SsangYong Rexton

Ultimate

SsangYong Rexton Ultimate, 2023, side
SsangYong Rexton Ultimate, 2023, front
SsangYong Rexton Ultimate, 2023, rear
SsangYong Rexton Ultimate, 2023, interior
SsangYong Rexton Ultimate, 2023, boot

FOR some time, the four-wheel-drive sector has been appealing to buyers who stay firmly and securely attached to the metalled road.

Maybe the occasional foray across a field to watch a gymkhana or a trundle beside a harbour for a spot of yachting. But little more challenging despite their vehicle's undoubted capability.

One SUV which is more likely to attract the serious off-roader rather than the fashionista is the generously proportioned SsangYong Rexton, a butch-looking giant of a vehicle that weighs in at two tonnes-plus.

First introduced 22 years ago, the latest version disguises its bulk to some degree thanks to smart, contemporary styling and a fashionably dominant grille.

Under the skin, the mechanicals are quite conventional with power coming from a four cylinder, turbo diesel engine coupled to an eight speed gearbox with either two or four wheel drive.

No hint of electrification in this South Korean made off-roader. But its 198bhp diesel has ample torque for towing - it has a towing capacity of 3,500kg - and endows it with reasonable on-road performance to keep pace with other traffic, if not exactly leading the sprint away from the lights.

Unsurprisingly for a vehicle measuring 4.85 metres long, there's plenty of space within the cabin which is designed to accommodate seven in three rows of seats.

Luggage room, too, is more than ample with up to 1,806 litres of boot space with seats folded. Even with seven onboard, the area behind the rear seats takes 240 litres of cargo and up to 820 litres with five adults on board.

Passengers step up to enter the cabin through wide opening doors. Seats are big, well padded and hugely comfortable, offering decent support when cornering.

Such value in terms of space and off-road ability inevitably has a debit side. And this reveals itself in normal on-road driving, where the Rexton feels cumbersome and rather sluggish compared with its - albeit more expensive - rivals.

The ride is somewhat unsettled on all but the smoothest roads and there's considerable cornering roll when pressing on around bends. Nevertheless, it behaves predictably and safely although it is somewhat ponderous while visibility from its tall stance is first class. Steering is quite light a somewhat numb feeling.

There's a fair bit of tyre rumble from the big wheels and the gruff diesel is a tad vocal under full throttle. But things quieten down nicely when cruising.

On poor surfaces the four-wheel-drive system delivers equal amounts of power to each wheel allowing progress to be made even through deep mud or snow. A hill descent control looks after steep inclines with ease. It also comes with a low range gearbox for when the going gets really tough.

Economy isn't really the reason for choosing a heavy off-roader, so it was hardly surprising to find the Rexton averaging around the mid to late 20s during our tenure.

In true Korean style, there's oodles of standard equipment on board the Rexton - heated seats that are electrically adjustable, sat nav, LED headlights, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

FAST FACTS

SsangYong Rexton Ultimate

Price: £40,780

Mechanical: 2.2-litre diesel, 4 cyl, 198bhp engine driving 4 wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 114mph

0-62mph: 10.7sec

Combined MPG: 30.1

Insurance Group: 35

C02 emissions: 225g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 7yrs/150,000 miles

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