With outstanding off-road and towing capabilities, the latest Rexton offers an incredible amount of specifications for a very reasonable price. The vehicle is a clear indication that the Korean company is moving upmarket with its luxurious cabin packed with techno treats.
The goodGreat, solid all-rounder with plenty of on-board technology
The badFalls victim to brand snobbery
SsangYong Rexton 2.2 Diesel Ultimate (2021)
The SsangYong name may not exactly trip off the tongue, but once seen there’s no forgetting the new Rexton with its awesome on-road presence and that grille!
Then, when you factor in the asking price for the classy seven-seater, it’s a car that’s guaranteed to grab your attention because the high-end Rexton, that’s packed to bursting with tech and safety features, costs just over £40k.
The latest facelift model boasts more aggressive styling with a bigger, bolder grille that makes BMW’s latest design moves look trivial by comparison. And this complements the updated front bumper, fresh light clusters and newly-designed fog lights to give the Rexton an imposing front end. It is one of those cars that, when viewed in the rear-view mirror, makes you think – what is that? Well, it’s a SsangYong Rexton that’s what.
At the rear, there are new-look slimmer lights plus redesigned twin exhaust pipes integrated into the bumper. The side profile maintains its dynamic appearance and the interior oozes luxury with premium quality fixtures and fittings.
The range-topping Ultimate model is decked out in fine Nappa leather upholstery and there are soft-touch surfaces, woodgrain accents on the centre fascia, doors and console, LED mood lighting, heated and ventilated seats with power adjustment, a D-cut multi-functional steering wheel and a separate panel for all the climate control functions.
Creature comforts are plentiful, including a new 12.3-inch high-definition screen with TomTom navigation, full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth with music streaming and the option to link two devices at the same time, a rear-view camera, DAB radio, automatic dual air conditioning and lots more besides.
The seats offer supreme levels of comfort and that means the Rexton is a great car to drive for a few hundred miles without the need of a chiropractor on speed dial at the end of the journey.
It is also a practical seven-seater with a pair of back seats that fold flat to the boot floor when not in use. They can quickly be raised when needed and access is fairly good to them too. In the second row, a trio of adults can sit comfortably and the large dimensions of the Rexton means even six-footers will have ample leg, head and elbow space.
On the subject of storage, the boot is massive and with all seven seats in use, it can still swallow 240 litres of luggage. This increases to 1,806 litres with the seats in rows two and three lowered. And there are numerous convenient storage compartments scattered throughout the car with a lockable glovebox, a deep central cubby, practical door bins, a large tray, front and rear cup holders, plus seat back pockets.
Powering this full-sized SUV is a 2.2-litre diesel engine, delivering 202PS and 441Nm of torque. It is mated to the company’s latest eight-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel mounted paddles for added driver engagement.
When it comes to performance, the Rexton is not the fastest kid on the block but it’s definitely no slouch either, powering to 62mph from a standing start in 11.9 seconds and maxing out at 114mph, while delivering a combined 32.9mpg with carbon emissions of 225g/km.
Despite its size, the vehicle is relatively agile and can be thrown into tight bends with confidence. The new transmission system delivers well-timed gear changes and the all-round performance is impressive with ample power on tap at all times from the punchy diesel unit.
Drive modes called Eco, Power and Winter alter the reactions and mannerisms of the vehicle and the elevated driving position offers superb all-round visibility. This is quite a bonus as you can see over the hedgerows on the narrow lanes. It also means you have a good view on the chaotic school run with pedestrians, children, bicycles and cars darting out from every angle.
On the downside, the suspension can be a little on the firm side so you will feel the full force of some unexpected bumps and dips along the way, but that was my only real criticism after a week behind the wheel.
And I speak from experience when I say the Rexton has very accurate parking sensors along with a clever 3D around-view monitor of the car. I parked in Cardiff city centre and returned to find a space of just four inches behind the towbar and five inches ahead of the front bumper. But thanks to the excellent all-round sensors, it was easy enough to get out even if I was a tad beep-crazy at the end of it.
The safety kit on the Rexton is comprehensive too and includes the likes of brake assist, autonomous emergency braking, traction control, lane departure warning, smart high beam, lane change collision warning, blind spot detection, hill start assist, trailer sway control, rear cross-traffic warning, speed limit warning, up to nine airbags and plenty more besides.
And it’s a proper 4×4 with low ratio gears for more challenging driving in poorer weather or on demanding terrain. So, you will be well equipped to deal with any of Mother Nature’s unforeseen mood swings.
I can often gauge the quality of a test car by the interest it generates from certain neighbours. The Rexton was a talking point throughout the week and a couple of people were really surprised and impressed with the luxury inside the vehicle and equally just as shocked when I revealed the price. They expected it to be far more expensive.
It may still be a case of SsangYong who, but the quality is certainly there in the Korean manufacturer’s cars these days and the Rexton is absolute proof of that. It’s definitely one to watch.
SsangYong Rexton 2.2-litre 4×4 Ultimate (2017)
The SsangYong name wouldn’t usually be associated with the word ‘premium’ and in the past has been regarded as the cheap and cheerful vehicle range to emerge from South Korea.
But that has all changed. Following on from the release of the very upmarket latest Korando model, SsangYong has launched its all-new fourth generation Rexton into the mix and it is further proof that the company has certainly upped its game.
New Rexton still boasts a competitive asking price with the model line-upstarting from £27,500 and it still possesses all the off-road capabilities. But, and it’s a very big but, the latest Rexton is packed to bursting with new technology, creature comforts, luxurious styling and all the latest infotainment systems which make it an SUV to compete with the big guns.
Buyers can select from three trim levels called EX, ELX and range-topping Ultimate which was supplied for the test drive. There is just one powertrain at present – an efficient 2.2-litre 179bhp turbo diesel engine – but customers can choose between five or seven seats along with a manual or automatic gearbox.
The five-seat test car, which carried a £37,500 price-tag, featured a Mercedes Benz seven-speed automatic transmission. It could power its way from 0 to 60mph in 11.9 seconds and topped out at 115mph. According to official figures, it can deliver combined fuel economy of 34.0mpg with carbon emissions of 218g/km.
Viewed from any angle, new Rexton is an imposing, larger-than-life car that is big on character and guaranteed to attract attention thanks to its huge dimensions (it measures 4.85 metres in length), along with its bold, rugged, go-anywhere stance. Eye-catching design features include a grille that takes its inspiration from the spread wings of a bird in flight, 20-inch alloys, roof rails, high gloss skid plates under the bumpers, tinted windows, door mirrors with integrated indicators and puddle lamps, a rear spoiler with high-mounted LED stop light, hidden exhaust pipes, a shark fin antenna plus smart headlight units that include LED daytime running lights, high intensity headlamps, LED fog lights and sweeping indicators.
Move inside the cabin and it immediately becomes evident that SsangYong has moved upmarket in a big way. There are the likes of quilted nappa leather seats that have 8-way powered adjustment (six-way adjustment for the passenger), heated seats front and rear, a leather covered steering wheel which can be heated, mood lighting and plenty of soft-touch materials and smart woodgrain trim.
Infotainment needs are catered for thanks to a six-speaker sound system with DAB radio, Bluetooth, smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus a 9.2-inch high definition touchscreen with TomTom navigation and a rearview camera.
And when it comes to performance, the latest Rexton also impresses. The acceleration through that super seven-speed automatic gearbox is both sharp and responsive with a constant supply of power on tap at all times. The road-holding is confident and assured and even when pushed into tight bends there is little sign of any body roll. Noise levels are raised when driven particularly hard and you will notice a fair amount of wind sound, but it is worth remembering that the Rexton is an SUV at the larger end of the scale.
Even in busier, congested town centres the Rexton proved to be quite agile as it weaved its way through the traffic although a very large parking space will be required.
Comfort levels within the cabin are high and the back seats can accommodate a trio of adults – of the taller variety – with ease. And luggage restrictions will never be enforced either as the boot has a capacity that ranges from 820 litres to a whopping 1,977 litres with the 60:40 split folding rear seats dropped flat. Elsewhere there is a generously-sized glovebox, front and rear door bins that can hold water bottles, a deep central bin, pockets in the back of the front seats, cup holders and a handy tray.
The driver benefits from an elevated driving position and the view through the large rear window is possibly the best I have ever come across. However the over-the-shoulder vision is rather obscured by a chunky handrail to assist back seat passengers entering and exiting the vehicle.
And my only other slight gripe was the information readouts that had some discrepancies. My sat nav was indicating that my speed was 62mph, but the needle on the speedo along with the digital readout both claimed I was travelling at 68mph.
Although, I didn’t venture off-road in the Rexton, the car is packed with a comprehensive range of driver aids and safety systems that make it a well-rounded 4×4. It also boasts 3.5-tonne towing capabilities so would make light work of pulling large caravans or horse trailers.
All in all, the Rexton is a fabulous piece of kit that will certainly see the brand raise its profile. Admittedly the high-end models are not cheap and carry a price-tag that would have been unthinkable in SsangYong circles a few years back. But the latest model boasts many premium features and proved a delight to drive as I clocked up more than 500 enjoyable miles during my week-long loan.
Visit SsangYong for more details.
SsangYong Rexton 2.7 EX auto
With its larger-than-life appearance and versatility galore the SsangYong Rexton is quite a vehicle. Add in the asking price of just shy of £24k and it gets even more appealing.
Boasting a chunky, eye-catching design with sunroof, beefy 18-inch alloys, tinted windows, body-coloured door handles and body-coloured door mirrors the Rexton looks ready for action at any time and it is.
And once you open the door and see the side step, it’s another indication of what’s in store.
The interior, whilst a little plastic in design, boasts a wealth of top creature comforts and storage is never going to be an issue thanks to a very generously-sized boot with under-floor compartments along with numerous smaller storage options throughout the cabin.
There is ample room for five adults to travel in comfort and a further two seats are folded flat into the boot area. These are ideal to utilise for children or shorter journeys.
The Rexton has an array of features to make each journey more pleasurable, such as automatic air con for seven seats, a six-speaker sound system, rear parking sensors, cruise control and plenty more besides.
The test model was fitted with a powerful 2.7-litre diesel engine and five-speed automatic transmission which was nice and responsive.
The driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility and despite its large size, the Rexton was deceptively agile and easy to manoeuvre through tight spaces – those parking sensors were truly invaluable.
Out on the open road, acceleration was good, although the ride at times was a little bouncy with quite a lot of play on the steering.
But that gripe aside, the Rexton proved to be a whole lot of vehicle for the outlay and it also comes with SsangYong’s highly impressive five year/unlimited miles warranty which should not be overlooked.
The vehicle possesses a comprehensive list of safety specifications, including anti-lock brakes, 4×4 on demand capabilities, stability control, active rollover protection, hill descent control, numerous airbags and a whole lot more.
All in all, the SsangYong Rexton is excellent value for money and offers plenty of versatility for any family that strives for the active lifestyle but also keeps a watchful eye on their pennies.
Visit SsangYong for more details.