If you need proof that the SsangYong Korando is aimed at caravanners, consider this – every dealer demonstrator is fitted with a tow ball.
Try walking into a rival showroom and asking to tow your caravan on a test drive; not only are you unlikely to find a car with a towball to test, you won’t find a comparable crossover like the Hyundai ix35, Kia Sportage or Nissan Qashqai at a similar price, either.
The SsangYong range starts from £14,995. That buys the two-wheel drive S model, but the sweet spot in the line-up is the £18,795 SX, which has four-wheel drive, plenty of equipment, and undercuts any comparable rival. Air conditioning, alloy wheels, rear parking sensors and a six-speaker stereo are standard, along with six airbags and stability control.
Value for money is the Korando SX’s most obvious strength, but it’s far from the only one. Take a look at the spec sheet and you’ll see the Korando shows promise as a tow car. The kerbweight of 1747kg makes for a healthy 85% match figure (as usually recommended for safe and stable towing) of 1485kg. The legal towing limit is a healthy 2000kg, considerably higher than most rivals’.
Out on the road, though, you do notice one or two rough edges. The steering is vague and although the 2.0-litre diesel’s refinement is much improved since the Korando first went on sale, it’s not the quietest of engines. Fuel economy is also a little off the class best, with an official combined figure of 45.6mpg. The Hyundai ix35 2.0 CRDi 4×4 betters that with 49.6mpg on the combined cycle, although the 134bhp engine in the Hyundai is nothing like as powerful as the SsangYong’s.
Over bumpy roads the Korando’s ride is comfortable but it doesn’t handle with precision of a Ford Kuga or Mazda CX-5.
That said, the Korando is a stable tow car at motorway speeds and the engine makes up for slightly gruff manners with plenty of mid-range pulling power. It’s more than strong enough to haul any suitably matched caravan, easily holding speed on hills and with enough poke for confident overtaking.
If you’re looking for an even smoother journey, make sure to download a pre-towing checklist sticker.
You won’t need to travel light, either, as there’s plenty of luggage space in the 486-litre boot. The cabin is roomy, too, with more head and legroom than in the Hyundai, Kia or Nissan. The extra space is especially noticeable for those travelling in the back, where there’s no transmission tunnel to get in the way of anyone’s feet when there are three rear-seat passengers.
Just don’t expect any soft-touch plastics in an interior which looks rather plain compared with the Giugiaro-designed exterior. And while most controls are easy to use, you need toothpicks for fingers to operate the stereo. The optional touch-screen sat-nav (£999) is less fiddly.
But while it’s possible to find fault with the Korando, its flaws are minor when you consider its price, performance and comprehensive five-year unlimited mileage warranty. There’s nothing else quite like it for the money.
Verdict: A practical tow car at a great price
Plus: value, practicality, strong engine
Minus: budget finish, unexciting drive, fiddly stereo
In a nutshell: A top value tow car
- SsangYong Korando 2.0 diesel SX
- Kerbweight – 1747kg
- 85% match – 1485kg
- Braked towing limit – 2000kg
- Noseweight limit – 80kg
- Combined fuel economy – 45.6mpg
- Carbon dioxide emissions – 157g/km
- Price – £18,795
Read more about the SsangYong Korando’s ‘towing talent’ or check out our caravan pre-towing guide for handy tips and advice.