SSANGYONG REXTON: a budget friendly alternative?

THERE’S no escaping the fact the SsangYong Rexton is a big vehicle – the sight of its massive new grille in your rear view mirror will make the point.

And while it might not immediately have the kudos of some of its large SUV opposition, it’s come a fair way since it first lumbered onto our shores nearly two decades ago.

Then it was dubbed big, cheap and didn’t have a lot to recommend it.It’s still big – it needs to be with seven seats on offer – but now it offers a more budget friendly alternative to its vastly more expensive competitors.

Its sheer bulk is highlighted by the rear overhang which means you’ll be hard pressed to slot it into an average parking space. The onboard kit that includes a big rear camera and birds eye view come to your aid here, but you still have the task of climbing down from the high driving position – Rexton is a tall vehicle, so people with short legs, like my regular golfing partner, need to make use of the running boards along the side.
There are two trim levels – Ventura and Ultimate. Standard equipment is well up there with the rest, but there still a bit of a 90s hangover to the interior with its plastic chrome insets on the dash. Everything is there, but you don’t quite get that ‘bang up to date’ feeling when you climb aboard.

What you can’t fault though are the 18-inch alloy wheels, LED front fog and cornering lights, rear privacy glass, an electric tailgate, premium Nappa leather seats with heating and ventilation functions, 9.2-inch touchscreen with sat-nav, Nappa leather upholstery, a powered tailgate and a 3D surround view camera on the Ultimate model.
Rexton is stiffer than in previous generations, though there is a bit of body roll – sheer bulk will always induce that. It’s driving dynamics are ok in the main, but lag a bit behind some of the class leaders. Rein in on the horsepower though and progress can be very smooth.

But one area it racks up the brownie points is in its towing ability. Its horses for courses – caravans too – and with its revised 2.2 litre diesel engine pumping out 199bhp and 325lb/ft of torque, it’s fair to say it has acceptable performance. Certainly enough for a big caravan or horsebox, and it might even manage your house if you fancy moving to the end of your road….

There’s a new eight-speed auto from Hyundai, which is fine at slower speeds and shifts smoothly as the pace builds up. There are also manual paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.

The steering is very light, making it good for off roading and manoueuvering, but it can feel a bit vague on the road. Ride quality is soft and well damped, and you don’t really notice any wind and road noise. Hit a sharp bump though and you’ll certainly feel that.

What you can’t escape is the fact it’s a big, heavy car and so its running costs – fuel consumption in particular – also err on the heavy side.

Official fuel economy is 32.9mpg which, in a market dominated by efficient hybrid tech, just doesn’t really cut it.

It comes with an extensive range of safety equipment, including active emergency braking, collision warning and lane departure warning – bolstered on top-spec versions by blind spot and cross traffic alerts.

The latest Rexton still holds huge appeal as a tow car and a refreshing change from the past is that it’s value won’t plummet alongside its fuel economy – figures suggest it’ll hold onto around 46 per cent of its value over three years and 36,000 miles.

SsangYong provides a 7 year/150,000 mile warranty for all of its vehicles. And if you decide to sell it within the warranty period, the new owner will also benefit from the remaining cover.


SsangYong Rexton Ultimate

Price: £40,780
Engine: 2.2 litre, four cylinder, diesel
Power: 199bhp
Torque: 325lb/ft
Transmission: 8 speed automatic
Top speed: 114mph
0-62mph: 11.9 seconds
Economy: 32.9mpg
CO2 emissions: 225g/km

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