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Ssangyong Korando SPR 2011 review

Ssangyong looks to have turned the corner in this country with the new and handsome Korando compact SUV worlds away from the stylistically challenged Stavic and Actyon. There's a new ute just around the corner too and more models in the pipeline. Like other Korean manufacturers, Ssangyong has engaged the services of established automotive designers, in this case Giugiaro, to pen its new vehicles including Korando. And it shows.

One of the best lookers in the compact SUV class, Korando backs up the visuals with an impressive powertrain featuring an engine from Italy and now, a six-speed automatic transmission from ... Australia.

Correct, we make auto boxes right here and they are really good. Makes you wonder why they aren't in Falcons, Commodores and Camry/Aurions.

VALUE

The range topping SPR test vehicle ($36,811) is well equipped featuring aircon, cruise, power driver's seat, Bluetooth and audio streaming, USB and AUX plugs, a full size alloy spare, reclining rear seats, 18-inch alloys and heated front seats to name just a few goodies.

Safe too with roll over mitigation, six air bags, stability control and safety cell chassis/body as well as rear park assist.

TECHNOLO0GY

The engine is a Euro 5 compliant 2.0-litre turbodiesel from VM Motori and is good for 129kW/360Nm, the latter from 2000rpm.

The front wheel drive diesel base model Korando can sip fuel at a low 6.1-litres/100km but the range topping SPR (auto only) we drove used around 8.0-litres/100km. Still acceptable but the smallish 57 litre tank limits range.

Korando tops the class with a 2000kg towing capacity with a braked trailer.

DRIVING

We drove the six-speed manual Korando a few months ago and found it pretty good - spoiled a bit by a modicum of of turbo lag and overly aggressive torque delivery at low revs. It came on too strong meaning you had to adopt a certain driving style for smoothness.

So, we thought the auto would be a better prospect and were totally correct, it's heaps better to drive in all environments and you still get impressive launch feel.

The engine sounds like a diesel at low revs but is smooth and quiet once underway. This is aided by a balance shaft and mass flywheel that makes its presence felt at about 2000rpm or 110kmh on the freeway.

The six speed auto offers sequential change mode from steering wheel buttons and also sport mode, just as good as anything else on the market.

Korando is set up at the sporty end of the ride/handling spectrum and is well tied down offering a sporty feel from behind  the wheel. This is a good compromise for on and off road driving as it's not too firm but not too soft. Off road driving is aided by a lockable all wheel drive system giving 50/50 drive front/rear. Korando can also be left in normal drive mode which is predominantly to the front with the rear engaged as needed.

Apart from too many hard surfaces inside, we like this vehicle ... it looks good, goes really well, has broader off road applications than most of its competitors and is generously equipped.

Pricing guides

$9,993
Based on 16 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$7,990
Highest Price
$14,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
S 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $6,000 – 9,240 2011 Ssangyong Korando 2011 S Pricing and Specs
SPR 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $6,900 – 10,670 2011 Ssangyong Korando 2011 SPR Pricing and Specs
SX 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $6,100 – 9,460 2011 Ssangyong Korando 2011 SX Pricing and Specs
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