SsangYong Korando e-Motion
A grand gesture
Thinking back to the SsangYongs of the past, it is the excellent off-road performance and the "own" take on design that have stuck most. To give the new Korando a more appealing look, SsangYong sought advice from Italian designers. But, judging by the result, it could have done more with that advice. The latest SsangYong also has a disjointed design that is sometimes sleek, sometimes sophisticated and sometimes downright feral.
It is therefore difficult to assess exactly where to place the Korando. Judging from the specifications, the Korando is larger than a Volvo XC40 and a fraction smaller than the Volkswagen ID.4. However, whoever takes a seat behind the steering wheel has the feeling that the SsangYong is a lot bigger than all its counterparts! Getting in is easy, after which the driver sits high and looks out over a huge bonnet. For a mid-size SUV, the Korando therefore gives an above-average feeling of power.
The space in the front is generous and the layout of the interior reinforces that feeling. There is a remarkably wide centre console between the front seats, allowing the driver and passenger to sit at a respectable distance from each other. Head and legroom in the rear seats is generous. The boot too, at 551 litres, is above average for a car of this size. Moreover, there is a good amount of extra space under the load floor. Should even that not be enough: the electric Korando is allowed to tow a trailer of up to 1,500 kg.
Given the price, the equipment is nicely decent. SsangYong provides its own infotainment system, for instance. The unbranded audio system has a fair, solid sound, so the sound does not become distracting even on long distances. Up front, only 1 USB connection can be found. As a "make up", a 220-volt socket is available near the rear seat.
Instead of analogue clocks, a display can be found behind the steering wheel. A button on the steering wheel can be used to choose from various layouts. This can be used to choose a layout that emphasises driving, assistance systems, navigation or, for example, energy consumption.
When it comes to safety, SsangYong goes with the trend. For example, the Korando can automatically maintain distance (adaptive cruise-control), warn when crossing the lines on the road surface and brake for danger (pedestrians and cyclists). The Korando can also read traffic signs and display the last seen speed limit as a reminder near the speedometer.
The Korando had been available with petrol and diesel engines for some time. It is this all-electric "e-Motion" with which SsangYong wants to regain its place in the market. The Korando e-Motion features a 62.2 kWh battery with active cooling and heating (optimal charging, better performance, longer life) that theoretically allows 339 km (WLTP) to be covered.
In practice, a range of around 300 km represents the ideal balance between price, usability and weight, and the same goes for the Korando. When it comes to charging, SsangYong has unfortunately skimped. At a public charging point, only at 6.6 kW can be charged (0 to 100% in 10 hours). At a fast charger, it can charge with up to 50 kW and then charging from 20 to 80% takes 54 minutes (compared to 20 to 30 minutes for the competition). Also not convenient: the charging point is on the front left. When parking at right angles, it forces the driver to park forward (larger turning circle when parking in, less overview when parking out).
There is no app available to manage the charging process remotely. However, the on-board computer can be used to indicate what time the next journey is scheduled. That way, the interior can still be pre-heated while the car is still on the charger, saving a lot of energy while driving.
Performance and consumption
Unlike most other SsangYong models, the Korando e-Motion is not available with all-wheel drive. The 190 hp / 360 Nm electric motor drives only the front wheels and does so with great enthusiasm, to say the least. Even in standard mode, the Korando e-Motion is lively, eager and downright quick. In sport mode, a huge amount of aggression is added, making the Korando deliver the same thrills (but not the same performance) as twice as powerful SUVs from other brands.
Despite its more than willing character, the Korando is economical. The test drive took place on the inner roads and hills around Maastricht (The Netherlands) in unfavourable weather conditions (cold, rainy). Despite this, consumption came out at 16.2 kWh per 100 km and partly for this reason, over 320 km could be covered on a full battery. This favourable consumption is partly due to the standard heat pump, which is much more efficient than a conventional heating system (and is often a costly option with other brands).
For economical driving, the driver can determine in three steps how much energy is recovered when releasing the accelerator. However, even when maximum energy is recovered, the car does not decellerate enough to always drive with one pedal. The reaction to the brake pedal is just as eager as that to the accelerator: the brakes are biting and strong. This provides the necessary safety, but also ensures that the driver has to brake extremely carefully to avoid shaking passengers.
Also available with internal combustion engines, the Korando is then meant to be a true off-road vehicle. This means that when developing the chassis, a compromise was sought between good handling and off-road capabilities (ground clearance, entry and exit angles, etc.). None of this is an ideal starting point for an electric car.
And initially the Korando seems less stable. This is partly caused by the unfeeling and indirect steering. However, the more the car is driven, the more confident the Korando e-Motion feels! And despite the extra weight of the battery (440 kg), the e-Motion feels no heavier than an average combustion engine car. Ultimately, the Korando e-Motion feels less solid than its European rivals, but certainly not less good. In fact, if there is one thing to remember from this review it is that the Korando e-Motion drives much better than it looks!
Will SsangYong be able to reclaim its place in the market with the Korando e-Motion? After an extensive introduction, the answer to that question is a convincing "yes".
Equipment and range are average. Handling is also average, but thanks to the very high seating and generous interior layout, the Korando e-Motion feels much more powerful than it actually is. The Korando e-Motion's strongest points are its very lively character and generous interior space. All that space is also offered at a nice price, making SsangYong a grand gesture in several ways.
- Nice price
- Spacious and practical
- Smooth, quiet and emission-free
- Slow charging (DC and AC)
- Not available with all-wheel drive
- Inconvenient / dangerous location charging connection