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[NEWS] Ssangyong Korando E-Motion 2023 long-term test

Ssangyong Korando E-Motion 2023 long-term test

Korando front lead

Is going electric the best way to rehabilitate the Korean SUV specialist? Let’s find out

Why we’re running it:  To see if Ssangyong’s first EV can stand out among a slew of reputable rivals – and show that the firm has a future

#Month 1">Month 1 - #Specs">Specs

Life with a Ssangyong Korando E-Motion: Month 1

Welcoming the Korando to the fleet - 5 April 2023

Where to start with Ssangyong? After several name changes, near-death experiences and financial takeovers during its 68-year existence, the Korean SUV specialist has yet another new owner. Will the KG Group succeed where Daewoo, SAIC and Mahindra failed? Well, it’s already ringing in major changes, chief among them the brand name, which new boss Kwak Jae-sun says is connected to a “painful image”.

So everyone will have to call Ssangyong ‘KG Mobility’ in future. We will stick with ‘Ssangyong’ over the next three months with its new Korando E-motion, though. 

What exactly is the Korando E-motion, then? It’s an electric mid-size SUV, but also a key component of Ssangyong’s future. The Korando name was initially used from 1983 to 2006, then brought back in 2010, and it has come to adorn the firm’s second-best-selling car, behind the smaller Tivoli. The current shape was introduced in 2019 but gained the E-motion variant only last year.

Ssangyong’s first EV, the Korando E-motion is powered by a decent-size battery, at 61.5kWh (55.3kWh of that usable), which officially gives it up to 212 miles of range. A single front-mounted motor produces 187bhp and 265lb ft for a 0-62mph time of 8.5sec. Not the fastest EV around, then, but quick enough for daily driving. And it gives a surprising amount of wheelspin – something that I can’t imagine has been the case with many Ssangyongs before.

This means I will from now on avoid the most aggressive of the four driving modes, which are named Eco, Eco Plus, Comfort and Sport.

Charging capabilities aren’t spectacular: the Korando E-motion can accept rates of up to 100kW, which should get it from 0-80% in around 33 minutes, and on a 7kW home charger expect an 11-hour charge time from empty to 100%.

Pricing is fairly attractive, starting at £32,695 for VLX trim. That puts the Korando E-motion a smidge above the Mazda MX-30 (from £31,250 but with a dismally short range of 125 miles), although it’s eclipsed by the trio of big-selling affordable electric cars from MG, most troublingly the similarly sized ZS EV crossover.

Equipment is where the Korando excels, though. Even the entry-level car is fitted with automatic wipers, a 12.3in digital instrument display, a reversing camera, dual-zone climate control and cruise control, while mid-range Ventura trim adds LED headlights, heated front seats, a 9.0in touchscreen infotainment system and sat-nav.

Our car is a range-topping Ultimate, which is priced almost the same as the Volkswagen ID 4 in its most basic form, at £38,695. Yikes: suddenly this Ssangyong doesn’t seem so cheap, after all.

Still, it gets even more standard equipment thrown in, including heated and ventilated front and rear seats with electric adjustment, a powered tailgate, wireless smartphone charging, front and rear parking sensors, privacy glass, a heated steering wheel and a heat pump for improved efficiency.

You might have some concerns about material quality, going by Ssangyong’s value shtick, but everything about this car as far as the interior is concerned right now strikes me as quite impressive.

The driver’s seat, while firm, is endlessly adjustable, while the leather steering wheel feels plush. Soft-touch materials dominate the cabin, with little gloss plastic to be seen. And the dial display is very clear and offers several customisable presentations

What’s more, there isn’t a single touchpad to be found – a relief for this former Volkswagen EV custodian. Instead, everything is controllable via buttons, either on the centre console or on the steering wheel. These even extend to features like the lane-keeping assistance, which can be switched off with one press of a button just to the right behind the wheel, instead of after a trawl through endless menus. The second row is also good enough, with room for three people to sit comfortably. Boot space stands at 551 litres, which roundly beats that of the ZS EV (470) and ID 4 (543).

First driving impressions are that the ride is soft and comfortable and that the motor delivers power smoothly enough. It’s not the most dynamic in the corners, but wouldn’t you know the sky is blue? What could prove more of an issue when travelling at higher speeds is the Korando’s drag coefficient of 0.36, rather higher than key EV rivals and something that could harm our chances of getting close to that 212-mile range.

It just so happens that I’m moving from leafy Berkshire to London imminently, so commuting through the suburbs rather than down the M3 might play right into its hands.

Second Opinion

Jack is about to move to the Big Smoke, so it will be interesting to see how he gets on with the Korando in tight city streets. On the one hand, the bonnet’s raised edges and the rear’s square back mean it’s easy to place in a parking spot, but then it’s also a pretty big car and its rear-view camera gets dirty quickly. Carefully does it now…

Piers Ward

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Ssangyong Korando E-Motion Ultimate specification

Specs: Price New £38,695 Price as tested £38,695 Options None

Test Data: Engine Front-mounted permanent magnet synchronous motor Power 187bhp Torque 265lb ft Kerb weight 2250kg Top speed 97mph 0-62mph 8.5sec Range 210 miles (WLTP) Economy 3.7mp/kW (claimed) Faults None Expenses None

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