It’s a better design by far
Stylish tweaks and sharp pricing will go down well with buyers on this revitalised model, PETER BARNWELL writes
OPERATING at the edges of the new car market, the revitalised Ssangyong (under new owner Tata Motors) has introduced another “new’’ model at a sharp price.
The large Rexton has been around for yonks and is relatively unchanged, apart from tweaks to styling and the powertrain. The tweaked $39,990 Rexton SX gets a new four-cylinder turbo diesel engine driving through a fivespeed auto with sequential stick shift and gear change buttons on the wheel.
On the outside you can see the link between this one and previous models – but the new vehicle is much better looking.
Now Rexton has a smart, distinctive face and attractive sheet metal all-round. It’s highlighted by alloy roof rails, door courtesy lights, chrome accents, LED rear lights and body-coloured hardware.
Yet the interior is a revised version of the previous model – functional, effective, boring. It’s a seven-seater with a folding third pew with reasonable access from the rear doors.
Upholstery is leather appointed. There’s plenty of kit like climate control, Bluetooth phone and audio, cruise, alloys, side steps, park sensors, hill descent control, headlight levelling system and a multifunction wheel.
Towing capacity is 2.6 tonne with braked trailer.
New and smaller capacity at 2.0-litres is EU5 compliant, a better mouse trap in every way.
The five-speed conventional auto is a Mercedes-Benz design – from when that company had an interest in Ssangyong. It’s the same four-pot engine as in the new Ssangyong Stavic people mover.
It ‘s good for 115kW/360Nm output, which is plenty to push this almost- two tonne large SUV around with purpose.
The engine achieves 7.8 litres/100km fuel economy on the combined cycle – a big improvement over the previous engine. And it’s a better drive too, thanks to prodigious torque from 1500rpm to 2800rpm.
A genuine 4x4, the Rexton boasts selectable 2WD high and 4WD low and high range, available simply by turning a dial on the dash.
UP THE LADDER
The old-school ladder chassis construction has plenty of appeal for hard-headed 4x4 drivers, but it means the Rexton will probably only get a fourstar crash rating instead of five.
It does score a swag of primary safety equipment, including multiple airbags and electronic stability control.
This is where Rexton picks up points on the competition such as Holden’s Captiva 7, Colorado 7 and Isuzu MUX.
It rides on a supple and controlled coil spring system. Not sporty by any stretch, the Rexton sails over rough roads like they weren’t there, keeping the big body in check at the same time.
The new engine is much smoother and quieter than the 2.7, and this adds to the vehicle’s refinement. Roll-on is strong and it has plenty in reserve for all driving conditions.
The auto seems up to the job, accurately selecting ratios to suit conditions.
The 4WD system is easy to use when you go off-road. It has the right suspension, engine, ground clearance and drive system to go almost anywhere.
Rexton makes an argument at the price, and is a better drive than, say, Holden’s Colorado 7.
It costs heaps less too. Seven seats, it’s economical, a strong engine and improved looks.