For the first three generations of its life the Ssangyong Korando was a Jeep-like creature with an extended proboscis, and it had Jeep-like intentions. But the company itself has taken a trip through the fires of capitalism and emerged reborn and tied to Mahindra, and it brought a rebirthed Korando with it: the formerly muscly ladder-chassis two-door that went out of production in 2008 is now a Giugiario-penned, unibody four-door crossover.
Unveiled in Mallorca and aimed at the UK market, five variants of the Korando from a two-wheel drive manual to an all-wheel drive automatic will go up against the stars of the isle with names like Kuga, Qashqai and Tiguan. Power will come from a Euro 5-compliant, 173 horsepower, 2.0-liter diesel also good for 4,000 pounds of towing. And the five-year, 250,000-mile warranty should be good to assuage a bit of trepidation at buying into the Ssangyong family. Follow the jump for the press release, and take a look at the new Korando in the gallery of high-res photos below.
On sale January 2011
The all new SsangYong Korando represents a major step forward for the brand, and for a number of significant reasons.
Recently previewed in Mallorca to the international motoring press, the Korando also marks a number of 'firsts'. As a crossover, the new car allows SsangYong to expand from its core SUV (sport utility vehicle) model range, with the practicality of a 4x4/SUV and accessibility of a family hatchback giving the company entry to a major new and growing market sector.
Designed in Europe by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the new car offers a highly contemporary look while featuring a monocoque construction – another first for the marque which has traditionally employed ladder-rack chassis architecture. This new platform will also form the basis of the brand's future product development programme.
SsangYong's hallmark competitive pricing and comprehensive specification will pitch this fourth generation Korando against cars such as the Ford Kuga, Hyundai ix35, Kia Sportage, Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Tiguan.
There will be five models from launch in the UK, with the option of two-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, 6-speed manual and automatic, and two trim levels.
* Two-wheel drive, manual
* Two-wheel drive, manual - High Line
* Two-wheel drive, automatic - High Line
* All-wheel drive, manual - High Line
* All-wheel drive, automatic - High Line
Power is from a new Euro5 2.0 litre diesel engine, which delivers excellent fuel economy and impressive 157g/km CO2 emissions. Coming below the critical 160g/km level permits a 25% tax reduction, especially important for the user/chooser, a key part of the fleet market.
The brand new 175PS diesel engine makes Korando one of the most powerful in its class, and with a full two tonne towing capacity, also one of the best tow-cars.
A comprehensive five-year or 250,000 mile warranty, excellent fuel economy and low running costs will also set a new benchmark of affordability in the rapidly growing compact crossover segment.
Production of right-hand-drive vehicles begins this month with deliveries to the United Kingdom commencing towards the end of 2010, and an on sale date in January. Prices will be announced nearer the time, but are predicted to be highly competitive.
Korando joins the current model line-up of Kyron, Rexton and Rodius. Minor cosmetic enhancements have been made for the 2011 model year which are designed to represent even greater value for money, and will be present on the next shipment of vehicles due to arrive in the UK in late November.
On the road prices:
* Kyron £14,995 - £22,495
* Rexton £19,995 - £29,995
* Rodius £14,995 - £19,995
UK dealer network
There are currently 50 UK dealers covering the majority of the country. With its entry into the crossover segment, the company sees real potential for the brand and its franchised partners. It is looking to increase dealer representation prior to the new car's launch, and has established a target of 80 dealers by early 2011.
Mahindra & Mahindra
The new global partnership between SsangYong Motor Company and Mahindra & Mahindra of India was announced on 23 August this year, and is scheduled to be concluded by November.
The move represents a significant opportunity for SsangYong to develop on a global scale, and as a first step, production of Rexton and Rodius is expected to commence in India for the local market in the near future.
Commented Paul Williams, managing director of SsangYong's UK importer, Koelliker UK Ltd: "This is great news for the brand, its customers and dealers internationally. It means that the core skills at SsangYong can be developed quickly, and we can move forwards with confidence.
"Korando is the first of a whole new generation of passenger cars, and we can see exciting opportunities ahead. The SsangYong brand represents great quality blended with true value, a combination that is highly sought after."
Koelliker UK was established in 2007 by Paul Williams, managing director, to import SsangYong cars to the United Kingdom. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Gruppo Koelliker, an Italian family business founded 70 years ago, with a number of automotive business interests. Its multi-layered importer and distribution operations include Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi and SsangYong in Italy, and SsangYong in Austria and Hungary.
Koelliker UK has administration offices in Fleet, Hampshire, a technical/parts distribution centre in Luton, and cars arriving through an import reception centre at Sheerness.