KGM (SsangYong) Korando C300 Limited review: can do attitude

David Linklater
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Korando has changed little since launch in 2019 (except for the brand!)


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Base price
Body type
sport utility vehicle
Boot Capacity
Fuel Consumption (l/100km)
Maximum power kW
Maximum torque Nm
Towing (Tonnes)
  • Energetic and refined (mostly) engine
  • Practical load bay
  • A SsangYong-cum-KGM with adaptive cruise!
  • Costly compared to more modern rivals
  • Looks dated inside and out
  • Adaptive cruise is pretty basic

This Korando Limited is the first car we’ve had on test that’s badged as a KGM - the new name for the Korean maker formerly known as SsangYong. Ironically, this particular vehicle is also serving as a showcase for a range of accessories including a bonnet protector and monsoon shields… all of which are clearly labelled “SsangYong”. Brand transitions never run completely smoothly.

We can probably forgive the Korando, because unlike the new Torres SUV it’s one of the KGM/SsangYong old guard. The Korando has had many lives, starting out as a Jeep Wrangler copy in the 1980s and eventually morphing into a crossover SUV. The name means "Korea can do", by the way. Seriously.

KGM Korando C300 Limited.
Note 'KGM' brand on the tailgate. But the old SsangYong twin-dragon badge has stayed.

This fourth-generation model has been around since 2019 with fairly minimal changes, so it’s far from the latest thing in what’s a hotly contested small-medium SUV segment.

A quick flick back to our first review of this generation Korando in 2020 reminds that we liked the energetic 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine and comprehensive safety equipment, weren’t so sure about the sluggish transmission and low-speed ride on the Limited’s 18-inch wheels, and approved of the spacious interior and cargo bay.

KGM Korando C300 Limited.
Limited gets larger 18-inch wheels and improved safety equipment.

All of the above is still true, except that most rivals have since moved on quite a bit, so the Korando is looking and feeling a bit dated, despite some enduring qualities. The diesel engine/AWD option has gone and the Limited 2WD model (the one we tested back then and again now) has risen a whopping $10k to $45,990. Think of it as a rival to the Corolla Cross Limited FWD at a Corolla Cross GXL price and it might make more sense, but it’s still not cheap when you can buy a Kia Seltos Limited FWD for $44k. Corolla Cross and Seltos also give you a good idea of where the Korando sits size-wise.

Korando has had many lives, starting out as a Jeep Wrangler copy in the 1980s and eventually morphing into a crossover SUV.

It’s conservative outside and in, but you wouldn’t call it dull. It’s certainly a lot more modern-feeling and better-built than the brand’s smaller Tivoli SUV, with consistent fit and finish and lots of piano black and chromey looking stuff in the cabin. The modest 9.0-inch infotainment screen is a bit of a letdown, but carries Apple CarPlay and Android Auto via a USB-A cable. It also plays a strange violin-type riff when you start up or shut down, which is quite weird. Interesting, but weird.

KGM Korando C300 Limited.
Age shows on dashboard with analogue dials and tiny screen. Nicely done though.

The Korando Limited is $5k more expensive than the standard model (same powertrain), and while it makes more sense as a $40k car, you do get some very worthwhile additions with the top-spec version. The entry Korando has a good safety package including lane-keep, but the Limited ups the ante significantly with an extra lane departure feature, safety distance alert and driver’s knee airbag. It also adds climate air-con, roof rails, tinted windows, larger wheels, auto hold/hill-start and adaptive cruise control - that last thing very welcome as previous KGMs we’ve tested this year (Tivoli, Rexton, Rhino) haven’t had it.

It plays a strange violin-type riff when you start up or shut down, which is quite weird. Interesting, but weird.

The adaptive cruise  is pretty basic, though. Once you set the target speed, the car is painfully slow to adjust and the readout is absolutely tiny, located at the bottom of the instrument panel. But once locked in, it does the job.

KGM Korando C300 Limited.
Korando is a small-medium SUV, exactly the length as a Toyota Corolla Cross.

The small-capacity turbo engine is smooth in city running and quite lively, although it gets a bit breathless at higher speed. The sluggish transmission is part of the problem here: it seems to really strain under load and tumbles from gear-to-gear at times. It’s much happier pootling about town.

No lavish leather for the Limited, but we rather like the soft grey 'woven cloth' fabric upholstery.

There’s not a lot wrong with the way the Korando goes around corners. The lumpy low-speed becomes plain unsettled on some backroads and coarse chip produces a lot of road noise, but the steering is good and the chassis really solid in the way it tracks around turns. It feels confident.

KGM Korando C300 Limited.
Excellent rear-seat space. But (ahem) no USB ports, just an old-school 12v outlet.

No lavish leather for the Limited, but we rather like the soft grey "woven cloth" fabric upholstery; combine that with decently supportive seats up front and you have a good driving platform.

Korando is genuinely spacious inside and the boot load-through is particularly good. The rear seatbacks fold almost flat, which is a rarity for whatever reason these days; it’s really practical.

KGM Korando C300 Limited.
Love the near-flat load-through with the rear seats folded down.

If the price started with a “3” we’d have no hesitation recommending Korando as a budget-but-good-quality alternative to more mainstream Korean and Japanese SUVs. At $45k it will have to work that much harder to win customers, but it remains a solid effort. And it’s certainly something a little different.

ENGINE: 1.5-litre turbo-petrol 4-cylinder POWER: 120kW/280Nm GEARBOX: 6-speed automatic, FWD CONSUMPTION: 8.3l/100km (3P-WLTP) PRICE: $45,990.

How much is the KGM Korando C300 Limited?

The flagship Limited is $45,990, which puts the price on par with major rivals from Toyota and Kia.

What are the key statistics for the KGM Korando C300 Limited powertrain?

No electrification here: it's a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol four with 120kW/280Nm and conventional 6-speed automatic. Now the diesel's gone, there's no longer an AWD option, so this is FWD-only.

Is the KGM Korando C300 Limited efficient?

With an ICE powertrain it's never going to be anywhere near as economical as the likes of a Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid, but the small-capacity engine can sip if you really try. Our test average of 8.1l/100km (it was a brand-new car too, so that should improve) matched the official 8.3l/100km.

Is the KGM Korando C300 Limited good to drive?

The ride is pretty lumpy anywhere apart from the motorway and the gearbox feels lethargic, but it steers and handles with authority for a family SUV. 

Is the KGM Korando C300 Limited practical?

The cabin is impressively spacious for a vehicle in this segment front and rear, although the kids won't like the humble 12-volt power supply in the back; bring on the USB port(s). The boot is shallow, but it's big and the back seats fold nearly flat.

What do we like about the KGM Korando C300 Limited?

The engine is refined, it handles well and the sense of space and practicality in the cabin is a big plus.

What don’t we like about the KGM Korando C300 Limited?

The ride only really settles on the motorway, it looks a bit dated compared to rivals and the price is high when you consider it's a five-year-old design.

What kind of person would the KGM Korando C300 Limited suit?

Someone who's set on a practical small-medium SUV and absolutely does not want a mainstream Toyota. Mazda or Kia.


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