‘Ultimate’ is a strong word. Nothing beats ultimate.
Tom Scanlan drives the All-new SsangYong Rexton, ultimately its refined, comfortable and very good on and offroad.
So, South Korea’s All-New Ssangyong Rexton Ultimate, their massive top-of-the-range SUV, needs to be pretty special in all departments.
As to sheer size, it’s well up the scale. The few cars that probably match it for seating height are cars such as Range Rover, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer, the big German SUVs and the like. Transit van drivers would be quite at home with it's size, but anyone who has thus far only driven your average SUV might even be a touch overawed by the Rexton’s dimensions.
Not to worry, it is so easy to drive (once anybody without the advantage of long legs has managed to hoist himself or herself aboard), and the Rexton is so well-equipped with surround camera technology that such concerns soon evaporate.
And it is 'SO' quiet. I had to pinch myself to make sure that, yes, it is diesel-powered, not petrol, as I gently cruised along at anything from town-driving speeds to 50 mph dual carriageways. Of course, the engine can be heard when worked hard, or doing 70 mph on the motorway, but it is never intrusive.
The Rexton is powered by a 2.2 diesel with 181 PS and 420 Nm of torque from 1600-2600 rpm. It is not a great traffic-light sprinter, taking nearly twelve seconds to get up to 62 mph, but this was not a particular problem. If you do put your foot down, you do actually hear that engine noise, but, again, on the motorway, life in a Rexton it seems quite contented to drift along. In fact, the loudest thing about this car is the five-tone chime ringing out when you open the door to get into it and the seven-note chime when you shut the door!
I did notice that there were slight disagreements between the speed registered on the speedometer and the speed on the satnav screen: 70 mph on the screen was about 76 mph on the speedo; and 50 mph on the cruise control registered at 46 mph on the screen. Also, the satnav showed the speed limit at 70 mph during a long 50 mph roadworks stretch, whereas the sign recognition was on the dot with its recognitions. The 9-inch screen is more generous than much of the competition.
Fuel consumption, according to the figures displayed in the instrument panel between the speed and rev-counter returns you to reality. In the urban driving that occupied my first few days with the car, the count hovered between 20 and 24 mpg. However, starting with a full tank, at least the range was encouraging at around 325 miles; if your main use of the Rexton includes significant use of motorway and 70 mph dual-carriageways, which in my experience is at around 35 mpg, then you’re talking of a handy 400 or so miles between top-ups. For comparison, the official urban and combined consumptions are 27.1 mpg and 34.0 mpg. The emissions are hefty at 218 g/km.
As with many of the SsangYong range, the All-New Rexton makes for an excellent off-roader and has been awarded for its 4x4 talents. Rexton is equipped with a Mercedes’ smooth 7-Speed E-Tronic automatic gearbox. Via a control knob rear of the gear-lever, you would normally have the car in front-wheel-drive. One turn gets you into four-wheel-drive and a further twist selects low ratio that enables the car to have a go at the worst of off-road conditions. For these, the car’s Hill Descent Control is an invaluable feature.
The Rexton proved to be a very comfortable car to travel in. Amongst its offerings to keep its driver and front passenger contended are a heated steering wheel and heated seats that, in the summer heat (we hope) can be ventilated. The driver’s seat has a memory function for three set positions and an easy access position. Both front seats are electrically-adjustable...of course. The seats are nicely quilted.
The ride was supple and poor road surfaces were dealt with impressively.
The steering was nicely-weighted, light for parking and with good feel at higher speeds. Handling and braking were such that the car felt safe and secure.
You would expect a lot of space in this car, and you get it. The Rexton can be had with either five seats, as in the test car, or seven seats. Passengers in the test car’s rear had plenty of room and the boot also offers good carrying capacity, including a double and adjustable floor. A mystery to me was how to get at the spare wheel...the handbook was not completely specific in its instruction.
The tailgate can be opened electrically from inside or outside and has the usual automatic safety-stop system if something gets in the way while it is in operation.
Quality appears very good and a wide variety of materials makeup, the interior. There’s a lot of leather, from seats to steering wheel; there is a pleasing mix of soft and harder surfaces and a selection of shiny piano black and bling accents.
The car is, however, not just show — it had pretty much the full range of safety features, for example, that aim to prevent accidents. It also has everything that most owners would want in the way of connectivity and infotainment.
All of this means that the Rexton, in its ‘Ultimate’ form, can even challenge the accepted leaders in its category, not only because of what the whole thing is, but because it does it considerably more cheaply. The test Ultimate came out at a mere £39,700 including options, so, the list-price being cunningly below £40,000, you avoid the annual extra £310 duty.
Ultimately, then, in the large SUV segment, the SsangYong Rexton is terrific value-for-money and a brilliant all-round on or off-road vehicle.
Car reviewed: SsangYong Rexton 2.2 Ultimate (Auto) - Base Price On the road £37995 price as tested £39700 0-62mph TBC Top speed 115mph Fuel Economy combined 34.9mpg CO2 emissions 213g/km Engine 2157cc TDCi 4-cylinder EU6 Max Power 181bhp@4000rpm Torque 420Nm@1600rpm Transmission 7-speed automatic with manual mode
Large and spacious interior
Refined and quiet on the road
Very capable offroader
Relatively thirsty, but its a big SUV
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