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Ssangyong Rexton review: Rex to riches
IF anyone's aware of Ssangyong's existence, it might be for the, ahem, challenging aesthetics of its earlier products. With its latest release though, this underdog Korean brand is aiming to break into the mainstream market, just like compatriots Hyundai and Kia.
The Rexton is a full-size seven-seat sport utility vehicle, and is Ssangyong's flagship. Therefore, it clearly seems to harbour some old-school luxury ambitions.
Clamber aboard and the interior's premium ambience will bowl you over. All the switchgear is well-damped, and you'd think an entire herd of cows was sacrificed to upholster the cabin, as there's supple leather everywhere.
Apart from some hollow-feeling trimmings, the impression of quality is unexpectedly high.
Adding to the luxury feel is the Rexton's roominess. It's a massive car, and that equates to massive space for all passengers; unlike in many seven-seaters, placing adults in the back won't violate the Geneva Convention.
Despite the Rexton's immense bulk, the 222 horsepower turbo engine gives it genuinely brisk acceleration, and it needn't be thrashed to perform.The cabin is also as hushed as any German luxury car's, with nary any tyre, wind nor external noise at anything up to highway speeds. Unfortunately, that's where the luxury traits end.
Unlike most modern SUVs, the Rexton utilises body-on-frame construction, which is more common for pickup trucks. That makes it rugged but brings other compromises.
Occupants sit high, towering over other traffic, but that also means a challenging climb up. The ride is also unsettled, with sharper bumps juddering the undercarriage, though it's not uncomfortable.
Finally, operating the folding seats requires some muscle.
The Rexton has a robust, likeable charm overall, but this big car has a big price: S$188,888 including Certificate Of Entitlement. That buys plenty of space and standard equipment, but most seven-seat rivals are around S$20,000 cheaper. The Rexton may be a bulk purchase, but it's an expensive one.
Ssangyong Rexton 2.0
Engine 1,998cc, in-line four, turbocharged
Power 222hp at 5,500rpm
Torque 350Nm at 4,500rpm
Gearbox Six-speed automatic
Top Speed 185km/h
0-100km/h 12.0 seconds
Fuel efficiency 10.4L/100km
Price S$188,888 including Certificate Of Entitlement
Agent Motorway Ssangyong