REXTON FOR THE BUSH
SUV FOR THE BUYER WHO WANTS A TOUGHER VEHICLE
I HAVE a theory. If the Ssangyong Rexton was just the Rexton it would sell plenty. People like or loathe names… and ‘Ssangyong' just doesn't cut it in Oz.
But if you were making a pragmatic decision on a robust, genuine 4x4 mid-size SUV with seven seats, a torquey diesel engine, auto transmission and a proper ladder chassis, the Rexton should be in contention.
Add to the above selectable 4x4 with high and low range and the argument just became stronger.
It sells for a competitive $39,990 drive away which is on the money when you compare apples with apples but truth be known, there are few comparable, genuine fourbies in the mid-size SUV segment these days.
Most have gone soft and are essentially trumped-up family wagons on stilts. That's what people want but the Rexton is for the buyer who wants a tougher, more utilitarian vehicle.
It's been around largely unchanged physically for a decade or so and still has tangible links with the first Rexton that was a Mercedes-Benz made in Korea.
Nowadays, Rexton has a 2.0litre four-cylinder diesel replacing the 2.7-litre five.
It's the same donk as the new Ssangyong Stavic people mover and is hooked up to the same fivespeed auto.
Plenty of torque comes from this relatively economical engine that's rated at 115kW/360Nm. It's adequate to drive the 1985kg Rexton with some purpose and makes light work of commuting, highway cruising and even towing – up to 2.6 tonnes.
The importers have cut Rexton back to one fully equipped model with leather upholstery, front and rear park sensors, Bluetooth phone and audio, roof rails, LED driving lights, hill descent control and plenty of other kit, but no satnav or reverse camera.
The wheel has multiple functions and cruise control is fitted. Bit of a mixed bag really but good for the money.
Take it off-road and the Rexton shows its true colours, with good ground clearance and a supple ride from the all-coil spring suspension.
Get in a tight spot, mud or sand, and you simply flick it into low range and away you go.
Same applies to towing a boat up a slippery boat ramp – not a problem.
The steering is light which some people like and the Rexton rides high like a real fourbie should.
The third row of seats sticks up into the luggage space a tad but the seat row itself is easy to operate.
We had a good old squiz under the Rexton and it's all truck/light commercial vehicle stuff – built strong and big.
It looks OK too - certainly got better over the years to the point where the latest iteration has a generic SUV appearance about its flanks.
We have been getting about 8.0 litres/100km, sometimes a bit better, which means a long touring range on a tank.
Heaven on a stick if you are bound for the bush.
Ssangyong's Rexton is a great value 4WD.