Ssangyong Rexton

Rexton lr

By Tim Saunders

Britain’s roads are full of potholes. This depressing and embarrassing situation reminds me of when I used to visit Bulgaria before it joined the EU - it now has many superb roads. Prior to EU membership it was perfectly acceptable for drivers to veer all over the road to avoid damaging their cars. In Britain today if you buy a new family or sportscar it will no doubt be fitted with expensive alloys; they are going to get ruined on our dreadful roads, no matter how careful you are. A cracked alloy can cost £1,000 to repair/replace. The answer? Buy a Ssangyong Rexton. You don’t need to worry then because the chunky tyres swallow up potholes. It’ll feel just as at home on the farm, towing a horse box. I drive it during a heavy downpour when the roads are flooded and I feel safe because it carries on ploughing through the deep puddles while other cars avoid them for fear of conking out. Yes, there’s a lot to be said for driving a 4x4 in today’s Britain when costs continue to rise and nothing is seen in return. Don’t get me started on the greedy water companies and their bosses with their multi-million pound pay packets. Southern Water is planning to recycle sewage effluent into drinking water... 

The prestigious Rexton is massive, much taller than many off roaders, giving the driver a distinct advantage when overtaking on A and B roads; there’s a very good view of the road ahead. There’s the power to safely overtake the cyclist that we find ourselves behind. However, there is a downside to this height and this is that quite a few car parks have an annoying metal bar above the entrance to prevent such tall vehicles from entering and parking. This means that a bit of forward planning is required when making a journey and will often result in roadside parking. No great problem as it has power folding wing mirrors and is substantial enough not to worry about being clipped by other motorists. 

With its large grille and dark finish it doesn’t look dissimilar to one of the large SUVs in former President Trump’s motorcade. I can see the appeal of such a vehicle for Mr Trump. Occupants feel safe, almost infallible. Certainly the Rexton is a very capable vehicle with a good quality finish inside and out. The finish of the alloys is like shiny chrome as you might find on an American SUV. So all in all, this vehicle feels as if it would be quite at home in the States. “I wouldn’t like driving it,” says my wife. “It feels way too wide.” While it does fill our driveway, it doesn’t feel in anyway awkward or clumsy to drive. Despite is mammoth size it is easy to drive thanks to its automatic gearbox and cruise control for longer journeys. There are also paddleshifts either side of the steering wheel should you want a more engaging drive. Should you need to venture off road there’s a dial to select the ‘Part-time Management System’ – this makes me smile - for some reason I start thinking of striking workers…

The information system in the centre of the dashboard incorporates the radio and satellite navigation, which helpfully alerts the driver to where speed cameras are positioned, displaying the speed in km/h. If the vehicle is travelling too fast a red bar appears down the right hand side of the screen…

When driving at night I struggle to find the controls for the headlights and finally discover that they’re on the stalk to the left of the steering wheel. They’re usually on the right.

There are lots of luxuries including nice and comfy black leather and suede seats and a third row meaning that up to seven occupants can be transported. The third row does eat into the boot space but if it is not required the loading capacity is enormous. The children love the size of this vehicle and Henry especially, enjoys sitting at the far back, particularly when he discovers his very own heating controls. The folding second row of seats is quite heavy and could do with being powered to make accessing the third row a bit easier.

This vehicle can be unlocked just by pushing a button on the front door handle as long as the key is on you. It’s the same with opening the boot.

Reversing vehicles the size of the Rexton can be daunting so it is helpful to discover the reversing camera, which helps make light work of this task.

There are plenty of cubby holes and drink bottle holders and the heated/cooled front and rear seats are welcome particularly when I get caught in a nheavy downpour watching my son's football training. The steering wheel is heated and I am pleased to find that the boot lid is powered.

The Rexton fits into the Saunders family with great ease and we like it a lot.

Ssangyong Rexton 2.2-litre turbo diesel
From £37,125
0 to 60mph: 11.2secs
Power: 199bhp
Economy: 35mpg approx.


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