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SsangYong Rexton: a bargain with big name benefits

The SsangYong Rexton takes on the SUV market.
The SsangYong Rexton takes on the SUV market.

One of the best reasons to buy a SsangYong Rexton is staring you in the face.
If you want the largest amount of vehicle for the smallest sum of money there’s little else to rival it.

The South Korean SUV is bigger than many London bedsits. It starts at just over £28,000, and you would struggle to buy a bigger car for twice that amount.

The SsangYong Rexton SUV offers plenty of bang for your bucks.

I drove the Ultimate model, which costs just over £40,000 but comes with virtually every extra you could need, and some you probably don’t.

Comfortable leather seats. Automatic transmission. Four wheel drive. Heated seats and heated steering wheel. Electric memory seats. An all-around-view camera system. A 12.3in touchscreen. A power opening boot. The list goes on.

There are plenty of safety features as well. You’ve got a driver attention alert system, lane change and rear cross traffic warnings, and even an alert if the trailer you’re towing is swaying about. It really does want for nothing.

The Rexton takes on its rivals with excellent off-roading capabilities.

Under the bonnet lies a 2.2 litre turbodiesel engine that’s mated to an eight speed automatic gearbox. Headline figures aren’t great – 0-62mph takes a fairly sedentary 11 seconds – but it feels faster than its numbers suggest.

It’s not as smooth or powerful as the 3.0 litre diesels you’ll find in large premium SUVs like the Audi Q7 or BMW X5. It’s not light years away, though, and you have to remember you’re saving £20,000 or more by not going for the German models.

Where it does beat its more expensive rivals is when it comes to off-roading. The Rexton is built to handle the rough stuff. You can switch from two-wheel drive to high or low range four-wheel drive by twisting a dial.

The high seating offers great road visibility.

I’ve driven one off road in the Lake District and it really is impressive. Perhaps only the Land Rover Defender or Discovery could beat it, and even then the Rexton would run its rivals pretty close.

On a firmer surface it’s surprisingly good. I drove my Rexton across Scotland over the course of a weekend. Ride quality can be a touch bouncy but is otherwise good, and refinement is very impressive indeed.

Cruising at 70mph you don’t need to raise your voice to have a conversation or turn up the radio to hear the music.

A confident cruiser on the open road.

The high up driving position has you sitting above even Range Rover drivers and gives you an excellent vantage point. You really do feel like you’re king of the road.

Handling isn’t the Rexton’s strongest suit – it’s enormous and designed for comfort rather than speed. I can’t think why you would buy a SsangYong if you were a boy racer, however, so that’s not really important.

The biggest reason to buy a Rexton is space. There’s no end of it. With the rear seats in place there’s a staggering 820 litre boot. The by-no-means-small BMW X5 only offers 650 litres. Drop the rear seats and there’s a van-like 1977 litres.

The Rexton comes with the option of a seven seat configuration.

I had some furniture to move from a rental flat I own and the Rexton swallowed a couple of chests of drawers with almost laughable ease.

Passengers aren’t short changed either. Five tall adults can sit in the Rexton in complete comfort. Some Rexton models offer a seven seat configuration as well. I’m 6’5” and was able to sit in the back seats with complete comfort.

With the rear seats down, the Rexton provides a staggering 1977 litres of boot space.

SsangYong may be a company that lacks brand recognition, but badge snobbery would be the only reason not to look at one. Reliability certainly shouldn’t be an issue – the company offers an incredible seven-year, 150,000 mile warranty, which even beats the five-year unlimited mileage and seven-year, 100,000 mile warranties offered, respectively, by Kia and Hyundai. The South Koreans certainly are confident their cars won’t break down.

The Rexton has as much space as an Audi Q7 or Land Rover Discovery. It offers perhaps 75% of the comfort and quality of those cars at 50% of the cost. If you need a big car and don’t want to spend big money this is the way to go.

The Facts

Model: SsangYong Rexton Ultimate
Price: £40,900
0-62mph: 11 seconds
Top speed: 117mph
Economy 32.9mpg
CO2 emissions: 225g/km