Storage for strollers, golf clubs and boxes of groceries, spacious backseats and high-end safety features are increasingly becoming important factors to customers in Korea seeking vehicles that fit their family-oriented lifestyles.
Rather than choosing sedans with better driving performance, a growing number of customers -- particularly those in their 30s and 40s -- are looking for mid-sized sport utility vehicles in consideration of fuel economy, passenger convenience and ease of use.
According to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association, 129,729 units of midsized SUVs were sold here between January and September, taking up 35.8 percent of all SUV sales.
Contributing to the popularity of midsized SUVs is SsangYong Motor’s latest SUV Korando. In the last nine months, the carmaker has sold a total of 11,243 units, a 323 percent increase from the same period last year.
Actor In Kyo-jin and his actress wife So Yi-hyon pose for the Korando gasoline commercial to promote the SUV as a family car. (SsangYong Motor)
Korando is SsangYong Motor’s signature sport utility vehicle brand and the oldest such brand in Korea. It has represented power, firmness and masculinity for the last 37 years.
After an eight-year hiatus, the all-new Korando returned to the market early this year, with a stylish and sophisticated design at an affordable price, the company said.
Six months after launching the 2.0-liter diesel version in February, the Korando gasoline model was launched in August. Its turbo engine is matched up with Aisin Aw’s third-generation six-speed automatic gearbox, the company said, adding that it creates a speedy yet smoother transmission.
The engine compartment is covered with a sound package as well as passenger space that minimizes the inflow of noise from outside and the engine. The 1.5-liter turbo gasoline model has seven air bags and other safety features, including lane keeping assist, driver awareness assist and autonomous emergency braking systems.
The Korean unit of Indian conglomerate Mahindra & Mahindra sought stability and a refined style by lowering the height of the vehicle and increasing its width, the company said.
Furthermore, its interior is simple but high-tech, with a 10.25-inch full digital cluster that displays a full navigation map, a media player and safety warning signs, all in high-definition graphics. It comes with audio, video and navigation systems all controlled via a 9-inch center fascia with a voice recognition function.
It is also certified as a super ultralow emissions vehicle, in a first for a domestically manufactured SUV. The certification is given to vehicles emitting less than 0.019 gram per kilometer of hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide, with discounts on public parking and tolls offered.
What makes the vehicle suitable for families with young kids is that it has 551 liters of cargo space in the back, the largest in the midsized SUV category. Passenger seats are also foldable, allowing more room for cargo.
“At this transitioning time for families (becoming smaller), the Korando gasoline is a perfect fit for modern families with less than three members, as it has enough interior space and various options for passenger convenience,” a SsangYong official said.
“We will continue to improve the product’s quality and add more vehicle types in the future to expand sales growth.”
The price of SsangYong Motor’s Korando gasoline model ranges from 23 million won ($19,000) to 28 million won.
By Cho Chung-un (email@example.com