SsangYong has traditionally been, even by Korean standards, a little off-beam. Perhaps best known for producing the world's ugliest MPV's and its cringeworthy namedropping of technology partners' credentials, it has, to its credit, refused to give up.

It has quickly learned from its mistakes, practically re-inventing itself as a maker of credible if quirky crossovers - no more so than, say, Subaru - and given its Korando a facelift that's really a clean-up, with a new front bumper, a restyled grille and the obligatory LED daytime running lights.

Only the plastics have been changed at the back, with revised tail light clusters and a bigger spoiler.

The big changes, however, are inside, where SsangYong has made a praiseworthy effort to take the Korando into the same market segment as the Kia Sportage, with a completely new dashboard, revised instrumentation and a whole new electronic suite, all put together with sturdier plastics and embellished with wood veneer and metallic accents.

It all looks very nice in the photos that accompanied Friday's home-market launch, in a suitably decorated marina, but we'll reserve judgement until we've had a ride in one - preferably one that's been driven hard by unsympathetic media hacks, which ruthlessly exposes any below-par build quality.

NUTS AND BOLTS

The 2014 Korando will be available with a choice of two two-litre turbodiesel powertrains; the entry-level variant is rated at 109kW and 360Nm, the more expensive model at 133kW and the same torque. The 109kW model drives the front wheels through a six-speed manual cogset, the 133kW unit can be had with either manual or auto shifting and optional all-wheel drive.

Prices in Korea start at 20,710,000 won (R183 000).

No decision has been made about when the facelifted Korando will land in South Africa, other than that it will not be this year; informed speculation is suggesting a late 2014 or early 2015 SA release.