The Daewoo Korando makes up one generation (the second) of the SsangYong Korando, which is a long series of SUVs produced by South Korean automaker SsangYong from 1983 to the present. The Korando nameplate holds the Guinness record as Korea’s longest surviving line of vehicles in a single nameplate.
The name Korando is a contracted form of the phrase ‘Korea Can Do’. From 1983 to 2006, SsangYong built the Korando as 3-door subcompact SUVs and from 2010 to the present as 5-door crossover SUVs.
The second generation gave birth to the Daewoo Korando when it was sold in some markets under this name from 1999-2001. During this time, Daewoo was a majority stakeholder of SsangYong. When Daewoo went through financial difficulties, SsangYong regained majority ownership and continued selling the Korando under its brand.
First Generation: Jeep-based (1982–1996)
Much in the same fashion that the Land Cruiser prototypes were built for military use, the Korando also began in response to the demand for light military utility vehicles also based on the Willys Jeep. Many Korean automakers were in the business of assembling cars for the US and UN armed forces back in the ‘40s through the ‘60s.
In the early ‘70s, the American Motors (AMC) and Shinjin Motors, formed a joint venture to produce Jeeps under the Asia Motors badge. This venture produced the Asia KM410 and Asia Landmaster (CJ-5 Jeep). In 1978, AMC withdrew from the venture. One crisis led to another, including an invalidated license, until another company (Geohwa Co) took over production. Geohwa modified the vehicles to tone down their similarity to the Jeep. These models, including the 9-seat Family Deluxe and a pickup, formed part of the first Korando range of cars. The end of this generation also marked the last of the Jeep-based Korando.
Second Generation: Musso-based (1996–2006)
As the case was with the SsangYong Musso and Kyron, the Korando was also designed by MG’s Ken Greenly. This 3-door, 5-seat mini or subcompact SUV was, in fact, underpinned by a shortened Musso chassis. It rolled out of production lines and onto the Australian marketplace as the Daewoo Korando in a single trim.
The available powertrain for the base 4x4 model was a 3.2-litre M104 (Mercedes-Benz) inline-6 petrol engine (161 kW, 310 Nm) paired with a 5-speed manual Borg-Warner gearbox, with a 4-speed automatic offered as an option. It came equipped with a driver’s airbag, air-conditioning, alloy wheels, central locking remote control, power mirrors, power steering, power windows, radio CD with four speakers, and a traction control system.
The Daewoo nameplate only lasted until 2001, after which, the Korando continued selling in Australia under the Ssangyong brand, now with four seats. Again, it offered one engine, but this time it's a diesel. It was also sourced from Mercedes-Benz like the previous and spec'd as 2.9-litre OM602 inline-5 turbocharged (88 kW, 258 Nm) paired with either 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual gearbox. Its standard equipment now included engine immobiliser, limited-slip differential, and side steps.
Third Generation: C200 (2010–2019)
Italdesign Giugiaro designed this new 5-door SUV. It sports a new 2.0-litre inline-4 turbocharged diesel engine (129 kW, 360 Nm) paired with either 6-speed M11 automatic or 6-speed manual gearbox and offered in three trims.
- S, base – dual front/ head/side airbags, ABS, air-conditioning, alarm system, 16-inch alloy wheels, brake assist, cruise control, central locking RC, cloth trim, EBD, ESP, hill holder, engine immobiliser, leather steering wheel, power mirrors with indicators, power steering/windows, radio/CD with six speakers, roof rails, trip computer, and traction control system
- SPR – adds auto air-con/climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, leather upholstery, parking distance control rear, power driver’s seat, power sunroof, and a rear spoiler
- SX – adds auto air-con/climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, and front fog lights
It is well-admired for its classy styling, spacious interior and monocoque chassis.
Fourth Generation: C300 (2019–present)
The new Korando is a 5-door crossover SUV, available both as front-wheel and four-wheel drive. It comes in these two engine choices:
- 1.5-litre e-XGi 150T GDI-T inline-4 turbocharged petrol (120 kW, 280 Nm)
- 1.6-litre e-XDi 160 inline-4 turbocharged diesel (100 kW, 324 Nm)
The transmission system is offered as either 6-speed manual gearbox or 6-speed AISIN automatic. There are several trims, including the base ELX (available in both engines), EX, Ultimate, and limited editions ELX LE and Ultimate LE.
The Euro NCAP tested a 2019 model 1.6-litre variant and gave it a rating of 5 stars.