SsangYong returned to the domestic market at the beginning of 2019, and its model line began to expand very quickly. From the beginning, however, one model stands out from it, the Korando SUV, which in our country competes with, for example, the Škoda Karoq. The Korando is not only a non-conflicting and quite successful car, but it also scores points with its attractive price, which today is further underlined by promotional discounts. But let’s go in order!

Let me introduce a few more numbers. For the first ten months of this year, SDA statistics report 2,651 registered ssangyongs, which is more than a number of seized brands. With 1,892 registrations, the driving force behind sales is the Korando, which is currently the seventeenth most popular car in our country.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

The emblem of the Korean brand is beginning to be recognized by more and more motorists. The name SsangYong means Two Dragons.

Praise of normality

It’s probably strange to praise a car for being simply normal. But today there are fewer and fewer functional cars without unnecessary design frills and first-class solutions. Korando actually looks ordinary from the outside, it has the shape of a typical compact SUV on reasonable (in our case eighteen-inch) wheels and a combed design complemented by diode lighting technology. Perhaps only at the back the designers got a little more excited, look at that horizontal line under the lamps, where you will be interested in their graphics.

The same goes for the cabin, which may not be as impressive in the modern era, but it’s still user-friendly. Everything important, including the temperature, is set with traditional buttons and rotary controls. If you want to change the thermal comfort while driving or turn off one of the assistants, you don’t have to search for a long time in the touch infotainment.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

Ergonomic cabin, intuitive controls and decent materials. It is hard to find significant flaws in the interior.

However, this does not mean that modern trends are completely abandoned. The Korando has a digital instrument panel and a central multimedia screen with built-in navigation and support for smartphone mirroring (unusually for alarm clocks). The environment of the entertainment system is graphically simple, so you can easily navigate it. You will also be pleased with the add-on navigation function, which is certainly not common these days – it calculates your average speed in the measured sections, so that you don’t accidentally miss it.

The interior makes a great impression, which, after all, is helped by the highest level of equipment, Premium, including the premium package Premium+ for CZK 49,900. Apart from the aforementioned 8″ screen, leather and electronically adjustable seats with heating, two-zone automatic air conditioning and LED cabin lighting are included. There was an extra charge for only two things – a sunroof (CZK 14,900) and a blue metallic paint called Dandy (+CZK 10,900).

Lies with the body

When you walk around Korando for the first time, it makes a much smaller impression from the outside. But this car has a length of 4,450 mm and a width of almost 1.9 meters, so it also boasts a decent interior space. When I make myself comfortable behind the wheel with a height of 180 cm, I sit “by myself” with a sufficient reserve in front of my knees and above my head.

And the luggage compartment, which is even larger than that of the competing Karoq, is also pleasing. SsangYong reports a volume of 551 liters, which is 30 liters more than a similarly sized Škoda without the optional VarioFlex seats. If instead of a repair kit you want a full-fledged spare wheel – which many brands don’t even offer these days – the luggage compartment shrinks to 407 litres.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

The trunk has a double floor, which also serves as a handy organizer.

One engine, many options

Under the hood of the Koranda, there is a gasoline four-cylinder 15-liter Turbo with an output of 120 kW and 280 newton meters of torque. Acceleration from standstill to 100 km/h is not mentioned by the brand, but our version (automatic, front-wheel drive) can whiz by at 193 km/h.

The petrol one-five can be paired with a manual, automatic, front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. The Korando can even combine a manual transmission and all-wheel drive, which is almost unheard of today. The standard is a six-speed manual, for an automatic gearbox from Aisin with the same number of steps, you pay an additional 42,900 CZK, the four-wheel drive costs 48,900 CZK. You can happily assemble in all trim levels, except for the highest Premio, where an automatic is already standard.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

One engine, but a whole range of combinations. Just count that every extra “pampering” will translate into fuel consumption.

You might argue that 163bhp isn’t much for a car of this size, but the Korando has a relatively modest curb weight of 1,435kg. Sure, it’s not a professional athlete, but you have more than enough power for safe overtaking maneuvers or fast merging into the left lane of the highway. You just need to step on the gas more and expect a noisier performance of the 1500. And also increased consumption…

With a considerable amount of effort, the appetite of the front-wheel drive with an automatic can be reduced to 8.5 liters, but rather count on taking between nine and ten liters for every hundred kilometers. If you are chasing every tenth, the ideal choice will certainly be a more economical manual six-wheel drive.

This is basically the only flaw in an otherwise very successful SUV. The Korando drives very well, thanks, among other things, to the standard multi-element rear axle. The chassis tuning is rather softer, ideal for pleasant family travel. But the car doesn’t get scared even by sharper drives – the steering is precise and you don’t struggle with such a portion of weight in tight starts.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

The 18-inch tires are just right, the reasonable size of the 235/55 R18 tires also helps driving comfort.

Now even more advantageous

Korando, with a price starting at CZK 509,900, is driving the brand’s sales. For some time now, customers have had a discounted Style+ equipment level, which gives equipment worth CZK 30,000 for free. For example, two-zone automatic air conditioning, front and rear parking sensors, LED fog lights, heated steering wheel and front seats or 18-inch light alloy wheels. All this would be standard for a nice 569,900 CZK. However, you can save some extra ducks for Christmas.

Newly, in the price list of the model, we can find an additional discount of CZK 30,000 on stock vehicles that are available for purchase immediately. I dare to guess that Korando will never be available again on the Czech market. However, the stocks of individual sellers are starting to thin out very quickly…

Specifications SsangYong Korando 1.5 Turbo GDI, 6AT, 2WD, Premium, 2023
Motor in-line four-cylinder, turbo
Displacement volume 1497 cm3
Performance 120 kW (163 hp) at 5,000 rpm.
Torque 280 Nm at 1,500 rpm.
Transmission automatic, 6 degrees
Tree front wheels
Standby weight 1 435 kg
Acceleration 0-100 km/h
Maximal speed 193 km/h
Consumption (combination) 7.95 l/100 km
Fuel tank volume 50 l
Wheels and tires 235/55 R18
Dimensions (length/width/height) 4 450/1870/1620 mm
Wheelbase 2 675 mm
Volume of the luggage compartment 551 l