Estate aims higher
IN APRIL, the SsangYong range was relaunched by the new importer, KoellikerUK and as well as improving the line-up, prices were substantially reduced. The relaunched line-up begins with the Kyron S at £14,995, but for this test we had the big and imposing Rexton 270 SPR. You realise how big the Rexton is as soon as you climb up to get inside — taking advantage of that unusual feature, running boards. Once you are inside and driving, the vehicle at first feels a bit tall and stately, but it goes round corners very well, with a slightly American feel to its controls — very light, slightly woolly steering and brakes that respond well to a light touch on the sensibly wide pedal. All Rextons have four-wheel drive and are powered by a beefy five-cylinder diesel Mercedes-Benz engine.
The 270S is now £19,995 — £2,600 less than it was before. An extra £1,500 brings a Mercedes automatic transmission with T-Tronic control.
If you want manual control, you just knock the selector lever over to the left, with a touch forward or back on the lever to change ratio. I found the five-speed automatic very responsive, though — and with this vigorous and torquey diesel engine I was happy to leave it in automatic most of the time. A winter/summer switch tames the power for slippery surfaces and a switch on the facia gives controlled braking for descending a very steep slope with poor grip.
Of the various models in the SsangYong range, the 270S manual or automatic would be my choice. At £24,995, the top-of-the-range 270SPR doesn’t really offer enough to justify the extra price. A special attraction of the Rexton for some buyers will be its towing potential, claimed to cope with a trailer up to 3.2 metric tonnes.
The seats are upholstered in leather with variable heating — part of the SPR package. Both are equipped with with electric adjustment at front and three memory positions for the driver. The rear seat is divided 60/40 to fold easily on to the cushion and the whole seat can be tipped forward for extra load space.
One thing I particularly liked about this car — when you remove the key, the driving seat rolls back and down, so you can get out (and in again) more easily. This is a very comfortable car, designed for hard work with great power reserves, offering much of the capability of luxury off-roaders, at a much lower price.
Big on comfort: the SsangYong Rexton 270 SPR