Road Tests

Handbook: SsangYong Korando Sports

Time 10:37 am, April 17, 2013

081012-e-ssaHot on the heels of the Korando SUV, SsangYong is now targeting the pick-up sector. James Batchelor has driven it.

What is it?

It may be called Korando but it has little to do with the Giugiaro-designed SUV. It’s a tough pick-up designed to win sales from the established Mitsubishi L200, Nissan Navara and Toyota Hilux.

Screen shot 2013-04-17 at 11.35.03What’s under the bonnet?

It’s SsangYong’s own 2.0-litre diesel, reworked to give more low-down torque. It packs 153bhp and can haul a 2,300kg trailer if needed.

What’s the spec like?

It’s pretty good. As standard, Korando Sports SX versions get manual air con, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and remote central locking. Top-drawer EXT models gain 18-inch alloys, leather and parking sensors. Korando Sports start at £15,291 (excluding VAT) and rise to £18,999 (again, excluding VAT).

What’s it like to drive?

The Sports is the only pick-up in its class to have coil suspension at the rear – and it shows. On road manners are good as is ride comfort. The experience is only really spoilt by lifeless steering – but it’s not a huge gripe. Overall, the driving experience is more than satisfactory, and easily a match for the class best. The same can be said about the interior – it feels more car like than its rivals, but is slightly let down by hard plastics.

What do the press think?

Autocar concluded: ‘The Korando Sports represents excellent value for what is ultimately a well equipped and practical pickup,’ while Auto Express said: ‘The Korando Sports is rugged and capable, and offers a level of sophistication unheard of at this price.’

What do we think?

In a sector where rugged build quality at an affordable price is everything, the Korean pick-up is an worthy contender. If customers have driven an old SsangYong but not this new car, they would be advised to drive it.

The Sports is a big step-up from previous SsangYongs, and while there are a few negative points, the car’s affordable prices – it’s roughly 20 per cent cheaper than its major competitors – and five-year warranty means the Korando Sports is a very decent offering. It deserves to do well.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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