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In-depth reviews

SsangYong Korando SUV - Engines, drive & performance

The SsangYong Korando is smooth and sedate

Carbuyer Rating

3.7 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

2.0 out of 5

Korando customers won't face the perplexing choices faced by buyers of some of its rivals because there's just one diesel engine and a single petrol engine. The car serves up a competent but unexciting driving experience, which should suit customers looking for a relaxed and affordable SUV.

There are quieter and more engaging cars in the Korando’s class, so if you often drive on faster roads or the motorway you may want to look elsewhere. Steering with a disconnected feel and vague chassis dynamics mean the Korando lacks a polished driving experience, particularly compared with models like the Peugeot 3008 and SEAT Ateca, which feel more like well-sorted hatchbacks than SUVs.

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One silver lining is that the Korando is fairly smooth, and despite looking rather slow on paper, it’s swift enough in real-world driving. The EV version could be the pick of the range, with the performance and refinement of the electric motors fixing some of the Korando's shortcomings.

SsangYong Korando diesel engines

SsangYong's 1.6-litre diesel produces 134bhp and comes exclusively with a six-speed automatic gearbox. You do have a choice of front-wheel drive or upgrading to four-wheel drive for improved traction and off-road ability. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 12 seconds and the Korando has a top speed of 112mph, making it a little off the pace compared with rivals.

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The car feels fairly smooth, a feeling that's backed up by an automatic gearbox that majors in relaxation over speed. The diesel engine is fairly loud, however, with a clatter when you first start it and more noise when you accelerate.

Petrol engines

Buyers can spec the Korando with a single petrol engine, which is a 161bhp turbocharged 1.5-litre. This engine only comes with front-wheel drive but you do have the option of a manual six-speed gearbox or the same automatic as the diesel. It can’t tow as much as the diesel but is mostly smooth and refined when driving, only emitting a coarse noise when you really accelerate hard.

SsangYong claims it's quieter than the petrol Kia Sportage, and while we haven't tried them back-to-back, the Korando’s petrol engine certainly offers more refinement than the diesel, making it our pick of the two engines. However, while it offers decent enough performance for normal driving, it never feels quite as quick as the performance figures suggest, and the manual gearbox can be tricky to shift smoothly, so we'd go for the automatic if it's within your budget.

Electric motor

The SsangYong Korando e-Motion is the Korean brand’s first electric car, but it’s competitive enough with slightly more established rivals. It’s quieter than its petrol and diesel counterparts, although the standard tyres are rather noisy. Like many electric cars, the instant availability of the motor’s torque means accelerating from 0-30mph is pretty swift; wheelspin is kept to a minimum.

It’s still not exciting to drive, but nor is it bad either. It’s simply competent, and a smooth way of getting from A to B. Faster changes of direction can upset it somewhat, so stay at a relaxed pace and you’ll have no such issues.

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