Review: SsangYong Korando (2011 – 2019)


Stylish exterior. Well-equipped as standard. Impressive warranty.

Disappointing interior. Poor refinement from 2.0 diesel engine. Steering is vague and lacks weight.

SsangYong Korando (2011 – 2019): At A Glance

The SsangYong Korando is a compact SUV, similar in size to the Hyundai ix35 and Kia Sportage. Spacious and practical, it marks an improvement over previous SsangYong efforts, thanks to generous kit levels and a five-year unlimited mileage warranty. However, while it's decent value, the Korando's appeal is muted by an uninspiring drive and disappointing interior.

A facelift in 2013 brought some much needed improvements while late 2015 saw the introduction of a new 2.2-litre diesel. This replaced the previous 2.0-litre engine with more power and better economy, while the optional six-speed automatic marks a significant upgrade over the old, slow and indecisive auto option.  

SsangYong expects the Korando to be popular with caravan owners – claiming it offers 'best in class' towing performance. It’s rated to pull a two-tonne braked trailer, and produces plenty of torque from fairly low down the rev-range, so towing over long distances should be easy. However, the Korando isn't particularly refined, with lots of road, engine and wind noise at all speeds. 

Base models (S and ES trim) are front wheel drive and the top spec EX model features on-demand four-wheel drive. All are well-equipped as standard, with air conditioning, electric windows, parking sensors and cruise control. However, while the equipment levels may be generous, the interior leaves a lot to be desired in terms of quality, with an abundance of cheap materials. The cabin also feels dated in style and layout, especially when compared to key rivals from Hyundai and Kia.

It might be a little rough around the edges and lacking in refinement somewhat, but the Korando offers strong performance and plenty of standard equipment. That coupled with the impressive warranty and a very affordable price tag means it has appeal for high mileage drivers, along with caravan owners looking for a no-nonsense tow car. 

SsangYong Korando 2013 facelift road test

What does a SsangYong Korando (2011 – 2019) cost?

List Price from £17,020
Buy new from £15,880
Contract hire from £305.40 per month

SsangYong Korando (2011 – 2019): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4410 mm
Width 1830–2090 mm
Height 1675–1710 mm
Wheelbase 2650 mm

Full specifications

The Korando’s exterior styling may be handsome, but unfortunately it’s not the same story in the cabin. The layout - while neat - looks dated and build quality is patchy. For example, there is a non-stick material inside a storage compartment in the centre console – a nice touch that’ll keep things from sliding around making a din – but the hatch for accessing it clatters open and is made of thin, scratchy plastic.

The large steering wheel looks and feels like it has been lifted from a 1990s 4x4, while the cheap switches give the dashboard the ambiance of a 1980s' Hi-Fi system. 

Aesthetics aside, there is a rugged, functional appeal to the cabin, along with some nice features. The driving position is high up and offers a good view all around, plus the seats are easily adjusted to suit most drivers. In ES and EX trim, the seats are trimmed with leather and heated in both the front and the back – a nice premium touch. The driver's seat is electrically adjustable too. 

Of course, heating the rear seats is pointless if nobody can fit in them, but that’s another area in which the Korando scores highly – there’s enough room in the back for three adults. There’s also a large boot of 486 litres and it can be expanded easily thanks to rear seats that fold completely flat.

All models are well-equipped as standard, with air conditioning, cruise control, front fog lights, Bluetooth and puddle lamps, which are built into the wing mirrors. Mid-spec models get electric door mirrors, auto levelling headlights, seven-inch touchscreen and a rear view camera.

Child seats that fit a SsangYong Korando (2011 – 2019)

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What's the SsangYong Korando (2011 – 2019) like to drive?

The Korando is not a refined SUV. Vocal at start-up and prone to high levels of vibration and road noise, it feels very much like a throwback to the 4x4s of the 1990s. While it’s far from terrible, the original 2.0-litre diesel is nowhere near as smooth as the engines offered in the Hyundai ix35 and Kia Sportage. The disappointing 2.0-litre unit was replaced by a better 2.2 diesel in late 2015. It's still on the noisy side but is far smoother and there's less vibration in the cabin.

On the road, the Korando feels stable, with little body roll in the bends. It also chugs along well at low revs, producing enough torque to make steady, decent progress without frantically reaching for the gear stick. It rides well over speed bumps and potholes too, but at higher speeds - such as on a dual carriageway - it feels less stable and secure, with small lumps and undulations in the road relayed to the cabin, rather than absorbed by the suspension.

It's also reasonably capable off-road, although it doesn't have the ground clearance to climb steep hills or navigate over deep troughs. Nonetheless, for those who live up a farm track or need to cross fields its competent enough. 

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine - while a little gruff - is willing and powerful, producing 175PS. The 2.2-litre that replaced it has 178PS but it's the 400Nm of torque which really stands out. It means the Korando pulls strongly in gear which makes for effortless motorway progress and is ideal for towing.

What’s more impressive is the reasonable (if not exceptional) fuel economy it offers. SsangYong claims 47.1mpg for the 2.0D 2WD manual models. This improved significantly to 53.3mpg with the introduction of the 2.2-litre. 

Unfortunately there are a few bugbears – most notably the slow and numb steering that makes it difficult to judge the direction and grip levels of the front wheels. Ssangyong addressed this issue with a 2015 update, but the handling is still far from perfect.

The manual gearbox has a long shift between ratios and feels a little old fashioned, plus the clutch is sprung in a non-linear way, making it difficult to control the biting point when pulling away from a standstill. Luckily, cars with the automatic gearbox are much, much better. The auto is likeable and suits the relaxed character of the car much better than the manual – perhaps why SsangYong expects it to be the more popular choice.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.0 38 mpg - 175 g/km
2.0 Diesel 175 47 mpg 9.9 s 157 g/km
2.0 Diesel 175 Automatic 39 mpg 10.4 s 194 g/km
2.0 Diesel 2WD 46–49 mpg 9.9–10.7 s 147–157 g/km
2.0 Diesel 2WD Automatic 38–39 mpg 9.9–10.8 s 194–199 g/km
2.0 Diesel 4WD 44–46 mpg 9.9–10.7 s 159–169 g/km
2.0 Diesel 4WD Automatic 38 mpg 9.9–10.8 s 199 g/km
2.2 Diesel 53 mpg 9.9 s 139 g/km
2.2 Diesel 2WD 53 mpg 9.9 s 139 g/km
2.2 Diesel 2WD Automatic 44 mpg - 169 g/km
2.2 Diesel 4WD 49 mpg 9.9 s 152 g/km
2.2 Diesel 4WD Automatic 33–49 mpg 9.9 s 152–185 g/km
2.2 Diesel Automatic 44 mpg 9.9 s 169 g/km

Real MPG average for a SsangYong Korando (2011 – 2019)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

26–46 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the SsangYong Korando (2011 – 2019)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

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What do you think of the Ssangyong Korando?

I am interested in buying a new SsangYong Korando Ex Auto 4WD which seems a lot of motorcar at a reasonable price. Would you recommend this car as being reliable?
I have no reader feedback because too few were sold in the UK. Having driven one I can tell you it suffers from appalling understeer. See:
Answered by Honest John
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