Rexton seven seater has a touch of class
SsangYong is still not a motoring household name in the UK, despite having been around for nearly 70 years.
An SUV and four-wheel drive specialist, it has a limited range of products, but the Rexton has evolved from a pretty mundane-looking SUV, to something of a seven-seat showstopper.
It is also something of a bargain, starting at £39,500. For that price you really do get the works with even the all singing and dancing range topper hugely competitive against its rivals at £45,950.
The latest incarnation has features like the floating infotainment system and various safety technologies, while it retains its flexibility in terms of seating and cargo space – plus all wheel drive.
A big plus is interior design upgrades, especially with the illuminated scuff plates and ambient lighting. Trim levels range from the entry-level Ventura to the luxurious Ultimate Plus.
Its imposing high-off-the-ground stance facilitates its all-wheel drive, which it shares with stablemate pickup, the impressive Musso.
The exterior now features a revised huge grille, updated front bumper, slim LED headlights, and fog light design, eye-catching alloys and integrated roof bars.
Slim LED light clusters and dual tailpipes feature to the rear.
Equipment on the entry level Ventura include18-inch alloy wheels, 12.3-inch full digital console, dual-zone climate control, and an eight-inch touchscreen with smartphone connectivity.
A step up and new for 2023, Ventura Plus adds TomTom navigation, power tailgate, privacy glass, Ultimate adds interior mood lighting, stainless steel door finishes, a 3D surround view monitoring camera, and premium Nappa leather upholstery, while Ultimate Plus offers 20-inch alloys, sunroof, driver seat position memory, wireless phone charge and air conditioning throughout all three rows of seats.
The Rexton is a highly practical car with seven seats, although the rearmost pair is more suitable for children or adults on a short journey.
The great thing is if you fold them down, you effectively get a van with massive storage space.
There is a cavernous 1,806 litres of rear boot space with both sets of seats down, 872 litres with the second-row seats up, and 240 litres with all seats up.The double-folding second-row seats make it easy to access the third-row rear seats.
It has a commanding driving position from an electrically adjustable driver’s seat and while the layout might not look cutting edge, all controls are intuitive and handily placed.
Dominant on this model is the 12-inch central screen, part of the new floating infotainment system which operates major functions.
It looks the part, and is a huge road presence. At more than two tonnes, it is not going to be the sharpest handler on the road, more of a luxurious workhorse with its seating capacity, off-road capability and the ability to tow a huge 3.5 tonnes.
Powered by a 2.2 litre 202PS turbo diesel engine, it delivers plenty of power to cope with the above and while there is distinct clatter at start- up, once underway this fades into the background.
Acceleration is brisk, the smooth shifting eight-speed auto powers the vehicle to 60mph in just over 10 seconds.
The vehicle normally runs in two-wheel-drive mode, and should it ever go offroad, the driver can switch to either high or low gear four-wheel drive.
Handling is wallowy on corners and the suspension can feel unsettled on poor roads, but otherwise is comfortable for passengers and is a fine motorway cruiser.
Economy is so-so for the type of vehicle at around 33mpg but this vehicle is ideal for the school run, a taxi, or running a business with a vehicle that needs stowage capacity.
Safety features are comprehensive and include nine airbags, autonomous emergency braking, safety distance warning, lane departure warning and trailer sway control.
While £40k-ish seems a lot for a vehicle against its competitors this is real value for money and offers proven technology. It also looks good.
SsangYong Rexton Ventura Plus Auto
Mechanical: 163ps, 2157cc, 4-cylinder, turbocharged diesel engine with eight-speed automatic transmission
Max speed: 114mph
0-62mph: 10.7 seconds
Combined MPG: 33
Insurance group: 34-35
C02 emissions: 190g/km
Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles