SsangYong Korando Sports review (2012-2016)

Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5


  • Easy to drive
  • Good off-road
  • Excellent warranty
  • Sensible running costs.


  • Occasionally rough ride
  • Some low quality interior detailing and materials
  • Very small load area.
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The 2012 SsangYong Korando Sports pickup is claimed to appeal to those looking for a vehicle that blends workhorse-like traits with family car comfort and usability.

Setting it apart from the vast majority of other pickups is a more modern rear suspension set-up that utilises coil springs instead of leaf springs, which should help improve ride comfort and handling.

Previously available in other markets, badged as the “Actyon Sports”, it has been quietly building a reputation as a durable and cost-effective pick-up. Aimed at securing the company a portion of the increasingly popular “dual-purpose” pickup market, the Korando Sports has a lot going for it.

SsangYong Korando Sports review on Parkers Vans - front

It’s not expensive, it shouldn’t cost much to run, it comes with lots of kit and it can seat five people. Will the SsangYong Korando Sports pickup impress enough elsewhere to make it a worthwhile alternative to more established rivals? Read the full Parkers SsangYong Korando Sports review to find out.

In 2015, the Ssangyong Korando Sports was upgraded to offer a one tonne payload, qualifing it for VAT exemption from HMRC.

In September 2016, the Korando Sports was replaced by the SsangYong Musso - a revised version of the same vehicle featuring a new look, a new name and a new 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine with 178hp, better fuel economy and improved refinement.

Click here to read the Parkers Vans review of the SsangYong Musso pickup

Ssangyong Korando Sports (12-16) driving experience

3.5 out of 5 3.5

The SsangYong Korando Sports is available with just one engine - a 2.0-litre diesel. It has an output of 153hp and a useful 360Nm of pulling power. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic gearbox, both of which are perfectly serviceable, and four-wheel drive is available at the flick of a dial.

SsangYong Korando Sports review on Parkers Vans - side exterior

The Korando Sports' engine is remarkably smooth and quiet, even when worked hard. By no means is the SsangYong fast but it has no problem accelerating up to motorway speeds or keeping up with traffic.

Out on the road the SsangYong proves to be a competent pick-up with a good ride on smooth surfaces, only moderate body roll in corners and relatively accurate - although somewhat lifeless - steering. It’s easy to drive and manoeuvre, while its off-road capabilities are impressive thanks to a low-range “crawler” mode.

The only real issue is that on rougher surfaces, or if you hit a bump when changing lanes, the SsangYong can vibrate and buck quite unpleasantly. When laden this, presumably, would be less noticeable.

SsangYong Korando Sports review on Parkers Vans - off-road capabilities

It’s also worth noting that the Korando Sports only offers part-time four-wheel drive. This means you should only really use its four-wheel drive mode on loose or slippy surfaces. Those who need extra traction for towing bigger loads will either have to look elsewhere or become accustomed to continually switching the SsangYong’s four-wheel drive on and off.

Ssangyong Korando Sports (12-16) cabin & interior

3.5 out of 5 3.5

SsangYong has worked hard to ensure that the cabin in the Korando Sports isn’t too utilitarian or cheap looking. Yes, some of the materials and details aren’t of a particularly high standard but the interior feels quite durable. It’s also comfortable and it’s easy to find a good driving position.

The controls are sensibly laid out, and suitably chunky so simple to operate when wearing gloves, but the positioning of the indicator and wiper stalks so high relative to the centre of the steering column can make them difficult to reach. There’s plenty of room inside and seating for five people. Dotted around are various storage points although most are too small to be of great use.

SsangYong Korando Sports review on Parkers Vans - interior

The cabin is refined, even at motorway speeds. One particular plus point is that even when engaged in serious off-roading the SsangYong remains comfortable and free from odd noises, thanks to its stiff chassis and modern suspension.

Equipment levels are good and even the entry-level SX model comes with niceties like air-con and Bluetooth connectivity. The higher specification EX model gets more upmarket features including leather trim, heated front seats and parking sensors. The EX is also available with an automatic transmission and cruise control.

A range of optional accessories are on offer, including hard tops and trim upgrades. Fitting a hard top increases interior noise and cuts rear visibility, however.

Ssangyong Korando Sports (12-16) running costs & value

4 out of 5 4.0

Those looking for a pickup that won’t break the bank will be pleased at how low SsangYong Korando Sports running costs should be. It comes with a comprehensive five-year unlimited mileage warranty which should keep unexpected bills to a minimum. The vast majority of items are covered, including electrical systems, suspension components and drivetrain parts.

Consumables like the clutch and brake friction material are warrantied for one year or 12,000 miles because wear on those parts can be exacerbated by inappropriate use of the vehicle. The SsangYong’s battery and paint are warrantied for three years.

SsangYong Korando Sports review on Parkers Vans - load area access

Fuel costs shouldn’t prove too extortionate, with the manual version of the Korando Sports claimed to average 36.8mpg and the automatic version 34.5mpg. We’d expect both to return upwards of 25mpg in daily use. Road tax costs are also very reasonable, and servicing should prove inexpensive, again helping to keep costs down.

Ssangyong Korando Sports (12-16) reliability, common problems & faults

4 out of 5 4.0

SsangYong Korando Sports reliability should prove to be very good as SsangYong has a decent reputation for mechanical durability. Previous models have suffered with minor issues regarding trim and electrical systems, however, but the company seems to have made good progress on that front and the newer SsangYongs feel better built.

With more than 50 dealers in the UK in 2012, and with many more planned to open, it shouldn’t prove difficult to find somewhere to have your Korando Sports serviced or repaired. The company aims to put a dealership within a 30-minute drive of each of its customers, so you shouldn’t have to travel too far either.

Ssangyong Korando Sports (12-16) safety & security

3 out of 5 3.0

The SsangYong Korando Sports recieved a four-star NCAP rating and given a good selection of standard safety equipment and solid design, it should prove moderately safe.

It comes as standard with front airbags, load limiters and pre-tensioners for the seatbelts, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control with roll-over protection and hill start assist, all-round disc brakes and a collapsible steering column. It also features a rigid separate chassis and door impact beams, which should help protect occupants in an accident.

SsangYong Korando Sports review on Parkers Vans - DMZ edition exterior

One minor concern is that the rear centre seat only comes with a lap belt, not a more secure three-point inertia reel seatbelt. ISOFIX anchors are provided for child seats, however.

Remote central locking and an alarm/immobiliser system are fitted as standard. Those who need to protect tools or equipment in the rear load bed can add optional security features like a hard top or an integrated roller cover.

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