SsangYong Rexton: bigger, better but yet . . .


What is it?

The 2019 Rexton is an elegant, attractive, and BIG machine.

It’s far better looking inside and out than the previous version, along with the Musso and other models from the company that we’ve seen.

The review version was a diesel, all-wheel drive, low range beastie.

The redesign has it looking more like a “traditional” SUV, with an interior that would not look out of place in a luxurious, members-only club environment.

There is a choice of three models, and petrol or diesel engines.

The petrol is a 2.0 litre with 165kW and 350Nm, and the 2.2 litre oiler produces 133kW and more significant 420Nm of torque.

Go is put to the ground via a Mercedes sourced 7-speed auto and it’s a goodun.

With a dry weight of 2.1 tonnes, the smaller than it looks 4850mm long Rexton claims fuel consumption of 10.4L/100km.

Maximum towing capacity is 3500kg.


What’s it cost?

A driveaway $52,990. Yup, it’s that simple.

There’s diesel, the all-wheel drive system and that includes a low range transfer case too.  

There are seven seats, including a dead simple to use pull strap system for the third row of seats.

There is also a truly good looking interior, bar a section or two of blah-looking plastic wood trim.

The buttons in the centre dash look elegant and are smartly laid out.

The test car was trimmed in a quilted, diamond pattern leather, applied to the seats and parts of the dash.

The name Rexton glows quietly in the door sills at night. A full colour LCD screen provides info for the driver.

This includes different looks for the digital speed readout. An 8.0-inch touchscreen provides the toons — BUT there is no satnav nor is there DAB audio to back up the app streaming services.

A high definition set of cameras provides crystal clear, 360 degree vision, with the car part of the image to get an idea of surroundings.

Super comfy pews are both heated and vented, with three-position memory for the driver’s seat.

The tiller, somewhat too slim for real comfort, is heated and goes to a just right toasty temperature.

Centre row passengers get separate aircon controls, and there is a dial and outlets for the third row as well.

There is also a power socket but it isn’t Australian spec and an adaptor will need to be purchased to use it.

Outside it’s a far more appealing machine than the original.

Think Nissan Pathfinder in terms of size. It stands a whopping 1830mm high with roof rails fitted.

There’s some gentle curvature in the sheetmetal, high intensity discharge headlights with LED daytime runners, and a powered tailgate at the blunt end.

The Ultimate rolls on stylish 20 inch chromed alloys. Although quickly clouded with brake dust they’re easy to clean.

Rubber is also Korean, with Kumho supplying the big footprint 255/50 tyres. These sit between swathes of black urethane body mouldings.

There’s six exterior colours: Grand White, Atlantis Blue, Elemental Grey, Fine Silver, Sabbia Beige, and Space Black.

There is no wanting for safety features either, with auto emergency braking (AEB) standard, as is Forward Collision Warning.

The latter is a little ambitious, throwing up a couple of false positives. Thankfully the Lane Departure Warning isn’t so touchy, nor are the Blind Spot Alert and Lane Change Assist.


What’s it go like?

There’s . . . quite a bit . . . of . . . laaaaaaaaaaaaag from a standing start.

Maximum torque kicks at 1600 rpm and is available from there through to 2600 rpm.

But accessing this torque requires patience or pre-planning. When it arrives, it’s gives a hefty shove back of the wonderfully comfortable seats.

When the engine’s on song, it’s a puller.

Acceleration is decent and it’s not the noisiest thing on the road either.

The transmission is sweet and well ratioed, meaning there are no yawning gaps between the cogs. Changes are swift, smooth, and trouble free.

There is a manual gear change option but it’s via a gear selector mounted toggle switch, not unlike the diabolical unit found in Holden’s Trax.

Ride quality tends towards the firmer side but not uncomfortably so. It’s a ride that doesn’t take long to get used to and there’s a little surprise.

Plant the hoof, hard, and the drive system will happily chirp the rear rubber before the traction control ‘nanny’ steps in.

The nose comes up as torque is sent to the rear, then gently drops again as distribution is sorted out. 

Handling is mostly neutral, as a result. It’s not the most talkative of steering systems but there’s enough for the driver to have some measure of conversation with the front end.

It’s the same with the brakes. With over two thousand kilos to haul, the pedal feel is too soft.

Although driven predominantly in 2WD, high range 4WD was trialled, mainly for extra safety during some Sydney downpours.

Grip levels went up but the downside was an increased turning circle and a lack of willingness to turn.


What we like?

  • Welcome redesign
  • Interior looks fantastic
  • Smooth talking gearbox


What we don’t like?

  • Lack of confidence in the brakes
  • Excessive turbolag for a modern diesel
  • No satnav or DAB radio


The bottom line?

There is real potential for the Rexton.

Up against its better known Korean siblings, it’s well priced, a good looker, and very well specified.

Dynamically it’s not far off its class and the interior really does look a treat.

The uncharacteristic turbo lag is a backstop to the lack of feel in the steering and brakes. Deal with these niggles and the potential to be a real contender goes up sharply.

CHECKOUT: Sing a song of SsangYong, a pocket full of change

CHECKOUT: SsangYong back from the brink


SsangYong Rexton Ultimate, priced at $52,990 driveaway
  • Looks - 7.5/10
  • Performance - 7/10
  • Safety - 9/10
  • Thirst - 8/10
  • Practicality - 7.5/10
  • Comfort - 8.5/10
  • Tech - 7/10
  • Value - 7.5/10

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