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First Drive

First Drive: Ssangyong Korando

Ssangyong Korando 1.5 T-GDI Ultimate
The story: Diesel’s market share is ever-shrinking, so buyers are flocking to petrol like it’s 1999, which means brands have to have a good option. This is Ssangyong’s.
Key rival:Seat Ateca
On sale:Now

More for less, that’s what the Ssangyong Korando offers, especially in petrol-powered Ultimate trim.

Up front lies a turbocharged four-cylinder 1.5-litre engine that produces 163hp and 207lb ft of torque. An average of 35.5mpg is… okay, but CO2 emissions of 182g/km aren’t particularly wonderful when an equivalent Seat Ateca emits 149g/km and does an average of 39.2mpg.

As standard, the Korando comes with a six-speed manual gearbox, but we’re testing it with the six-speed automatic transmission, which will set you back £2000 on Ultimate-spec models.

First Drive - May 2021 - Ssangyong Korando - Image 2That £28k price gets you a two-wheel drive SUV with leather trim, electrically adjustable front seats that are both heated and cooled, a heated steering wheel and dual-zone climate control. Not bad, you might think. Then you clock the 10.25-inch full digital instrument display, the nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which also incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the keyless entry and go, LED headlights with automatic full beam, “Infinity” mood lighting and the power tailgate, and you understand the “more” part of the description.

However, where the “less” comes in is in how the Korando drives. That 1.5 petrol isn’t exactly punchy, which means you have to work it hard. Unfortunately, the motor is keen to let you know just how much of a shift it’s putting in. That said, when you just cruise it is very quiet.

The Korando also handles neatly, but the ride is far too firm for comfort.

As for space, the Korando is good, with plenty of room up front, decent space for the three in the rear seats, and a big boot.

euan doig

The verdict

Korando provides good space and kit at a decent price, but is let down by the way it drives and its efficiency.