First Drive: SsangYong Korando Sports

The new SsangYong Korando has gone down well in the UK thus far, being far removed from the cars of old from the Korean manufacturer. To complement what is the cheapest SUV crossover on the market, SsangYong have now launched the Korando Sports.

First things first though; this isn’t a Korando pick up. Despite sharing the same name, the cars are very different, with the Sports model offering a body-on-frame construction rather than the more modern monocoque design of the normal Korando.

It does however get fully independent double wishbone front suspension and an advanced multi-link coil-spring set up at the rear. The result of this is that the car feels surprisingly comfortable on the road.

It’s comfortable inside too. Yes, there’s plenty of plastics on show that are a tad too firm to the touch, but the level of equipment included is impressive; the model I drove at the UK debut included air conditioning, heated leather upholstery, electrically adjustable seats, sat-nav and so on.

Out on the road it’s also civilised, that independent suspension providing a degree of comfort and smoothness that’s missing from some of its more upmarket rivals. The 2.0 litre diesel engine produces 153 bhp (155 PS) and combines that with 266 lb-ft of torque (360Nm) to provide enough oomph to make reasonably swift progress, although the front end doesn’t inspire complete confidence as you turn in – a reminder this isn’t a sports car, despite the Sports name.

If things do get a bit messy, there’s electronically activated four-wheel drive, with an electro-magnetic clutch sending power to the back wheels when necessary. Switchable low ratio gears also help if things get extreme.

On the brief drive I had, SsangYong have every right to be pleased with the new Sports model, especially considering that prices start at just £18,295, significantly undercutting some of the more mainstream competition by multiple thousands.

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Phil is a motoring writer for print and web, failed racing driver, car hoarder and banger rally competitor. Nominated for the Headline Auto Rising Star award and a MGMW member, Phil freelances for outlets as diverse as Diesel Car magazine, DAD.info and Cambridge Magazine, amongst many others. He also maintains a fleet of unloved motors, but spends most of his time driving an old Corvette.

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