THE JOY OF REX (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Introductionword count: 64
Want a large SUV that can walk the walk as well as talking the talk? What about one you probably aren't familiar with, SsangYong's Rexton W? If you're secure enough in yourself not to care too much about badge equity and want a large, capable, well equipped seven-seat 4x4 from the 2013 to 2015 era for sensible money, it makes a lot of sense.
Modelsword count: 11
5dr large SUV 4x4 (2.0 diesel [SX, EX, ELX - 4WD])
Historyword count: 382
Increasingly, large luxury SUVs are all about image, all about badge-equity, all about fashion. Or at least most of them are. Here's one that's more practically grounded - SsangYong's Rexton W. Of all this South Korean brand's products, the Rexton is probably the one provoking most familiarity amongst UK buyers. That's because it's been around so long - since 2001 in fact, sold in first generation form until 2006 when a second generation version offered much the same kind of solid, practical proposition. And much the same aging 2.7-litre Mercedes diesel engine, which remained thirsty and smoky even after the Koreans tried to clean it up in 2010, meaning that the car couldn't even be sold here for most of 2013 because the powerplant wasn't Euro 5-compliant. Late in 2013 though, the Rexton returned, this time badged as the 'Rexton W', the end letter a designation for its 'Worldwide' remit, a sales challenge that was certainly helped by the fact that this much improved car was now equipped with the key thing it had always needed - a properly modern efficient diesel engine. This 2.0-litre Euro 5-compatible e-XDi unit was all SsangYong's own, a powerplant that kept the torque and pulling power of its predecessor while adding lower running costs and greater refinement. At the same time, the brand updated this car's interior, smartened the looks and added extra equipment, all part of a package of changes that in the Rexton W, brought us a far more modern, up-to-date product. Of course, the Rexton model line's core values didn't change. So this car still towed better than most of its competitors. It was still better suited than many of them to really rough off roading. And it was still built to out-last you. On paper, it all added up to one of the best value, the most capable and the most practical 7-seat large SUVs on the market. In the 2013 to 2015 period though, SsangYong remained an unfamiliar brand in the UK and buyers were wary, so this Rexton W remains a relatively rare sight on our roads. In early 2016, this car's 2.0-litre e-XDi diesel engine was replaced by a more efficient, more powerful 2.2-litre unit and the car continued on sale badged simply as the 'Rexton'. What You Pay
What You Getword count: 533
This car certainly smartened up its act in Rexton W form. A neater chromed grille framed by projector headlamps gives this SsangYong a much more contemporary look. It certainly isn't one immediately suggestive of a budget brand. Moving down the chunky flanks, there are smart alloy wheels - 18-inchers on plusher versions - and a prominent 'Rexton W' badge before you get to a tail section where the changes over the old model are less obvious. As before, the chunky rear lights, wrap-around glasswork and neat roof spoiler remain. Underneath it all though, is the thing that counts. The kind of tough ladder-framed chassis that all big SUVs used to have before they because all city-slick, bling and ineffectual off road. Yes, it sets this car back behind car-like monocoque-based rivals on-tarmac, but for heavy duty use, there's not much to beat it. And at the wheel? Well a proper off roader should have a properly commanding driving position - as this one does. There's a big, imposing leather-trimmed steering wheel too: this is certainly old-school SUV motoring. But then in some ways that's rather refreshing. SsangYong wasn't trying for the last word in design elegance here, though having said that, efforts were made to smarten up the cabin of this Rexton W, notably with an aluminium-look finish, applied liberally across the centre console featuring LCD read-outs that can be hard to read in direct sunlight. There are a few more soft-touch materials too than previous models featured too, though not enough to detract from the 'built to last' feel. And storage for the paraphernalia of everyday life? Well it's true that the door pockets and the glovebox could be a little bigger but overall, there's plenty of room for your odds and ends - and even a special compartment for your sunglasses. And in the second row? Well for the kind of budget asking figures you'll be paying here, you'd expect something pretty cramped. Instead, what you get is a car that, thanks to a wheelbase some 30mm longer than a Toyota Land Cruiser costing nearly twice as much, offers decent space for two or three folk, even though the seats themselves don't slide or recline. A nice touch that many rival products overlook is the provision of reading lights here that'll be welcome on longer motorway trips. That long wheelbase means there's room for third row seating too, though some original buyers chose to delete the extra chairs from the specification of their cars so as to increase boot space. As with most large SUVs, these rearmost chairs are really only meant for children thanks to the tiny footwell you get. That's due to the high floor necessitated by the four wheel drive underpinnings. And boot space? Well, with all seven seats upright, you'll not be surprised to hear that there isn't that much of it - just 104-litres. Still, that dramatically increases of course when you push these chairs neatly into the floor (though unfortunately, you have to remove the headrests first). With the second row folded too, a very reasonable 1,338-litres of space is opened up - around 35% more room than you'll get with a rival Toyota LandCruiser.
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Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s
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