2020 SsangYong Korando ELX and Ultimate (car review)

WITH the likelihood of domestic travel being more popular in the coming months, an SUV with a bit of luxe, like say the SsangYong Korando, might be a great way to enjoy our beautiful country, or at least your own State.

At first glance, the Korando has a stylish and modern feel, with cues taken from other vehicles within the SsangYong range. The Korean company promotes their proud 60 year history and notably, it’s significant partnership with Mercedes-Benz.

Although now owned by Mahindra, that premium interior and exterior feel remains a hallmark of SsangYong’s design methodology across its three tier Korando range, consisting of the EX, ELX and Ultimate.

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We tested the ELX (petrol) and Ultimate (diesel), the mid tier and top of the range models. Both come standard with a 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

Unfortunately the Korando range doesn’t grab an all-wheel drive variant, for those looking to get a little extra dirty. But don’t be fooled, you can still go a tonne of places with those front wheels.

Under the sculptured bonnet, is a choice of either a 1.6-litre turbo diesel engine or a 1.5 GDI-Turbo petrol engine. The diesel power plant, fitted to our Ultimate, offers 100kW of power and 324Nm of torque. It has a 2,000kg braking towing capacity.

They’re not bad numbers. The petrol engine is no slouch either, offering a respectable 120kW and 280Nm, but does only get a 1,500kg braked tow rating. For the fuel conscious, the diesel offers 5.5-litres/100km. You’ll get 7.7-litres/100km from the petrol.

If you value a paint finish that speaks to your personality, then choosing from Dandy Blue, Grand White, Platinum Grey, Silent Silver and Space Black offer familiar looks. For the bold among you, there’s Cherry Red or Orange Pop.

No matter the colour choice, the Korando looks the part, especially paired with the 19-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, sunroof and high-powered projector headlights, found on the Ultimate.

The Korando Ultimate also gets auto folding and heated mirrors, a smart power tailgate with auto opening, and a heap more. Unfortunately the ELX doesn’t have the power tailgate, and a few other things, but is still jam packed full of goodies.

Looking at the two side by side, you can notice the aesthetic difference. What is the same is the boot space, and it is decent. With the seats up it can hold 551-litres. Fold down the second row and you can accommodate 1,248-litres, which is pretty massive.

The Korando range takes on the likes of the Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson and Toyota RAV4, but where the Korando has it over the others is in its range of standard equipment and added extras.

These include an 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a 6-speaker sound system, on all variants. Cloth seats feature on the ELX, with heated and vented leather wrapped front seats and a heated steering wheel in the Ultimate.

Heating extends to the second row of the full leather interior as well. We should mention that there’s no digital radio in any variants across the SsangYong Korando range.

Dual climate control is also featured in that model. Drivers will be meet with a 10.25-inch digital dash cluster too, giving excellent visibility and control when behind the wheel. A head-up display and rear seat entertainment can also be optioned.

Safety is clearly paramount to SsangYong too, with a 5-star ANCAP safety rating thanks to an array of driver assist technologies, including reverse camera, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, and forward collision and lane departure warnings.

Front and rear parking sensors, blind spot detection and smart key entry feature on all but the base EX model, while adaptive cruise control, lane centre following assist, hill start assist, hill descent control and tyre pressure monitoring are fitted to the Ultimate.

There is a downside though, with a number of these systems being somewhat overzealous at times, and offered some pretty average warning noises. There’s also no spare wheel, not even a space saver – just an inflation kit.

SsangYong has you covered though, offering what they call the 7-7-7, which is a 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty, 7-years roadside assist and 7-years fixed price servicing. It’s piece of mind, with no hidden surprises.

And with pricing starting from $26,990 (drive away), up to $36,990 drive away for the Ultimate, it’s pretty hard not to stop and look at the Korando. This is a respectable SUV, and is worth a test drive to see what it feels like when you are behind the wheel.

Our test vehicles were supplied by SsangYong Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Korando range, contact your local SsangYong dealer.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - competitive price; easy to drive SUV; generous inclusions; the 7-7-7..
Cons - no spare wheel; overzealous safety systems; not enough USB ports; no digital radio.
Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray grew up at a time when owning a Holden Gemini was a thing. Her first car was a VN Commodore and she has been known to take to Germany's autobahn just to dry her hair. She's a little bit crazy about cars, but in a good way, we promise.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> competitive price; easy to drive SUV; generous inclusions; the 7-7-7..<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> no spare wheel; overzealous safety systems; not enough USB ports; no digital radio.2020 SsangYong Korando ELX and Ultimate (car review)