What is it?
After driving the SangYong Korando ELX, we wondered what more the top of the line Ultimate model had to offer?
Well, the answer to that question is quite a lot as it turns out, but is it enough to justify the extra $6000 they’re asking for the car?
Ultimate lays it on thick with 19-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, leather seats that are heated front and back, with cooling for the front seats too, heated steering wheel, 10.25-inch customisable colour LCD instrument panel, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), power sunroof and tailgate plus Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
What’s it cost?
Prices kick off at $26,990 driveaway for the entry-level EX, then the ELX at $30,990 and top of the line Ultimate at $36,990 — all prices driveaway.
They’re all powered by the same 1.5 litre turbocharged petrol engine, the EX with a 6-speed manual, ELX and Ultimate with a 6-speed auto.
You can option the EX with an auto too, for an extra $2000.
Metallic paint is $495.
ELX and Ultimate are also available with a 1.6-litre turbo diesel for $3000.
Standard kit includes 17 inch alloys, cloth trim and manual air, auto lights and wipers, heated auto folding side mirrors, auto high beam, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The level of safety across the range is high, with 7 airbags, rear view camera, Autonomous Emergency Braking System (AEBS), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Front Collision Warning (FCW) and Reverse Camera — all of them standard.
ELX adds 18-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights, Blind Spot Detection (BSD), Lane Change Assist (LCA), leather steering wheel, smart key and intelligent Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA-i) with braking intervention.
Our test vehicle, the Ultimate, brings larger 19-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, heated front and rear leather seats, vented front seats, heated steering wheel, 10.25-inch customisable LCD colour instrument panel, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), power sunroof and tailgate and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
What’s it go like?
A 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine delivers 120kW of power and 280Nm of torque, available from 1500 to 4000 revs.
It’s partnered with a 6-speed manual or Japanese Aisin 6-speed auto, complete with column-mounted gear shift paddles, driving the front wheels.
Suspension is Mac strut at front and multi-link at the rear, and this one rides on larger 19-inch alloys with meaty 235/50 series Kumho rubber.
With a 47-litre tank, it takes 95 RON premium unleaded, with fuel consumption that is rated at 7.7L/100km.
The engine and auto work really well together, delivering punchy performance, with little or no turbo lag.
Gear changes are smooth and timely, arriving just as you want them.
Three drive modes are also available: Normal, Sport and Winter, engaged via a large rotary knob in this model.
Feel free to experiment, but the car goes just fine in the default Normal position.
Korando is 4450mm in length, with a 2675mm wheelbase, and weighs 1435kg.
It can tow a 1500kg braked load and there’s provision for three car seats, with two ISOFIX and three top tethers in the back.
A rear view camera is provided along with front and rear parking sensors, but for some reason the camera misses out on dynamic parking guides.
In keeping with its range topping status, you get leather trim and dual zone climate air conditioning, but surprisingly the seats must still be adjusted manually.
Rear legroom is good but it lacks rear air outlets, which is a consideration if you happen to be one of those consigned to the back.
A deep boot offers 551 litres of cargo space, but you won’t find a spare lurking under the floor — just goo and a compressor in case you get a flat.
A large, 8.0 inch touchscreen offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity — but alas no digital radio or satellite navigation.
In a major point of difference, the instrument panel in this model is fully digital, with different instrument layouts available (as pictured).
It’s push-button start too, but there’s an electric handbrake this time around, and as mentioned a large rotary knob replaces the button for drive modes.
There’s a small console box with a sliding lid, while the console itself offers a small shelf at the front, presumably for phones, plus a single USB port and 12v/120w power outlet.
Lights and wipers operate automatically, but the rear view mirror must be adjusted manually at night.
We were getting 9.1L/100km after more than 330km of mixed driving.
What we like?
- Good size
- Attractive styling
- Punchy performance
- Ease of entry and exit
- Lots of safety assistance
What we don’t like?
- No floor mats
- No navigation
- No DAB+ radio
- No rear air vents
- Manual adjust seats
- Manual adjust rear vision mirror
- No spare tyre
The bottom line?
About the only thing missing from the Korando Ultimate is satellite navigation.
For me it’s a bit of a deal breaker, because once you have it — you don’t want to give it back.
My wife however believes it is not that big a deal, given the number of times we actually use it (point taken honey).
Of course SsangYong would no doubt argue that you can use your phone for this function, but anyone who has grappled with Android Auto will know it can be difficult to get working.
On the other side of the ledger, you get a full complement of safety gear, along with leather, dual zone climate, a sunroof, power tailgate, active cruise control, plus of course a 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty (and three years free servicing).
CHECKOUT: SsangYong breaks cover with guns blazing
SsangYong Korando Ultimate, priced from $36,990 driveaway
Looks - 8/10
Performance - 8/10
Safety - 8.5/10
Thirst - 7.5/10
Practicality - 8/10
Comfort - 7.5/10
Tech - 8/10
Value - 8/10