SsangYong Korando III – New Actyon mini-review

There is a one variant at a seemingly attractive price among the light SUVs with automatic transmissions…


SsangYong Korando (3rd generation), at rus-market sold as New Actyon. Presented as a concept C200 in 2009, production start since 09.2010 (diesel only), since 02.2012 gasoline with MT version is available, since 10.2012 – gasoline with AT, since 08.2013 – restyled version.

The price of the minimal acceptable grade (AT, 4WD, ESP) was about $29.000* (Elegance +).
* Hereinafter provided last pre-war prices, at now the price in rubles rose slightly, but in dollars has fallen

Few details about the grades at russia offered since MY2014:

  • Welcome – starting grade for “promotional” price devoid of even ABS (unfortunately, the local law allows it). In addition, the manufacturer saved on the spare wheel, seat heaters and cruise control.
  • Original – archaic basic grade without ESP, without side and curtain airbags. However, these required attributes of a modern car, along with climate control and parking assistant, are included in the optional pack. In this case, a list of the missing equipment is reduced to fog lamps, steering wheel telescopic adjusting, mirror folding and audio system.
  • Elegance – the optimal grade, without heating of wheel and rear seats. It has a nice combination meter, rather advanced media system with navigation, keyless entry and start.
  • Elegance+ – mentioned above heaters are added, with 17 “wheels, auto lighting control and rain sensor.
  • Elegance L – seats are wrapped in imitation leather.

Premium – added 18 “wheels, driver’s seat ventilation and electric adjusting, sunroof, TPMS.
Among the cars sold an unusually large proportion of 2WD basic version. It seems – as an alternative to hatchbacks or compact van of decent brands hatch. Koranso as hatchback is queit comfortable, but much of overweight – 200-300 kg beside specific cars (though SsangYong’s engineering culture in a weight was always poor). Second drawback – cutted options, not only comfort, but also security, in comparison with modern C-class cars.

After restyling minimal requirements consistent version cost was $30.500 (Elegance), with diesel – $29.700


High-quality professional work can be seen at once – of course, talking about Italdesign Giugiaro. Not all of their projects can be considered successful, but C200 is clearly a success – a calm, neutral classics in the form factor of a compact SUV. Although the “compactness” is very relative – with curb weight 1600-1700 kg Korando is heavier and larger, not only reference Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, but even some Japanese mid-SUVs. Body contours allow for involuntary analogy with the Daewoo Matiz – it is not surprising, since both models come from the same design studio.

The extreior design did not impact functionality, despite the “hatchback-shaped” body and upturned “stern”.

Restyled front side with the new optics is correlated with general corporate style, but… the original Jaguar-style face was much prettier.


Before the restyling the interior has also proven classic style, that are appreciated in contrast to contemporary shapes of first rank Asian brands. The tactile sensing of the materials is average, but SsangYong is visually pleasant, while top-end version with light beige interior was perhaps the best among Asian “classmates”.

Build quality seems also average, sure it is not russian car, but not a top brand with a “monolithic” salon. Body rigidity test on uneven ground shows excessive suppleness not only of tailgate doorway but also of the side doorways.

After restyling the classics was replaced by “hyundai-style”, albeit with the addition of some softer plastic elements (the upper part of the panel).


Driver . The seat is installed not so high above the floor, but high enough above ground level, so that together with good forward visibility creates a light sense of “command position”. Adjustments range is sufficient, the seat does not force to a proper “anatomical” position, the steering wheel adjusting in two directions (since mid-grade), there are not outspoken ergonomic failures, but there is a some sense of inner space. There is the leather trim at steering wheel for all grades, but the low quality caused a rapid “peeling” (covered by the warranty).

Rear passengers . Seating is not perfect, but acceptable – low cushion level above the floor, minimal head over space, front seat back are lined with hard plastic, outstanding longitudinal space, seat backs reclination adjusting, no floor tunnel.

The existence of Korando makes it possible to evaluate three different approaches to the design.
– First – unlimited resources of Toyota – their own design studios around the world, international workers, but Japanese management has fallen into the sin of pride and imagines they have the sense of taste and measure. The result – a mediocre exterior, the monstrous interior, inhuman ergonomics.
– The second – unlimited resources of Hyundai – similar world studios, but under the leadership of the European designers. The result – breakthrough exterior, interesting interior, but everywhere, where the interests of design and ergonomics conflict, the functional convenience sacrificed to exterior.
– Third – in general a poor SsangYong purchased the ready product from the old school professionals. The result – universal decent exterior, nice interior, good ergonomics, taking into account the European human constitution.



Front – a good, it has the opportunity to look over the car roofs, the pillars are thick but not critically. Rear – mediocre (wide rear pillars, a relatively small tailgate glass, turned up stern). Side mirrors are not bad, but the inside lets to view only the backseat.



In spite of body shape the luggage compartment is roomy enough by the standards of light-SUV. The rear seats fold separately in a floor flat area, under carpet – a full-size spare wheel.


Engine Displacement, cm3 Bore x Stroke, mm Compression ratio Power output, hp Torque, Nm Configuration Drive Trans.
D20DTF 1998 86.2 x 85.6 16.5 149 / 4000 360 / 1500-2800 CRDI + DPF 2WD/4WD 6-MT/6-AT
D20DTF 1998 86.2 x 85.6 16.5 175..181 / 4000 360 / 2000-3000 CRDI + DPF 2WD/4WD 6-MT/6-AT
D22DTF 2157 86.2 x 92.4 15.5 178 / 4000 400 / 1400-2800 CRDI + DPF 2WD/4WD 6-MT/6-AT
G20DF 1998 86.0 x 86.0 10.5 149 / 6000 197 / 4000 2WD/4WD 6-MT/6-AT



Obviously, the “quality” is not taken out of nowhere, but is gradually built up of many individual bricks. As noted above, one of them – the previous positive experience – not exist.

Some questions to technologists appear – fray through hoses, protruding bolts, friction between lights optic and body panels – are indicators of the quality level.

The next – parts. Decent automakers use products of affiliated companies or first rank oem-suppliers, but SsangYong forced to use cheap stuff of second-rate firms – this can be seen by study of the origin of small components.

Normally we try not to hang the label “bad rus-assembly,” the more that problems arise with entire Korean units too. But Vladivostok plant deserves the share of blame – phrase “in the factory forgot” became the norm when dealing with the local officials – today is not so much the models need to be “after-sales” service – chassis bolts tightening, all clamps tightening, conditioner refill, transmission refill, and the story of the oil cooler plugs will be remembered for a long time.

At the SsangYong team the best players are traders – at least they realize that unpopular car brand in the stagnant market needs to be foist active and creative.

The insurance cost is even higher than many decent analogues – about $2000 in mid-level company (before war).

Of course, the modesty of SsangYong create difficulties with the service network. Total “loss of connection between generations” occurred – because SY change sequentially already four or five main official distributors, so there is not any advanced professionals in essence. So, at best, have to expect the nook in one of multi-brand workshops and newbie staff.

Next scourge for Korando – “raw” software for all control units – so that firmware updates and codings come out so regularly as some browsers updates. The owners have preferred to think, that a number of software updates points to the “modernity” and the high technical complexity of the model. However, note the technical level of Korando corresponds early 2000s in truth, when the vast majority of cars (Toyota for example) had neither the possibility nor the need for reprogramming. And most of its modern Asian “classmates” require much less “brains” fixes.

Spare parts supply – perhaps the most sad chapter of Korando story. Once again, note: the most important foreign market for SsangYong was russian, the rest export did not show huge growth, and smeared a thin layer all over the world – creating the illusion of SsangYong worldwide presence. Therefore understand the low interest in the model from oem-manufacturers. The question of consumables is gradually solved, but the waiting for supply of even small parts for warranty replacements can be stretched to impossible 2-3 months. Do not forget about the lack of “prototypes”, structurally close analogues from other brands and, of course, “second hand” units. Only a small outlet – some details, like the lash adjusters or injectors, borrowed from previous models or gleaned empirically from Hyundai models. For this reason, it is strongly advised to pay attention to the limited warranty terms in the manual. For decent brands the problem in principle can be resolved within a reasonable time by additional cost, but in the case of Korando many components are not not available physically – only for order via officials.

In the current economic situation can be asked global question – “What is SsangYong future? If not tomorrow, then in five years? When his rus-partner once again “optimize” production program?” In any case, the buyer of rare goods must be aware of the risk to left alone with 1.5 tons of “disposable” iron.

Note, SsangYong is good for techno freaks – who like to improve, modify, cut off, paint over, to pick up analogue etc… Its owner with time forced to become one of the most technically advanced owners of new vehicles. Well, is it possible to imagine a completely “herbivore” owner of a new Japanese car, who bends the fuel rail with crow to improve the idling operation? (it is normal for Korando)

Generally, after the observation of the Korando owners, it seems that most of the dissatisfied – are people of a new formation, the former owners of decent cars, decided to “change the quality of life” with new SUV. But the assumption that if the two major Korean brands now are at the quality level of classical Japanese, then the rest will present no surprises – it was wrong. So the rawness of new car, the number of small and big defects, the situation with the maintenance, can be shocking for modern man, who has the right to believe that “warranty” – is not only the elimination of major troubles by the manufacturer, but firstly the period for which initially quality car will not have serious problems at all.

Typical satisfied Korando owners can be divided into two groups. The first – the former owners of lo-end vehicles, for which positive feelings of the radically new level compensate the rest. The second group – aged “rednecks”, far from the nuances of the modern automotive industry. It seems for us strange not to distinguish the quality level of Hyundai-Kia / GM-Korea / Samsung / Ssangyong – but for them there are just abstract “Koreans.” They live in their own way, without knowing the difference of reliability Renault and Peugeot, Opel and Honda. And they can choose a car by “organoleptic” – and here Korando bribes, because at first met and test drive looks rather attractive for lower cost. “Features” of model and brand they see with amazing humility – “Well, the new model”, “well, Koreans had not the experience”… such loyalty sometimes seems like they not bought the cars but received as the gift from SsangYong.



But Korando is not a gift – the charm of “small tractor” (or its gasoline brother) completely fading away by price list.

Yes, in russia for $30.000+ was sold a lot of trash. But if some brands at least have decent reputation, so what is doing here… Mahindra?! And why even Sportage/Tucson (overvalued, non-ideal, but deservedly popular) at similar grade have the price just few percent higher that SsangYong’s… “unfinished job”?



Korando – is a strange synthesis of good form and mediocre content. As a pure abstraction, it is not bad: – As the corporate or rental car it could be preferred over the many of light-SUVs..

But not as personal transport – when taking into account the ownership cost, maintenance, reliability – everything falls into place. Experience shown that Korando has no one trouble-free modification that could be exploit for a long time without painful costs.

Not bad, if SsangYong some day will improve his debut in light-SUV class. But it is better this training will be pay by someone else.

Buying Korando (by analogy with any Chinese brand car) makes sense when the future is guaranteed, long time ownership is not planned, and $30-35.000 can be write off at any time painlessly. If any of these items are not met, then the car must be not only better initially, but also have the clear prospects of ownership. “We are not rich enough to buy cheap things” (“Buy cheap, buy twice”) – exactly about SsangYong.

P.S. (Fall 2015) It seems that the answer to the question above “What is SY future?” will appear soon. Sales in russia have collapsed, the local assembly plant is stopped, the so-called “dealer network” is falling apart, the new cars are component donors for warranty repairs, the prices of spare parts look horrible in the absence of oem-duplicate… In general, we can only congratulate those who overcame the doubts and did NOT become the owner of SsangYong Korando.

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