A significantly updated SsangYong Korando has made its debut in South Africa. At the same time, Mahindra SA, which distributes SsangYong vehicles locally, has streamlined the model offering, focusing on a single petrol-engined derivate equipped with a comprehensive list of standard features.

The new Korando 4×2 MT Petrol features an attractive styling package comprising new headlights with LED daytime running lights, and a slimmer, reshaped black mesh grille with a prominent, circular SsangYong badge. A large, curved lower air intake with fog lamps in low-mounted recesses on either side is standard, too.

In profile, the larger, handsome 17-inch alloy wheels, up from the previous model’s 16-inch versions, are a key visual feature, as are the partially colour-coded rear-view mirrors with integrated indicator repeaters. Low-profile fashion rails emphasise the Korando’s sleek roofline.

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A front scuff plate, sill extenders and the rear apron are all finished in contrasting black, emphasising the Korando’s rugged SUV personality. Bold tail light clusters with rear fog lamps frame a tailgate that opens wide and deep for easy access to the cargo compartment.

A roof spoiler with integrated third brake light is standard, while a chrome finisher strip above the number plate holder adds visual interest. Rear parking assistance is included, too. Finally, tinted side glass provides security, privacy and heat protection.

The spacious, inviting cabin is easily accessed via the large-opening doors. Smart finishes, including a more luxurious cloth upholstery and metallic accents create an upmarket ambience.

Compared to the previous model, the standard equipment list has been extended to add further value and capability. Niceties include electric windows with a one-touch open function, an integrated, six-speaker sound system in the centre stack, and cruise control.

The MP3-comptible audio system features MP3 playback capability, Bluetooth hands-free telephony, and a USB socket compatible with flash drives and iPhone/iPod devices. Large, circular instrument dials are clearly legible, while the LCD readout of the trip computer is located between the two main dials for speed and rev count.

The multifunction steering wheel features switchgear to conveniently control the audio system and Bluetooth functionality for safe operation on the move. The rear bench seat is split 60:40.

The updated Korando’s drivetrain remains unchanged. The 2,0-litre engine is credited with 110 kW of maximum power at 6 000 r/min, linked to a torque peak of 197 Nm at 4 000 r/min. The gearbox is a six-speed manual powering the front wheels.

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SsangYong’s combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 7,51 litres/100 km suggests an operating range in the region of 760 km from the 57-litre fuel tank.

The Korando’s sophisticated chassis set-up comprises an independent front suspension employing MacPherson struts and an anti-roll bar, while the rear set-up comprises a multi-link design with coil springs and trailing arms.

Safety in the Korando is comprehensively addressed via  both active and passive safety features. Dual front airbags are standard fare, as are ABS anti-lock brakes, and an alarm/immobiliser.

The new SsangYong Korando is offered in a choice of four colours: Flaming Red, Dandy Blue, Silent Silver and Grand White. The retail price is R324 995, which includes a five-year/150 000 km warranty, AA roadside support for the same period, and a five-year/100 000 km service plan.