It’s a traumatising thing to happen at such a tender age: you’re busy immersed in your own frivolous activity, riding your bicycle on the street, when some Jeep throwback with an imposing front-end swiftly apporaches in your direction, threatening your sweep you off your wheels and plant your face into concrete.
I was happy to learn that the new Korando moves away from the awkward styling of its predecessor and adopts a much prettier face – it’s something you wouldn’t mind being run over by. They’re aiming to tackle Europe with the Korando ,which accounts for the eurocentric design and departure from all that Korean quirkiness we’ve seen in Ssangyong vehicles like the Kyron, Actyon and Stavic – the latter having been described as the most ugliest vehicle ever by many a motoring hack.
But it seems they’re serious about seizing the market with this one, even enlisting the aid of renowned automotive stylist Giorgetto Giugiaro in the exterior aesthetics department of things. And the result is quite visible,as you can tell from the supplied imagery: it’s an attractive car, combining hatchback compactness with chunky SUV character traits.One notices a slight resemblance to the Nissan Quashqai, which isn’t a bad thing, as we tend to flock to familiar, conventional looking vehicles here in South Africa – which may explain why Ssangyong models like the Actyon and Stavic are a rare sight on roads.
On the inside, the Korando looks like a quality product. Although we’ll have to wait until it arrives to confirm that this is so in reality – not only in the pictures. The use of chrome coloured trim gives a premium air and niceties like cup holders, an array of storage spaces and fully folding seats ensure that those with practicality at the top of their list are well catered for. Buyers can choose from two interior colours: black and beige. Although a special orange colour is available, to complement the black upholstery. Interestingly, some interior components also feature anti-bacterial paint – we hope this doesn’t mean a lingering scent of Dettol throughout ownership of the car. In addition to proection against nasty bacteria, the new Korando also offers adequate protection in the event of a collision, boasting six airbags, ESP and ISOFIX for your youngsters – all as standard.
All this kit must make the Korando heavy, and a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines promise to propel the new Ssangyong effusively. This includes a newly developed diesel powertrain: the e-XDi200, which produces 130 kilowatts and incorporates Ssangyong’s Electric Variable Geometry Turbocharger, designed to eliminate turbo-lag at lower speeds. Our enviromentalist friends will love the fact that this engine is compliant with Euro 5 emissions regulations – and that a bit of foresight from engineers ensures that the engine is also compliant with future Euro 6 regulations.
The Korando is anticipated to arrive in February next year. If priced right, it will certainly grab attention away from more established contenders in the crossover segment.
Could this be the first of many pretty Ssanyongs to come?