Price Point - Petrol Powered Korando

They've changed distributors, cut prices and altered the line-up and quite possibly, better things will come SsangYong’s way this year.

First thing of interest under the new stewardship of Ateco Automotive is the arrival of a petrol version of the Korando small SUV. Until now, all SsangYongs sold in Australia were diesel powered – but that’s all about to change. Better yet is the price for the front wheel-drive model which starts at $23,990. You can add two grand for the six speed auto that we took for a quick spin this week. There’s no all-wheel-drive petrol model but most people don’t want or need all-wheel-drive anyway, preferring instead the lower purchase price of the two-wheel or front wheel-drive models.

The engine in this model is a 2.0-litre, four cylinder twin cam unit that achieves 111kW of power and 191Nm of torque output. We wouldn’t be surprised if it’s sourced elsewhere like SsangYong’s diesel which comes from VM Motori. What we do know is the six-speed auto box is the same as Hyundai and Kia’s – a compact, efficient transmission that well suits the 1532kg petrol Korando by efficiently tapping into available torque without hunting and also changes up and down in small increments.

There’s a sequential change mode, too. The engine makes a reasonable fist of pushing the Korando and is capable of using as little fuel as 7.5 litres/100km. It rides on a strut/multi-link suspension that feels well calibrated for urban duties, offering a reasonable level of handling and good ride comfort. The turning circle is commendably tight and minimal road noise intrudes into the Korando’s cabin. The wagon rolls on 16-inch alloys with a full-size spare in the back.

Standard kit on the S model is pretty good with aircon, cruise, trip computer, heated side windows, power ancillaries, front and rear fog lamps, rear park sensors decent audio and Bluetooth connectivity included. A reverse camera would be handy as would reach adjust on the steering wheel. It gets six airbags, remote keyless entry, hill start assist, rollover protection, active head restraints but NO stability control. No ANCAP test results are available yet, either.

We drove the Giugiaro-styled Korando on a 100km urban and rural loop. It could have been in a Japanese or other Korean compact SUV. It feels pretty much the same as other offerings in the class. Performance is acceptable as is fuel economy and it’s comfortable enough for everyday driving. The styling is attractive inside and out – one of the first SsangYongs to be so blessed.

Ateco has pitched the Korando at the same level as the Great Wall SUV. Which one would you prefer? It’s clear cut as far as we are concerned and the money would go on the Korean product every day.

Written by Peter Barnwell