Ssangyong Rex­ton

After a long wait, the all new Ssangyong Rex­ton is fi­nally here. Damien O’car­roll gives it the once-over.

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - CONTENTS -

The large Rex­ton SUV had been a main­stay of Korean man­u­fac­turer Ssangyong’s line-up for some time now. So long, in fact, that it was start­ing to show its age in a rather dras­tic fash­ion. But now there is a new one that Ssangyong proudly claims is a seg­ment leader. In­deed, it has even picked up a World Car of the Year nom­i­na­tion to back up that bold claim. And the Rex­ton cer­tainly backs up that claim right off the mark with some hand­somely bold lines that are un­doubt­edly mod­ern, while also re­main­ing com­fort­ingly con­ser­va­tive.none of that Ken Green­ley­de­signed weird­ness here, thank you very much. The Rex­ton is a big, hand­some tra­di­tional SUV that looks bet­ter in the metal than it does in pic­tures and boasts some very nice de­sign de­tails. That said, how­ever, it can look a lit­tle awk­ward from the rear three quar­ter and, while the low door han­dles are func­tion­ally bril­liant, they do look a lit­tle odd. In­side the Rex­ton car­ries on its con­vinc­ingly ma­ture de­sign ap­proach, with a con­ven­tional and el­e­gant in­te­rior that is of an im­pres­sively high qual­ity that is rem­i­nis­cent of the in­te­rior of Hyundai’s luxury Ge­n­e­sis sub-brand. Along with the at­trac­tive de­sign and high qual­ity ma­te­ri­als, the Rex­ton boasts some su­perbly com­fort­able seats and a high level of stan­dard equip­ment. It’s not quite all per­fect, how­ever, and there are still some flimsy plas­tics, al­beit in out of the way places and while the ar­ti­fi­cial leather is nicely soft, it is can still get un­pleas­antly sticky on a hot day. The Rex­ton’s im­pres­sive re­birth con­tin­ues un­der the bon­net, with Ssangyong’s re­vised 2.2-litre in­line four-cylin­der diesel turbo en­gine prov­ing it­self to be smooth and strong when out on the open road. Pro­duc­ing 133kw of power and a very de­cent 420Nm of torque, the en­gine is re­mark­ably quiet, even at idle from the out­side, while the seven-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion is re­mark­ably smooth. Max­i­mum torque is avail­able from 1,600rpm, but un­for­tu­nately very lit­tle hap­pens be­low that mark when you press the throt­tle, mak­ing a des­per­ate lunge for that gap in traf­fic in­ad­vis­able in the Rex­ton, while the smooth trans­mis­sion can oc­ca­sion­ally be a bit slow wit­ted. Out on the road the Rex­ton is im­pres­sively con­trolled and be­trays very lit­tle roll for such a tall, large ve­hi­cle, how­ever, it is here that the cracks start to ap­pear in its oth­er­wise con­vinc­ing pack­age, with a brit­tle, busy qual­ity to the ride that dis­ap­point­ingly doesn’t even out – or even re­duce much – at speed. The Ssangyong Rex­ton is what it is – a big, rugged, ca­pa­ble, tra­di­tional SUV that can tow, go off road and trans­port seven peo­ple and their lug­gage with ease. And as far as that goes, it does it very well in­deed. It is hand­some, very well built and of­fers ex­tremely good value for money. While the en­gine is im­pres­sively smooth and quiet, and the in­te­rior beau­ti­fully put to­gether and supremely com­fort­able, it is the busy edge to the ride at all speeds that stops the Rex­ton from be­ing a truly con­vinc­ing luxury cruiser.

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