We all know what Tata did to Jaguar Land Rover and what Geely did to Volvo. Well, South Korea’s SsangYong Motor is not anywhere close to being in the same league as JLR or Volvo, but there’s a somewhat similar story unfolding with the Korean brand. Having been in the business since 1954, SsangYong is Korea’s oldest vehicle manufacturer but with the likes of Hyundai and Kia surging ahead in the past few deacdes, it has been reduced to being the smallest in the country. Slumping sales forced it to file for bankruptcy protection in 2009, while under the ownership of China’s SAIC Motors. In 2011, it was acquired by India’s Mahindra & Mahindra, which started pumping money into the ailing company. And last year, the brand recorded its highest annual sales since 2002 shifting 155,844 units.
This week, the Korean carmaker has revealed a facelift of its Korando SUV with upgraded looks and enhanced equipment. The 2017 model sports the same family styling features seen in the Tivoli and the recently announced Rexton models. Apart from the new signature grille, the Korando gets new fog lights, daytime running lights, lower valance and bonnet. Announced for the UK market now, it is powered by a turbocharged 2.2-litre diesel engine that’s good for 178 horsepower and 400Nm of torque. However, when it reaches our shores, it’s likely to stick with the same 147 horsepower 2.0-litre petrol engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Boasting a two-tonne towing capacity, SsangYong claims the Korando can tow a caravan, horsebox or boat trailer, adding to its appeal in the European markets. It also offers generous cargo space that goes up to 1,312 litres. All models come with electrically operated and heated door mirrors with puddle lamps, latest connectivity features, air conditioning, front & rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, 7.0in touchscreen, and satellite navigation among others features.