SsangYong Korando review 2021

The Korando is a mid-size family SUV that’s one of SsangYong’s longest-running nameplates

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Out of 5


  • Loads of standard equipment
  • Spacious interior
  • Surprisingly upmarket cabin


  • Not much good to drive
  • Thirsty petrol engine
  • Sluggish engines
Model review

SsangYong might be a lesser-known brand here in the UK, but has built up a loyal audience, not least with those seeking a capable off-roader and model suitable for towing. 

And among a relatively small range of models that the South Korean marque sells, one of its longest-running options is the Korando. Launching in 1982 as a Jeep-based model, the Korando quickly became known for its off-road capability – something continued with a second-generation version that launched in 1996. 

Fast forward to 2011 and the Korando became more of a crossover-styled model, designed to rival popular cars like the Nissan Qashqai and Ford Kuga, though still being available as a four-wheel-drive and excellent towing capability.

Latest model

By 2019 it was time for the fourth-generation model, which represented a significant shift from its predecessor, which sadly lagged behind many of its rivals. 

Featuring a far more stylish and modern design, the Korando also boasted a range of cutting-edge technology, including a large touchscreen and excellent digital dial system that can be easily configured to display exactly the information you want it to, 

SsangYong also introduced a pair of new engines – a 1.6-litre turbodiesel and 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol – while the firm also announced that an EV would be introduced, though at the time of writing this was yet to materialise. 

Value for money

A key draw to the Korando is its affordability, and with prices starting from £20,395, the entry-level model is several thousand pounds cheaper than many competitors. It still gets a decent amount of equipment though, including 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control and a raft of safety technology. 

It does miss out on a touchscreen though, which is why we’d recommend a step up to the mid-range Ventura car, which packs an eight-inch media system, along with digital dials and heated front seats. At £23,745, it’s superb value for money, considering it’s the price of an entry-level Nissan Qashqai. Just be aware that prices for a top-spec offering with four-wheel-drive exceed £30,000, which is rather pricey. 

As for used models, if you’re not fussed about the latest car, prices start from under £5,000 for tidy examples, but if budget allows, go for the latest car, especially as quite significant savings are available on nearly-new models. Just be aware that there was quite an overlap between SsangYong trying to shift the previous car, while the new model was on sale. 

Looks and image

SsangYong is a brand that struggles with badge credibility, with the brand being not very well-known here in the UK. Those that haven’t heard of it may turn up their nose, but it’s a firm that’s improved significantly over the years, and the latest Korando is possibly its best yet. Though it won’t turn heads, it’s still smart to look at, with neat LED lights at the front and rear, chunky SUV styling and sharp crease lines meaning it’s quite an appealing option. 

We also reckon the Korando’s interior would surprise many if they gave it the chance. It’s actually surprisingly premium there, while higher-spec versions get full leather seats and a smart touchscreen and digital dial system – the latter being one of the best units around. With good material quality and touches like multi-colour lighting, the Korando offers a very smart cabin indeed. 

Its area of weakness, though, is behind the wheel. It’s neither sporty to drive or especially comfortable, and does lag behind many competitors in both respects. Both petrol and diesel engines are also a bit weak in terms of performance, though the diesel automatic with four-wheel-drive is a great option for those looking to tow as it’s able to manage up to two tonnes.

Video review

Space and practicality

The latest Korando is noticeably larger than its predecessor, and it means it’s also quite a lot more practical too. Thanks to a boxier shape than many of its competitors, it offers a good mix of rear space and a boot measuring 551 litres when you count underfloor storage. Models fitted with a spare wheel do see boot space drop to 407 litres, though. 

The Korando also scored the top five-star safety rating when it was tested by Euro NCAP, with standard kit including autonomous emergency braking and lane keep assist. It does miss out on some features found commonly on rivals, though, such as blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. 



SsangYong offers two engines on the Korando – one petrol and one diesel. 

Let’s start with the petrol, which is a turbocharged 1.5-litre unit developing 161bhp. All petrol models are front-wheel-drive, while there’s the option of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. In terms of performance, it can go from 0-60mph in 10.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 119mph. 

As for the diesel, this comes as standard with an automatic gearbox, while you can have it with four-wheel-drive too, though a front-driven option is still offered. The engine itself is a turbocharged 1.6-litre unit developing 134bhp, and can hit 60mph in 11.8 seconds, or half a second slower if you have the automatic. 


Running costs

Regardless of which Korando model you choose, it will be quite a thirsty option to run. The petrol especially isn’t very efficient, with SsangYong claiming 37.2mpg, but nearer to 30mpg is more likely. The diesel is a bit better, with 45.2mpg claimed, but CO2 emissions for both are poor – ranging from 164g/km to 182g/km depending on engine and gearbox. It also sits in quite a high insurance group compared to more popular competitors. 

We reckon when the electric Korando model arrives, it could be the pick of the range, as it will likely offer better performance along with significantly reduced running costs. 

Things to look out for

Given the Korando sells in quite small numbers, not a huge amount is known about its reliability. That said, if you’re looking at a newer option, it comes with an excellent seven-year, 150,000-mile warranty, which is the longest of any car firm in the UK. This should help to add further reassurance, and it’s worth noting the warranty can be transferred between owners. 


The Korando sits in one of the most popular classes for cars in the UK, and though it’s better than ever, it isn’t quite able to beat many competitors just yet. Great options in this class include the Seat Ateca, Skoda Karoq, Nissan Qashqai and Hyundai Tucson. A closer rival in terms of price is the MG HS, which too offers a generous warranty.


Given SsangYong’s somewhat limited presence in the UK, it means models like the Korando do have a tendency to depreciate quite heavily. Four-wheel-drive diesel options offer the best residuals – largely due to their appeal to caravan owners on the used market – though you will pay more for them in the first place. 

Trims explained

Four trim levels are offered on the latest SsangYong Korando. Equipment highlights and prices are as follows.


All Korando models come with a good amount of kit, with entry-level ELX versions benefiting from 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers, LED daytime running lights, leather steering wheel and cruise control. A generous amount of safety equipment is also included, such as autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, high beam assist and a driver attention alert.

From £20,395


Upgrade to the Ventura to benefit from larger 18-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, part leather upholstery and heated front seats. LED front fog lights, along with a digital instrument cluster, eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with a reversing camera, electric parking brake and front and rear parking sensors. This is our pick of the range.

From £23,745


Pioneer is a model aimed at the towing markert, and misses out on the digital dials and larger alloy wheels, but instead comes with a heated steering wheel and full-size spare wheel.

From £29,245


At the top of the range, the Ultimate model is brimmed with kit, gaining larger 19-inch alloy wheels, premium leather seats, and electric front seats with a ventilation function. It also comes with a larger nine-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, multi-coloured interior lighting, keyless entry, privacy glass and an electric boot, and leaves you wanting for very little else.

From £26,745


  1. Popular with the towing market
  2. Generous equipment levels
  3. Good value for money
  4. Very pleasant interior
  5. Roomy cabin
  6. Lacklustre to drive
  7. Engines are a bit weak…
  8. But an EV version is promised
  9. Plenty of tech on high-spec models
  10. Appealing alternative to more popular crossovers