Already well known for its value-led products, SsangYong NZ has added even more to its new-look Korando by improving its specification and reducing the price.
You know the story; SUVs, in all their shapes, sizes and sticker prices, are big sellers. The best movers at the moment are those in the $25k-$50k price bracket and for choice, well, buyers are spoilt. SsangYong’s Korando has been in this mix for a while now, debuting in its current form in 2011. It’s recently been enlivened with a new look and additional kit which will make the revised line-up appeal once again to the value hunters in this segment.
The Korando line now comprises three models starting with a front-wheel drive petrol option called the Sport, which is available in two spec levels, and there’s the range-topping SPR AWD diesel, as featured here.
The Sport uses a 110kW/197Nm 2.0-litre petrol four driving the front wheels via a six-speed auto. It’s rated at 7.9L/100km on average and SsangYong quotes a maximum braked tow rating of 1500kg. It is being offered at an introductory price of $27,990, which handily undercuts Kia’s base mode Sportage LX urban by $2000. For those wanting a bit more flash, the Sport Limited adds roof rails, tinted glass, a spoiler and larger 17-inch alloys. And for just $2000 extra, it wouldn’t take a master salesman to convince buyers to make the walk up to this model.
Along with the revised look, which is most notable on the front end for its wider grille, larger air intakes in the bumper and headlights with the DRL signature, there is also added specification. While the Korando lacks some of the newer active safety features, all models now boast six airbags with full length side curtains, as well as the mandatory ESP. There’s also a new in-dash infotainment system, a multifunction steering wheel, a reversing camera, and front and rear parking aids.
Those who need a bit more tow and traction from their compact SUV should consider the SPR Diesel range topper with AWD and a 2000kg haul rating. It’s powered by a Euro5-compliant four-pot, there’s a new six-speed auto and the on-demand AWD system features a lock-up mode for the centre diff. The SPR model also gains leather trim, heated seats, 18-inch ‘diamond-cut’ alloys, an upgraded instrument cluster and climate air con. With a sticker price of $39,990, it comfortably undercuts the likes of Hyundai’s entry-level Tucson diesel by $12,000 and the Elite model by a cool $15k.
And on top of this, SsangYong new car buyers now receive added peace of mind with a new warranty period which has been extended to five years or 100,000km, along with a five-year roadside assistance package.
Inside, the cabin’s centre stack now includes a seven-inch touchscreen, and with an HDMI port it allows for smartphone mirroring, helping negate the fact it misses out on factory sat nav. The trip computer relays all the info you might need, including a digital speed readout in between the two main dials. As for average fuel use, this unit was registering in the eight litres per 100km range for what was largely commuter-type mileage, impressive considering the quoted average is 7.5L/100km.
The engine, apart from being a mite noisy on start-up, is otherwise a strong unit. It is torquey at the lower end of the rev range and as the auto is quick to sort itself, you’re not left waiting for things to happen when you punch the gas at any give way sign. The ride is agreeable at urban speeds and main highway cruising. Only when pushed along on rural-type roads does it start to fidget. Other than the steering being a tad slow on the turn, it otherwise gives a good feel for the action. In the bends, the front end loads up nicely to the point where the front tyres have given of their best and you soon learn not to push further as the ESP is then quick to reprimand you.
The powertrain is on the money out here too, the diesel packing a solid midrange, and it revs freely to its power peak at 4000rpm despite it being relatively new. With a few more kilometres under the treads, we would expect the Korando SPR to improve on its 10.9sec 0-100km/h time. The transmission is sorted, doing a better job in its power mode where the shifts are slick, and with spot-on protocols you don’t feel the need to revert to the switch on the gearlever to manually select the ratios yourself.
Other than the driver’s squab being a little flat, the seating position is friendly, heated too if it’s cold out, while the materials are of a high grade for the money asked, as is the level of the build quality.
Out back, the rear seat can be reclined slightly and there’s decent lounging space for what is a compact SUV in terms of its overall length. Even the middle seat passenger fares well given there’s good footroom afforded to all by a flat floor. There are the usual Isofix points, and now with full length curtain airbags the Korando is a better prospect for those who regular ferry bods in the rear. There’s a full-size spare under the boot floor so that’s higher than normal, but the length and width are about line-ball for the class. The load bay can be extended easily by enacting the split folding system, the seat base sinking down as the backrest folds forward. A simple lever pull results in a flat load space.
With the enhanced look and specification levels, Korando’s value quotient has been improved, and those shopping for Tucson and Sportage should do themselves a favour and check this out if they want a similar proposition for less of an outlay.
|Model||SsangYong Korando SPR||Price||$39,990|
|Engine||1998cc, IL4, TDI, 129kW/360Nm||Drivetrain||6-speed auto, on-demand AWD|
|Fuel Use||7.5L/100km||C02 Output||199g/km|