SSANGYONG REXTON REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Five-door large SUV
Price: $36,990 (plus on-road costs)
On test fuel efficiency: 12.0 l/100km
SsangYong’s Rexton isn’t new to Australia by any stretch yet it may well be this market's most overlooked SUV.
Easily the cheapest way into a large diesel SUV, the Rexton offers cut-price off-road adventures at a price point almost entirely ignored by other brands.
- Quality: Fit and finish looks good on the surface, and while the design isn’t up-to-the-minute it is functional and smart enough.
A few minor rattles were noticeable in the dash, doors and rear seats of our test car though.
- Comfort: Seating for seven is an option and the third row offers comparatively spacious accommodation. Middle seats can be tight for legroom, and width scarce with three abreast.
Up front there are no issues with wide comfortable seats and a broad range of adjustment.
- Equipment: CD/MP3 six-speaker sound with aux-in and USB connectivity, heated, folding electric mirrors, dual zone climate control with rear booster, steering wheel audio controls.
- Storage: With third row seating stowed there are 500 litres of boot space, growing to 1540 litres with the second row folded. Dash and doors provide good storage nooks and the centre console is deep, with additional slide-out storage.
ON THE ROAD
- Driveability: There’s no mistaking the Rexton for anything other than a big heavy SUV. There’s a commanding view of the road ahead, but the engine is a little behind the pace and certainly less thrifty than modern diesels.
- Refinement: Once again, betrayed by ageing technology, Rexton’s five-speed auto is slow to respond, but shifts smoothly enough. The engine can be a little coarse; some moderate vibration finds its way into the cabin.
- Suspension: A serious off roading set-up with independent wishbone suspension up front and a coil-sprung rigid rear axle behind. The tuning is very soft, great for rough trails but prone to bobbing about on paved roads.
- Braking: A long travel pedal means great modulation off the beaten track. The ventilated front and sold rear discs are also up to the task, providing good stopping power.
- Off road: Full-time four-wheel-drive makes most conditions easy to tackle with low range selected via a rotary dash control.
An adventure onto some steep fire trails shortly after a downpour revealed that the Rexton has the low-down grunt, ground clearance and wheel articulation to make short work of such terrain.
The only let-down coming from the lack of traction offered by the standard Bridgestone Dueller tyres.
Other questions about off-road suitability were raised when the ESP system went offline following a journey through the wet, although Hill Descent Control (HDC) remained operational.
- ANCAP rating: Not tested.
- Safety features: Dual front and side airbags, ESP, EBD, brake assist, HDC, ABS, active rollover protection, front seatbelt load limiters and pretensioners, Height adjustable front belts, three point seatbelts for all seats.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
- Warranty: Three years or 100,000 kilometres.
- Service costs: Service intervals occur every 10,000km and cost roughly $310 plus consumables.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
- Mitsubishi Challenger ($44,490) – Looks and feels less bulky with a more modern interior. Slightly smaller outside and lacking a seven-seat option in base model specification. ??(see Challenger reviews)
- Nissan Pathfinder ST ($51,490) – A big step up in price, but also a big step up in standard features with a more grunty engine to boot and seven-seat capacity standard. ??(see Pathfinder reviews)
- Holden Captiva 7 SX AWD ($39,490) – Not quite in the same class thanks to a lack of low-range transmission, but as close as you’ll get on price. Certainly more refined on road, but also much smaller, great for in town but lacking true space for seven.?? (see Captiva reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The SsangYong Rexton’s biggest lure, without a doubt is price. Other large heavy-duty off-roaders with similar power and size can’t come close to it on price.
Dynamics and safety equipment are behind the current 4X4 crop, but for mile-eating journeys and rock-hopping off-road forays, the Rexton has a case to state.