Friday, 15 February 2019

Korean off-roader shows its worth

Korean off-roader shows its worth

I CANNOT recall the last time I drove a car made by the South Korean based auto manufacturer, SsangYong.

So I was looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the all-new SsangYong Rexton Ultimate, a big handsome 4x4. The experience did not prove to be a disappointment. Far from it: but more of that later.

First of all it might be instructive to know exactly who SsangYong is. Well, the SsangYong Motor Company is a subsidiary of Indian multinational automotive company Mahindra & Mahindra Limited and the fourth largest South Korea based car maker.

Now you do not need to be a genius to see just where the SsangYong Rexton scores highly in the 4x4 firmament.

It is, of course, all about the money. The bottom line of which is that the Rexton — even the Ultimate, the top of the range version I have been driving — costs no more than £38,495.

This is a factor that consistently gets my vote.

Why pay upwards of double for a large 4x4 with an attractive brand name when you could purchase a perfectly good 4x4 of a similar calibre for half the price?

Well, we all know how that argument pans out. You could tell some folk until you are blue in the face that cars like the SsangYong Rexton are excellent value for money and you need not pay more, but they will ignore you.

I suppose there lies the glory of choice and long may it be so. What is worth noting is that in the industry the Rexton is genuinely noted for its value for money.

Those aficionados at 4x4 Magazine, who after all should know a thing or two about these types of cars, have named the Rexton best value off-roader for 2019 for the second year running.

Alan Kidd, editor of 4x4, said: “The SsangYong Rexton startled a lot of people this time last year by winning the overall title and being named 4x4 of the Year 2018.

“Its exceptional value for money was only one of the reasons for this — as we said at the time, its build quality, equipment and cabin design mean it would be a convincing proposition at a far higher price.”

Having said all that there is a “difference” that you buy into when plumping for a best-value vehicle such as the Rexton.

But I was pleasantly surprised by how this new generation Rexton seems to have got hold of the necessary ingredients for a 4x4 fit for the 21st Century.

It’s all there, the technology, I mean. For a start, 60 years of SsangYong four-wheel drive know-how make this a 4x4 where you would have no qualms about tackling any rough terrain. With a 3.5 tonne towing capability, the Rexton easily takes on towing large caravans and horse trailers. The power department would be undaunted by virtually any challenge: a 2.2 litre turbo diesel engine paired with a six-speed manual or seven-speed Mercedes-Benz automatic transmission.

The interior is trimmed with quilted nappa leather. The advanced infotainment system includes DAB radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and 3D around view monitoring with everything displayed in HD on a 9.2in screen.

The driver’s seat is eight-way power-adjustable, the front passenger seat six-way power-adjustable (ELX & Ultimate), with memory settings for the seat and door mirror positions (Ultimate), and with automatic easy access mode for the driver’s seat (the driver’s seat position automatically adjusts when the door opens).

There are heated seats front and rear, and also ventilated front seats on the Ultimate model, which features auto closing (automatic door-locking when the key is carried away from the car). Featuring
dual-zone fully automated air-conditioning with fine dust filters to all three rows of seats on the ELX (with seven seats) and Ultimate, there’s also a USB connector and 220V inverter available for rear seat passengers.

The headlight units group together LED daytime running lights, high-intensity headlamps for better night vision, LED fog lights and directional indicators.

The rear of the car has LED rear combination side lights, spoiler with high-mounted LED stop light and LED number plates. This car sits high on the road in a commanding position atop 20in alloy wheels.

There was a tad old fashioned feel to the cabin. But actually I did not mind this one bit because the overall asset of owning and driving the SsangYong Rexton would be that it creates its own unique comfort zone and not at a mad price.

One of the car’s attractive features is a seven-year 150,000 mile warranty.


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