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They've changed distributors, cut prices and altered the lineup and quite possibly, better things will come SsangYong's way this year. First thing of interest under Ateco Automotive stewardship is the arrival of a petrol Korando small SUV. Previously, all SsangYongs sold here were diesel.
Better yet is the price for the front wheel drive model which starts st $23,990, add two grand for the six-speed auto that we drove last week. There's no all wheel drive petrol model but most people don't want or need it and like the lower purchase price of two wheel (front) drive models.
Standard kit on the S model is pretty good with aircon, cruise, trip computer, heated side windows, power ancillaries, front and rear fog lamps, rear park sensors decent audio and Bluetooth connectivity included. A reverse camera would be handy as would reach adjust on the steering wheel.
The engine is a 2.0-litre, twin cam unit achieving 111kW/191Nm output. We wouldn't be surprised if it's sourced elsewhere like the diesel which comes from VM Motori.
What we do know is the six-speed auto box is the same as Hyundai and Kia's, a compact, efficient transmission that well suits the 1532kg petrol Korando by efficiently tapping into available torque without hunting and also changes up and down in small increments.
There's a sequential change mode too. The engine makes a reasonable fist of pushing the Korando and is capable of using as little as 7.5 litres/100km. It rides on a strut/multi-link suspension that feels well calibrated for urban duties offering a reasonable level of handling and good ride comfort.
The turning circle is commendably tight and minimal road noise intrudes into the Korando's cabin. It rolls on 16-inch alloys with a full size spare in the back.
It gets six airbags, remote keyless entry, hill start assist, rollover protection, active head restraints but no stability control. No ANCAP test results are available.
We drove the Giugiaro-styled Korando on a 100km urban and rural loop and could have been in a Japanese or other Korean compact SUV. It feels pretty much the same as other offerings in the class.
Performance is acceptable as is fuel economy and it's comfortable enough for everyday driving. The styling is attractive inside and out one of the first SsangYongs to be so blessed.
Ateco has pitched the Korando at the same level as the Great Wall SUV. Which one would you prefer? It's clear cut as far as we are concerned and the money would go on the Korean product every day.
Ssangyong Korando 2.0S
Price: from $23,990
Warranty: 5 years /100,000km
Engine: 2.0-litre petrol 111kW/191Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual / 6-speed automatic
Thirst: 7.5 L/100km