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Back Vehicle News Ssangyong Behind the wheel: Ssangyong Korando SPR auto
11 Jun 2011

Behind the wheel: Ssangyong Korando SPR auto

SSANGYONG looks to have turned the corner in this country with the new and handsome Korando compact SUV, which is 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 power train 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.

We drove the six-speed manual Korando a few months ago and found it pretty good, but spoiled a bit by a modicum 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 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 about 8.0 litres/100km.

Still acceptable, but the smallish 57 litre tank limits range.

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 110km/h 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.

The range topping SPR test vehicle ($36,811) is well-equipped featuring air-con, 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.

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

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.



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