Review: SsangYong Korando Sports (2012 – 2016)


Good value pick-up, powered by strong 2.0-litre common rail diesel engine with 360Nm of torque, well equipped as standard.

Not as rugged as rival pick-ups, jittery and bouncy ride, vague steering, short load bed compared to rivals.

Recently Added To This Review

20 January 2015 Korando Sports upgraded to 1 tonne payload

With an increased payload of 1,050kg, the Korando Sports has been fitted with uprated and progressive rear coil springs within the existing multi-link rear suspension. Read more

9 October 2012 Prices and specification announced.

There are two models from launch. The SX comes equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, tinted glass, air conditioning, leather covered steering wheel, remote central locking, Kenwood MP3 CD and RDS radio... Read more

16 August 2012 SsangYong launches the Korando Sports.

It' s powered by SsangYong's e-XDi active diesel engine. The 2.0-litre engine provides maximum power of 155PS and peak torque of 360Nm delivered between 1500rpm and 2800rpm providing ample performance... Read more

SsangYong Korando Sports (2012 – 2016): At A Glance

The Korando Sports may be the new kid on the pick-up block but the little-known Korean manufacturer is hoping a combination of bold looks, value for money and a five-year warranty will tempt people into one. Rather than a basic work vehicle, SsangYong has copied the trend for high spec pick-up trucks which means plenty of equipment as standard and an SUV-style design.

Whether you like the look is of course down to individual choice. It certainly stands out though and is anything but bland. The standard version is a traditional open-back pick-up but the top version has a moulded rear canopy which integrates with the central locking system and is neater than a Truckman top.

It's well laid out inside with a decent quality feel and easy to read instruments. Only the dated steering wheel design and old-fashioned column stalks let it down. It's very roomy though and as it's a double cab as standard there's room for five adults. The downside of this is that the load bed is quite short.

On the road the Korando Sports goes well thanks to the 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel which provides good poke. In fact the Korando is surprisingly quick thanks to 360Nm of torque. Sadly the handling isn't up to scratch with vague and terribly slow steering which makes small roundabouts and tight corners a chore.

On the plus side it's reasonably economical comes with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty which covers almost everything, including wheel bearings, suspension joints, bushes, shock absorbers and even audio gear. Only wearable items like the clutch and brakes are excluded but are covered up to 12,000 miles. When it comes to value for money, not much comes close.

Driven: SsangYong Korando Sports DMZ

Based on the top of the range EX automatic, the Korando Sports DMZ is inspired by the pick-ups used by the South Korean military. Featuring full camouflage paintwork, roof rails and 18-alloy wheels, the big and bold SsangYong is perfect for anyone who wants their commercial vehicle to make a lasting impression.

Read our first drive here >>

Korando _Sports _DMZ_7

What does a SsangYong Korando Sports (2012 – 2016) cost?

SsangYong Korando Sports (2012 – 2016): What's It Like Inside?

The Korando Sports cabin has a nice look and feel to it with some neat design elements too. The quality feels good too so although some the plastics may be a bit shiny, it's not far off rivals such as the Toyota Hilux. The thing that lets it down is the dated steering wheel which also seems overly large. There are also old-fashioned column stalks which do it few favours.

Still, the driving position is good and the seats have decent side support. The Korando Sports comes as double cab as standard - there's no basic two-man cab version. The good news is that there's plenty of room. Unlike some double cabs, the rear has more than enough room for three adults - even big burly builders - with good knee and headroom. The seats even recline. This is a genuine five-seater that's actually comfortable for all on board. The only oddity is the rear doors with their jutting edge which can catch you out.

The bad news is that as a result, the load bay is relatively short especially when compared to something like a Ford Ranger. The load area does at least come with a deck liner and has a capacity of 2.04m2 plus there are anchor points for securing heavy. A rigid top is offered as an option and it locks with the central locking to keep things secure. An upgrade from January 2015 increased the payload rating to one tonme. 

As standard the Korando Sports comes with an open load bed but on EXT (and optional on SX and EX models) there's a moulded rear canopy that's styled and colour matched to the car. It also integrates with the central locking system and looks far neater than an aftermarket top.

What's the SsangYong Korando Sports (2012 – 2016) like to drive?

SsangYong describes the Korando Sports as a 'hard working pick-up that drives like an executive car'. Sadly that promise isn't quite a reality although thanks to a separate chassis - a must for a proper off road vehicle - it is certainly tough and able to handle difficult terrain and the demands of serious tow work. Get the Korando Sports into a deeply rutted track or a muddy field and it takes it all in its stride.

Back on tarmac the SsangYong isn't as accomplished though. The steering is very slow which means you need a lot of steering lock to negotiate tight roundabouts or car parks. Taking the Korando Sports up a winding track soon becomes a pain and as with most pick-ups it's not designed for throwing round corners.

It's happier cruising on the motorway where it's smooth and stress free. In terms of ride quality the Korando Sports initially seems good, however, on poor quality roads it tends to crash over potholes and bumps. From January 2015 the Korando Sports got upgraded rear suspension though the differences aren't obviously felt on the road. 

This is quite a surprise considering the Korando Sports has coil sprung suspension and a live rear axle rather than the old fashioned leaf springs that many other pick-ups have. On the plus side it does have a decent turning circle and switchable four-wheel drive complete with a low-range 4WD setting for proper off road driving. It also has ESP as standard.

However, the Korando Sport's biggest strength is its 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. It's not the last word in refinement but is one of the better engines in the pick-up market. It certainly has more than enough power with 155PS and 360Nm of torque. This means strong in-gear acceleration, especially from low revs as the torque peaks at just 1500rpm.

In fact the SsangYong is surprisingly quick, even when laden, which is a big help when attempting to join fast flowing traffic from a service road or works entrance. There's a six-speed manual gearbox as standard or a six-speed automatic with cruise control. The latter works well but we'd recommend the standard manual for most drivers as it's well suited to the diesel engine. Economy is reasonably good with a claimed average of 37.7mpg for the manual versions.

Real MPG average for a SsangYong Korando Sports (2012 – 2016)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their vehicles could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

26–33 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.