The compact crossover segment in Singapore currently awash with options from many well-known brands. If you are in the market for one, you are spoilt for choice.
This presents an issue for lesser-known models, such as the all-new SsangYong Korando. How can it even appear on buyers’ radar, let alone make it to their list of contenders to consider?
Thankfully, this SUV has just what it needs to impress drivers willing to take the road less travelled.
To begin with, the SsangYong Korando now has a design that can compete against the best in the segment.
Distinctive features include the chrome horizontal bars on the front grille, silver roof rails and a decorative bar across the tailgate.
The designers continued their work inside, too. For instance, the air-con vents are integrated into the horizontal trim on the fascia, while the paddle shifters look like they belong in a far sportier car.
The SsangYong Korando also retains the sleek 10.25-inch instrument cluster first seen on the Tivoli. However, unlike in the Tivoli, the Korando’s cluster did not switch to a red colour scheme when “Sport” mode was selected.
Initial build quality is decent, but I found the “chrome” inserts around the gearshift lever a tad tacky.
Unlike the test unit, actual customer cars will have leather seats fitted at no additional charge.
PLENTY OF GO FOR THE SSANGYONG KORANDO
The Korando continues to impress on the go.
The turbocharged 1.5-litre unit delivers 161hp and 280Nm of torque at up to 4000rpm. These figures are enough for you to make urgent progress through traffic.
The SsangYong Korando is quiet when driven in a relaxed matter, and the shifts from its 6-speed Aisin automatic are smooth. The cabin is also well-isolated from any drivetrain vibrations and wind noise.
Even the engine stop-start transitions only transmit the slightest tremors into the cabin.
Aggressive driving, however, will result in a soundtrack of rough vocals and an unpleasant tone. Tyre roar is an issue, but I suspect this may be down to the Kumho Crugen HP71s.
The SsangYong Korando’s ride quality is commendable, though.
Some road undulations can be felt, but the SUV goes over larger ones in a nice “rounded” manner. Seventy four percent of the Korando’s structure is built from high tensile strength steel. It certainly makes its rigidity felt and lets you tackle corners with confidence.
The SsangYong Korando also proves very capable for family errands.
Its 551-litre boot (rear seats up) exceeds the 520 litres offered by the Peugeot 3008 and the 485 litres in the Seat Ateca.
Headroom and legroom are more than adequate for all passengers. However, backseat occupants will find themselves wanting their own air-con vents and USB ports. A 12V socket is provided, though.
Safety features such as Lane Departure Warning and Adaptive Cruise Control are unfortunately missing on local Korandos. The Korando is also thirstier than expected – I only averaged 9.4km/L over two days.
Starting at $129,888 (correct at time of writing), the SsangYong Korando is around $3.1k less than the latest Seat Ateca with an 8-speed automatic.
Other comparably priced models include the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Hyundai Tucson Turbo, Citroen C5 Aircross. All have turbocharged engines, too.
The new SsangYong Korando is definitely designed to impress. But until the carmaker becomes better-known, it will remain a left-field choice.
SsangYong Korando 1.5 (A)
ENGINE 1497cc, 16-valves, inline-4, turbocharged
MAX POWER 161hp (120kW) at 5500rpm
MAX TORQUE 280Nm at 4000rpm
POWER TO WEIGHT 112.2hp per tonne
GEARBOX 6-speed automatic with manual select
0-100KM/H 12.5 seconds (estimated)
TOP SPEED 181km/h
CONSUMPTION 14.3km/L (combined)
PRICE INCL. COE $129,888 (no VES rebate/surcharge)
AGENT Motorway SsangYong
Find out more about the SsangYong Korando here
Want something smaller? Click here for our SsangYong Tivoli review
Looking for alternatives? Read our Peugeot 3008 1.2 review
Our Hyundai Tucson Turbo review
Click here for our Citroen C5 Aircross review
Head here for our Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross review