The Korean automaker finally has a new SUV in development

After years of getting mocked because it unveiled too many SUV concepts, SsangYong is now moving forward in the development phase of the fourth-generation Korando, as shown by a multitude of spy shots of the SUV doing some test runs out in public. The heavily camouflaged Korando didn’t reveal a whole lot of its skin, but the dramatically different shape of the SUV suggests that all the money SsangYong put into its SUV concepts are now being put to good use.

Exterior

2019 Ssangyong Korando Spyshots Exterior
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It’s been reported that the SUV will be heavily influenced by the e-SIV Concept

It’s hard to look at the test mule of the Koran SUV and find anything identifiable. There’s just too much skin on it that makes it difficult. That said, it’s been reported that the SUV will be heavily influenced by the e-SIV Concept that SsangYong unveiled at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. The overall shape of the Korando prototype does lend to that belief. By and large, it’s a lot sleeker than any of the past SUVs that the Korean automaker has presented. You can make it out, too, by how the skin wraps around the body of the vehicle. Ssangyong put a lot more thought this model more aerodynamically efficient than its predecessors.

It is a bit worrisome that other components of the test vehicle appear to have been recycled. The headlamps, in particular, aren’t covered, and they look they were taken from 90’s era Mitsubishi. Hopefully, that’s just something reserved for the test mule with the production model getting something a lot more modern like, say, the pearly LEDs that became one of the visual highlights of the e-SIV Concept. Cross your fingers that it happens the way we’d like it to.

Interior

2018 SSangyong e-SIV Concept Interior
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Note: 2018 SSangyong e-SIV Concept interior pictured here.

The interior of the fourth-generation SsangYong Korando is an even bigger question mark. While I do expect it to come with a more modern design and layout — the interior of the current version needs a lot of help — I don’t think Ssangyong’s going to go as far as the concept’s interior was. It could happen, but I’m not banking on it. The digital dashboard is too much of a stretch, even for more established automakers. Same thing with the rising tunnel that has its own integrated display unit. Even the 2+2 sports seat configuration is unlikely.

All that isn’t to say that the new Korando’s interior is going to tread water and remain stuck in the past. There should be enough modern elements and components in there. Just don’t expect it to be in the same league as other SUVs in the market today.

Drivetrain

2019 Ssangyong Korando Spyshots Exterior
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The SUV will be launched with a number of traditional internal combustion engines, including a newly developed 1.5-liter, turbo, gas engine and a 1.6-liter diesel unit.

Here’s the tricky thing about this SsangYong Korando prototype. By all accounts, it’s not going to have a dramatically more powerful engine under its hood. The Korean automaker hasn’t made its plans known, but the most likely scenario is that the SUV will be launched with a number of traditional internal combustion engines, including a newly developed 1.5-liter, turbo, gas engine and a 1.6-liter diesel unit. Previous versions of the SUV typically had power in the range of 150 to 180 horsepower so, with the fourth-generation model, the hope is that we can see a Korando that’s going to have more than 200 horsepower at its disposal. If that is the goal, don’t be surprised to see the 1.5-liter gas unit receive a tag-team partner in the form of a mild-hybrid system. Yes, the words “SsangYong” and “hybrid” can now be mentioned in the same sentence.

Heck, there are even rumors that the automaker could go the full-electric route with the new Korando. We saw how that could manifest itself in the e-SIV Concept, which featured a 140 kW electric motor and a 61.5 kWh battery pack that offered a range of as much as 280 miles. It also had a top speed of 94 mph and could be charged from empty to 80-percent capacity in just 50 minutes.

Prices

2019 Ssangyong Korando Spyshots Exterior
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The current SsangYong Korando is priced from $21,990 to $32,990 depending on the trim level of the unit. With the next-generation model expected to be hiding underneath all that skin, expect pricing for the new Korando to start at around $25,000 with the range-topping version fetching just under $40,000. The fourth-generation SsangYong Korando should hit production before the end of the decade. An all-electric version should join the party later on.

Competition

Nissan Qashqai

2015 - 2018 Nissan Qashqai High Resolution Exterior
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The Nissan Qashqai is one of the most popular SUVs in Europe. Its a status the model has earned since it was introduced in 2006. In its current form, the Qashqai still holds up, thanks in part to having a fresh exterior, a refined interior, and enough engine options to make your heads spin. In most markets, Nissan offers a range of four-cylinder powerplants including 1.2- and 1.6-liter gasoline units, as well as 1.5- and 1.6-liter diesel mills. Gasoline models come with up to 160 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, while those powered by oil burners benefit from up to 128 horses and 236 pound-feet of twist. U.K. pricing for the Qashqai starts from £18,265. That converts to just under $27,000. The price can also go up to as much as £28,500, which sits at about $37,500.

Read our full review on the 2018 Nissan Qashqai.

Kia Sportage

2017 Kia Sportage High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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The Kia Sportage is another model that the next-gen SsangYong Korando will have to deal with. It comes with plenty of new bits itself, and, more importantly, it offers three different engines The gasoline range includes a 1.6-liter unit rated at either 130 horsepower and 119 pound-feet or 174 horses and 195 pound-feet, while diesel models come with a choice of two powerplants. There’s a 1.7-liter mill with 113 ponies and 207 pound-feet and a 2.0-liter unit that packs 134 horsepower and 275 pound-feet or 182 horses and 295 pound-feet depending on the trim. Pricing starts at £17,465 and goes all the way up to £25,295. That converts to around $25,295 to $36,210, respectively.

Read our full review on the 2018 Kia Sportage.

Conclusion

There’s a part of me that feels relieved for SsangYong. The company can’t go this long, unveil this many concept SUVs, and not have anything to show for it, right? Well, it took some time, but now it appears that we’ve finally reached that point. The new SsangYong Korando is arriving.

Unfortunately, there’s also a part of me that worries for SsangYong, especially now that the crossover and SUV segments are as competitive as they’ve been in recent memory. I know that the Korando isn’t going to be offered as a premium model, but it still has its work cut out for it in its own segment. Is SsangYong capable of rising up and above its own reputation and deliver a model that’s going to blow us away? It’s possible, but for the automaker to do that, it has to show that it’s capable of reaching that level first. The new Korando is a good test of that. Let’s hope it delivers.

  • Leave it
    • * Still has plenty of work to do
    • * Plenty of competition
    • * Brand name doesn’t inspire

Further reading

2018 SSangyong e-SIV Concept Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 SSangyong e-SIV Concept.

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Read more SsangYong news.

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