The great unknown on the street
The passers-by are undecided. A Stromer, of course, alone the German E-mark and the blue accents unequivocally indicate it. But which brand and above all: which model? The Ssangyong Korando e-Motion raises many questions when it makes its debut in downtown Frankfurt.
The C300 generation of the Ssangyong Korando has been on the market for a good two and a half years. The sales figures fell short of expectations, not least because of the Corona crisis. The new e-Motion should now do the trick as the brand’s first battery-electric vehicle.
Nothing changes on the basic body, the 4.47m long compact SUV body remains. Only in nuances, precisely those blue add-on parts, does it differ from its conventionally fueled brother. At most, you can see it clearly at the front, which presents itself as aerodynamically smooth and closed.
Good consumption values thanks to efficient energy management
The aerodynamic fairing helps the range, which is specified as 339 kilometers according to the standard. A value that the LG battery pack with a capacity of 61.5 kWh should easily achieve in everyday use. On the first test drive, we achieved 22.1kWh/100km with a rather brisk drive and cold outside temperature. The consumption is therefore relatively low, which is mainly due to the good energy management of the Ssangyong Korando e-Motion.
Thanks to the standard heat pump, the electrical heating of the interior is no longer as important as with many competitors. The digital 12.3-inch instruments usually show values below one kilowatt of power consumption. The Eco or even Eco Plus mode rarely needs to be used. In Comfort mode, the full dynamics of the drive are available in addition to the full heating output.
Comfortable setup ensures comfortable handling and traction problems
With an output of 190hp and 360Nm, the Ssangyong Korando e-Motion is quite powerfully motorized. At just under 1,900kg, it’s not a lightweight, but many competitors weigh well over two tons. The powerful electric motor gets it up to speed quickly, the prospectus only notes 8.5 seconds for the standard sprint. However, a bit of sensitivity in the foot is required, because the front axle loses grip relatively quickly. Especially with a somewhat forced driving style, the installed Continental all-weather tires were not always able to bring the power to the road.
The chassis design of the Korean is fully committed to comfort. The central and low-mounted load of the battery pack helps the suspension wonderfully and, despite soft damping, keeps body movements moderate. However, one should not expect any sportsmanship from the chassis. Above all, the traction of the front axle works under the unrelenting power of the electric motor.
Surprisingly good digital cockpit attracts tech friends
Ssangyong summarizes its driver assistance systems under the name “Deep Control”, all of which work flawlessly. Except perhaps for the overly ambitious warning gong, which always sounds the same, regardless of whether it’s speeding, a collision warning or lane change support. But it can be switched off in the depths of the on-board menu. How enthusiastic the digital instruments are with their high resolution and full customizability. However, the central infotainment display did not work properly. After a short photo stop, the system no longer started up properly, which is why only the audio menu could be used. When asked, a Ssangyong spokesman explained that the test vehicles are pre-series versions and such a fault should not occur in the series car. However, experience shows here too that many manufacturers have to struggle with problems of this type.
The Ssangyong Korando e-Motion costs 45,590 euros in the tested titanium top equipment. This makes it cheaper than the electric competition from Germany, but far from a special offer. Despite the seven-year guarantee, many customers are likely to question the unknown.
Ssangyong takeover not as secure as hoped
The creditor’s decision also hangs over the future of the brand like the sword of Damocles. If Edison Motors seemed to have found a buyer for the insolvent brand last year, as of today (03/09/2022) everything is open again. According to the Korean Herald, the creditors decided against Edison’s restructuring plan. The outcome of the takeover would thus be open and Ssangyong would have to continue to move under the state care of an insolvency administrator.
The past few years have shown that it has no influence on production and sales. However, it is likely to have a psychological impact on buyers if the future of the brand remains uncertain. And so applies not only to the Korando e-Motion, but to all of Ssangyong: the great unknown.
The first impression of the Ssangyong Korando e-Motion leaves us in two minds. In principle, it is a very good electric car with decent power, comfortable handling, but above all very decent battery performance. The infotainment is also impressive in terms of appearance and range of functions, but it still has to prove itself in terms of stability. However, the future of the brand is much more important than the car itself. Hardly any customer will be willing to pay more than 40,000 euros without knowing how Ssangyong will continue. (Text: Fabian Mechtel | Images: Ssangyong)