and silver roof rails.
The new Korando achieved a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating and safety equipment includes Autonomous Emergency Braking System, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, High Beam Assist, Front Vehicle Start Alert, Safety Distance Alert and Driver Attention Alert.
SsangYong Automotive Ireland is yet to release full pricing for the Korando range however it has been confirmed that petrol models will start from €24,495 and diesel from €26,495.
Encountering the new SsangYong Korando for the first time and it’s clear a revolution has been underway at SsangYong. At last, the Korando feels like a genuinely competitive product for the C-SUV segment and it arrives with considerable style, meaning that it may garner some fans with its design alone. It’s not just a value proposition anymore.
Interior design and quality have also improved dramatically and the Korando is available with all the latest technology and safety features. It’s a nice car to spend time in and offers good value in terms of the space available inside the vehicle.
Modern Euro 6d compliant engines crucially also feel up to the job.
Credits: Caroline Kidd