What is it? More powerful, more efficient variant of the Korean brand’s compact SUV.
What’s new? The big change in the 2016 model year SsangYong Korando is the engine – out goes the 2.0-litre Euro 5 diesel to be replaced by a Euro 6 unit of 2.2 litres that is both more potent, and cleaner.
On offer is 175bhp and 295lbft of torque – 19 per cent and 11 per cent respectively improved over the 2.0. Alongside this are significant emissions and economy improvements – on the two-wheel-drive version the combined cycle figure goes up to 53.3mpg, from 47.1mpg, while emissions drop 8g/km to 139g/km.
As well as the two or four-wheel-drive options buyers can now choose a six-speed auto transmission instead of the standard six-speed manual. It’s only available on the top-spec ELX all-wheel-drive model and comes with an efficiency price, 41.5mpg instead of 48.7 and 177g/km compared to 152.
There are a number of subtle styling changes too – on the outside there are clear glass direction indicators, a new piano-black radiator grille with extra chrome detailing on the range-topping ELX, and new-look alloy wheels, which on the ELX grow to 18 inches and are diamond cut.
Inside the infotainment system is upgraded, SE models getting an RDS audio system with MP3 player, Bluetooth, iPod/iPhone connectivity. The EX gains a seven-inch touchscreen with audio streaming from smart devices and a link to the rear-view camera, while the ELX adds TomTom navigation.
What do we think of it? We were one of the first to drive the Korando with this engine, which is also going in the larger Rexton. Our test car was the range-topping ELX all-wheel-drive auto and it is capable, without doubt more refined than its 2-litre predecessor – not quite matching the best in the segment but then neither do Korando prices.
Much of this is due to the transmission, which on our short test proved slick in operation, with no hunting between ratios. And the engine is certainly not short of power – it accelerates crisply and the combination of peak torque being available from just 1,400rpm and a two-tonne towing capacity will make the Korando a contender for those who need their SUV to be a workhorse.
The styling changes certainly help what is a generally innocuous, but not unattractive, exterior presence, while inside the touchscreen is well placed high on the centre console, with on our car the well-known and easy-to-use TomTom satellite navigation installed.
Verdict: The latest Korando benefits from the new engine – it’s reasonably efficient and comes with a good specification for not a lot. The cheapest all-wheel-drive model starts at £17,495 and includes a five-year warranty – a 2-litre Kia Sportage for example would set one back more than £20,000 in AWD form, admittedly with a seven-year warranty.
If you really want, or need a compact SUV but are struggling to find compact SUV money, you could do far worse than look at the Korando.
SsangYong Korando – key specifications
Tested model: SsangYong Korando 2.2 ELX auto
Price: £22,495 (2.2 range starts £15,995)
On sale: October 2015
Engine: 2.2 diesel, 175bhp, 295lbft
0-62mph and max speed: Not stated, 115mph
Economy and emissions: 41.5mpg (manual 48.7), 177 (152)
Test date: September 2015
The Car Expert Taster Tests are concise summaries of new models to the market, that we have driven for under 50 miles. They are often preludes to full road tests of the vehicle at a later date.