By on 2023-12-04 -
Ventura Plus Auto
CAR brands have come and gone over the decades, but there are more new kids on the block than usual, with the likes of Chinese manufacturers such as BYD and the Hyundai premium brand Genesis joining the fray.
Korean models like Hyundai and Kia are now well established, but another Korean brand, SsangYong is not so familiar.
But SsangYong has been around for nearly 70 years and is an SUV and four-wheel drive specialist.
It has a limited range of products, but the Rexton has evolved from a pretty mundane-looking SUV, to something of a seven-seat showstopper and is something of a bargain, starting at £39,500.
For that price you really do get the works with even the all singing and dancing range topper hugely competitive against its rivals at £45,950.
The latest incarnation has features like the floating infotainment system and various safety technologies, while it retains its flexibility in terms of seating and cargo space.
A big plus is interior design upgrades, especially with the illuminated scuff plates and ambient lighting. The range of trim levels also caters to different preferences and needs, from the entry-level Ventura to the luxurious Ultimate Plus.
Its imposing high-off-the-ground stance facilitates its all-wheel drive, which it shares with stablemate pickup, the impressive Musso. It now features a revised huge grille, updated front bumper, slim LED headlights, and fog light design., eye-catching alloys and integrated roof bars.
Slim LED light clusters and dual tailpipes feature to the rear, 18-inch alloy wheels, 12.3-inch full digital console, dual-zone climate control, and an eight-inch touchscreen with smartphone connectivity.
A step up and new for 2023, Ventura Plus driven here adds TomTom navigation, power tailgate, privacy glass, smart key system with window control and selectable four -wheel drive.
Ultimate adds interior mood lighting, stainless steel door finishes, a 3D surround view monitoring camera, and premium Nappa leather upholstery, while Ultimate Plus offers 20-inch alloys, sunroof, driver seat position memory, wireless phone charger, roll-up second window sunshades, and air conditioning throughout all three rows of seats.
The Rexton is a highly practical car with seven seats, although the rearmost pair is more suitable for children or adults on a short journey. If you fold them down, you effectively get a van with massive storage space.
There is a cavernous 1,806 litres of rear boot space with both sets of seats down, 872 litres with the second-row seats up, and 240 litres with all seats up .The double-folding second-row seats make it easy to access the third-row rear seats.
It has a commanding driving position from an electrically adjustable driver's seat and while the layout might not look cutting edge, all controls are intuitive and handily placed.
Dominant on this model is the 12-inch central screen, part of the new floating infotainment system which operates major functions and delivers important information including safety warnings
It looks the part and is a huge road presence. At more than two tonnes, it is not going to be the sharpest handler on the road, more of a luxurious workhorse with its seating capacity, off-road capability and the ability to tow a huge 3.5 tonnes.
Powered by a 2.2-litre 202ps turbo diesel engine, it delivers plenty of power to cope with the above and while there is a distinct clatter at start-up, once underway this fades into the background.
Acceleration is brisk, the smooth shifting eight-speed auto powers the vehicle to 60mph in just over 10 seconds.
The vehicle normally runs in two-wheel-drive mode, and should it ever go offroad, the driver can switch to either high or low gear four-wheel drive, where thetorque from the engine is distributed evenly to the front and rear wheels.
Handling is wallowy on corners and the suspension can feel unsettled on poor roads, but otherwise is comfortable for passengers and is a fine motorway cruiser.
Economy is so-so for the type of vehicle at around 33mpg but this is a heavy seven-seater with four-wheel drive, ideal for the school run, taxi, or running a small business with a vehicle that needs stowage capacity.
SsangYong Rexton Ventura Plus Auto
Mechanical:202ps, 2,157cc, 4-cylinder, turbocharged diesel engine with eight-speed automatic transmission
Max Speed: 114mph
0-62mph: 10.7 seconds
Combined MPG: 33
C02 emissions: 190g/km
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