The South Korean SUV has undergone quite the transformation.

Budget 4x4 manufacturer SsangYong has launched its new medium-sized Korando SUV in the UK with prices starting from just under £20,000.

Built to compete with the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and VW Tiguan, as well as more off-road focussed models such as the Jeep Cherokee and Land Rover Discovery Sport, the newcomer joins the fray boasting huge upgrades over its predecessor. As Motor1.com reported from the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, the South Korean car comes with a completely fresh exterior and a new cabin, as well as new engines and extra tech.

The entry-level ELX model comes with a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine and front-wheel drive, as well as 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control and automatic lights and wipers. If you order one, though, you won’t be able to get your hands on it until they arrive in the UK in December.

2019 Ssangyong Korando

The same is true of the more luxurious Ventura model, which uses the same engine but gets part-leather upholstery, 18-inch two-tone diamond-cut alloy wheels and heated front seats. Front and rear parking sensors are standard, too, while there’s a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and eight-inch touchscreen included in the £23,995 price tag.

However, if you opt for the rugged-sounding Pioneer model, you get a 1.6-litre diesel engine with an automatic gearbox and a choice of four- or front-wheel drive. This £26,495 model is unashamedly aimed at the caravan and towing market, and comes with faux leather seats and a heated steering wheel. However, it doesn’t get the cheaper Ventura model’s 18-inch alloys, eschewing them in favour of 17-inch rims with all-weather tyres, and there’s no digital instrument cluster. You do get the eight-inch touchscreen and heated seats, though, as well as a reversing camera.

2019 Ssangyong Korando

Topping the range is the Ultimate model, which also starts at £26,495. This is the only model to get real choice in the engine department, with customers offered a two-wheel-drive petrol model from early 2020 or a 1.6-litre diesel with four-wheel-drive, which is available from launch. Opt for the high-end diesel, though, and you’re looking at an invoice for £31,995.

As befits the car’s lofty position at the pinnacle of the range, full leather upholstery is fitted, along with a dual-zone air conditioning system and a premium nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Other standard features include 19-inch alloy wheels, keyless start and LED headlights, plus the 10.25-inch digital instruments, privacy glass and an electric tailgate.

Gallery: 2019 Ssangyong Korando