First Drive: Ssangyong Korando Sports

When is a Ssangyong Korando not a Ssangyong Korando?

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-charged diesel

Transmission: six-speed manual

Power: 155 PS

Torque: 360 Nm between 1,500 and 2,800 rpm

Fuel consumption (combined cycle): 31.4 mpg

CO2 emissions: 199g/km

Top speed: 107mph

Acceleration (0-62 mph): N/A

Price: TBA (see text)

When is a Ssangyong Korando not a Ssangyong Korando? That’s not the most obviously gripping question of the day but it’s one you might soon find yourself pondering if you’re in the market for a value-for-money 4x4.

On the one hand, there’s the Korando with which you may already be familiar, the “real” Korando, so to speak, which is Ssangyong’s competitor for the Nissan Qashquai, Mitsubishi ASX, Kia Sportage and Hyundai iX35 in the light crossover SUV market. That’s the one you may have seen being advertised lately on the TV with a no-nonsense straightforward value-for-money message highlighting its price, which undercuts the competition by a good few thousand pounds. That model is probably Ssangyong’s most polished product so far and deserves to do well.

And then there’s the other Korando, the Korando Sports, the vehicle badged in some other countries as the Actyon. That’s worth a look too, but it doesn’t have much in common under the skin with the Korando that’s just a Korando, despite being broadly the same size. Where the Korando has an all-in-one monocoque body structure like most road cars and crossovers, the Korando Sport has a separate chassis, a rugged form of construction favoured for hard-core off-road vehicles such as the Land Rover Defender. The Korando’s engine is fitted transversely, while the Korando Sport’s is mounted longitudinally, but most obviously the Korando Sport is a four-door cab pick-up truck while the Korando proper has a normal five-door hatchback body. Name recognition is the reason we have two Korandos, and this sort of thing is not unknown in the motor industry; BMW is expected soon to expand its 1-Series line with front-wheel drive cars that have little in common with the main 1-Series models which have rear-wheel drive, and if it’s good enough for BMW, it’s probably good enough for Ssangyong.

So what’s the Korando Sports, like? Not bad at all, but quite different to the other one in feel as well as construction. Where the Korando represents Ssangyong’s big bid to break into the mainstream, the Korando Sport is more typical of the sort of interesting niche product the company has traditionally made – the enormous Rodius for large families and the Rexton with its separate chassis for people who want to tow big horseboxes and caravans, for example. The Korando Sports’ separate chassis gives it some of the same toughness but it also has coil-sprung rear suspension, making it a touch more sophisticated than its rivals in the pick-up market such as the Mitsubishi L200.

Out on the road, the Korando Sports still has the distinctive pattery feel of a car with a separate chassis but the ride on those coil springs is pretty comfortable. Ssangyong’s diesel engine is a gutsy thing that provides surprisingly strong acceleration as well as being comparatively civilised. One notable feature is the Korando Sports’ low first gear, which would probably be a godsend on a hill start with a heavy trailer that exploits this car’s whopping 2.3 tonne towing capacity. If you jump straight into the Korando Sports from an Audi, the interior is going to feel a bit plasticky, but it’s actually much more car like than what you’d find in most pick ups.

Ssangyong is the often overlooked smaller player in the Korean motor industry but after quite a lot of chopping and changing, not least a switch in ownership from China’s SAIC to India’s Mahindra & Mahindra (which now holds 70% of the company), things seem to be settling down a bit, with a restored flow of new products pointing to steady improvement. The likably chunky Korando Sports probably has what it takes to build up a following when it goes on sale in the autumn but as always, much will depend on pricing. Ssangyong is hinting that the full price including VAT will be roughly the same as the ex-VAT prices advertised by the competition (many pick-up users are able to reclaim the VAT if they jump through enough hoops). If that turns out to be the case, the Korando Sports should find quite a few takers, especially as it also enjoys Ssangyong’s UK market five-year unlimited mileage warranty.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

    £40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

    Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

    £26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

    £17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

    Day In a Page

    Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

    ‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

    Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
    Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

    Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

    But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
    Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

    Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

    Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

    ... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
    Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

    Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

    Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
    12 best olive oils

    Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

    Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
    Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

    Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

    There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
    England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

    England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

    In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)