Motoring Writer IAN LAMMING takes a look at the new SsangYong Korando

IT’S the elephant in the room so let’s get it said. The old SsangYong Korando looked like a Jeep Wrangler; there, I’ve said it.

Happens a lot with up and coming brands. They start off with a formula which they know to work and ape it. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and no one seems to mind (I’ll leave out the rest of Oscar Wilde’s quote because it’s unkind).

Once in the swing and with burgeoning confidence, designers head down their own road and produce something unique and that’s just what has happened with the latest Korando, a fourth generation SUV that looks like …well, a SsangYong.

Gone have the Jeep-esque looks to be replaced by an aesthetic which reflects SsangYong’s new-found flair.

New Korando is contemporary, looking to the present and the future not the past of Uncle Sam and that extends both inside and out.

It also bristles with the latest hi-tech electronic safety aids, new 1.5 litre turbo petrol and updated 1.6 litre diesel Euro 6d engines, loads of interior space and much-improved comfort.

Distinctive grille and headlight treatment embrace the SsangYong’s family design look and there’s even going to be an EV; how very modern and on trend.

But things move deeper than just the looks. Korando is longer, wider, lower and with a longer wheelbase than the outgoing model.

It boasts better head-room and rear seat space than its nearest competitors too, aims for a premium feel interior and comes with better than ever levels of safety including seven airbags, advanced emergency braking system with camera and radar, lane keep assist, front vehicle start alert, high beam assist, safety distance alert, driver attention alert, intelligent adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert. Phew, I need a lie down.

Connectivity and technology is also advanced to offer Apple CarPlay, Google Android, touchscreen and a navigation map linked to instrument cluster.

The new 1.5 litre petrol GDI engine packs a turbo and the 1.6 litre diesel has been updated.

Korando comes with all-wheel-drive and don’t forget SsangYong has been building SUVs and 4×4 vehicles for 65 years. Bet you had forgotten that hadn’t you? The elephant in the room certainly hadn’t.

SsangYong Korando
Engine: 1.5 petrol/1.6 litre turbo diesel
Power: 163/136PS
Max towing weight: 1,500/2000kg
Transmission: six speed automatic/manual
CO2 g/km: 146/115