2022 SsangYong Korando e-Motion review

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Budget Brand’s First EV is a premium option with a decent mix of range, space and features

SsangYong recently caused a stir with the first pictures of its upcoming SUV Torres.

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The styling of the rugged-looking model is quite a departure from the Korean brand’s existing range, bringing a new boldness and an obvious step forward in interior design.

But just as striking as its looks is the fact that SsangYong – known for its rugged diesel-powered SUVs – will only be bringing an all-electric version of the Torres to Europe.

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Details on the electrified powertrain are still few and far between, but when it goes on sale in late 2023, the Torres will be the brand’s second electric vehicle, alongside the electrified Korando and sitting between it and the diesel-powered Rexton.

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Pending its arrival, SsangYong’s electric focus remains on the Korando e-Motion, which goes on sale later this year.

As the pun name makes clear, this is an all-electric version of the existing Korando, a wallet-friendly C-SUV alternative to the Suzuki S-Cross, Nissan Qashqai and MG ZS.

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The most obvious difference between the e-Motion and the ICE Korandos is the closed front section. A sleek “spread wing” panel sits in place of the regular grille between redesigned LED daytime running lights and above a reshaped front bumper. Stacked LED fog lights are also unique to the e-Motion, as is the rear bumper design and blue trim around the car.

This blue theme is carried into the vehicle’s interior, where it replaces the neat 3D effect of the normal car on the doors and dashboard. Aside from that and blue accents on the digital displays, the electric version shares interior space with the petrol and diesel versions. That means a solid design and ambience in the middle of the street. In terms of looks and feel, the Korando is a step above a Suzuki or Dacia, but not on par with a Nissan or Kia. There’s plenty of room for four adult passengers to get comfortable, and you get space for five unless you’re planning long trips. Impressively, the EV version doesn’t sacrifice anything from the trunk, which stays at a very useful 551 litres.

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So far, so similar, but the main draw of the e-Motion is its powertrain. The greatest weakness of the current Korando has long been its engines. You have the choice between a reasonably sophisticated but fairly uneconomical 1.5-litre petrol or a harsher but not much more fuel-efficient diesel. So the introduction of an electric drive is a small blessing.

The Korando was designed from the ground up for an EV setup, and here it takes the form of a single 187hp motor powering the front wheels. Its power comes from a 61.5 kWh battery (of which 55.3 kWh is usable), which is good for 211 miles of driving in official tests. Once that’s gone, owners can charge up to 100kW and take the car from 20% to 80% in just over half an hour.

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On the road, the engine delivers the instant torque common to all electric vehicles, firing from a standstill and maintaining decent torque up to highway speeds. The near-quietness of the engine matches the Korando’s overall sophistication, with just a little tire noise noticeable at higher speeds.

Handling has never been the Korando’s greatest strength, but the lower center of gravity provided by the floor-mounted battery actually helps make the EV feel safer than its ICE equivalents. However, this is still not a sporty machine, and the ride and body control is softer and less composed than its most capable rivals.

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Like most manufacturers, SsangYong has been hit by the global semiconductor shortage, which has led to difficulties bringing the e-Motion to the UK. It’s on the way, however, with prices starting at £31,995 for the ELX trim. As is usual with SsangYong, a relatively low price does not mean skimping on equipment, and even entry-level versions have 17-inch alloy wheels, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, reversing camera, dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control and a set of active security systems.

The £34,995 Venutra adds LED headlights, heated seats, a larger touchscreen, faux leather upholstery, reversing sensors and a charging cable. An additional £3,000 comes with Ultimate trim, which includes ventilated (real) leather seats, heated steering wheel, wireless phone charger, power tailgate and a heat pump that helps improve battery performance in cold weather.

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At the top end of this price bracket you’ll find competitors from mainstream brands, but overall only the MG ZS EV and Kia Soul EV offer comparable specs and capabilities for similar money, and both are smaller vehicles that leave room for SsangYong to carve out a niche in the carve the growing world of electric vehicles.

SsangYong Korando e-Motion Ventura

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Price: £34,995; Engine: single synchronous electric motor; Battery: 61.5kWh; Perfomance: 187 hp; Torque: 265 pounds foot; Transmission: single-speed automatic, front-wheel drive; Top speed: 97 miles per hour; 0-62mph: 9 seconds; Area: 211 miles; Consumption: n / A; Load: up to 100kW

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