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First drive: SsangYong Rexton II – on sale now



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Size, price and pulling power – those are the USPs for the SsangYong Rexton II, launched last November.

Given SsangYong’s reputation in the media for producing ugly cars – step forward Rodius – the chunky Rexton is a pleasant surprise: it’s good looking, especially in side profile.

And it’s big – 4,720mm long, 1,870mm wide with a 2,820mm wheelbase that seats up to seven.

That’s longer than Toyota Land Cruiser, Mitsubishi Shogun and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Those models are more expensive, too. Rexton starts at £22,995 for the 2.7-litre diesel seven seat SE, which is at least £2,000 less than its rivals. It’s the cheapest seven seat SUV on the market.

Space-wise, Rexton has plenty of room for five, but gets a bit cramped with seven – the rear two seats also eat into the boot space.

As a five-seater, Rexton slugs it out with the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe. It’s bigger than both, and splits them on price, with Sorento cheapest.

The rather agricultural 2.7-litre diesel (the only option) is less efficient than its rivals, but it is powerful: 163bhp can tow up to 3.5 tonnes. And more than half Rexton buyers – mostly male, mid Forties – tow things.

Rexton’s worst feature is the automatic gearbox. It is slow and jerky, and probably one generation behind Kia and Hyundai, themselves no great example of automatic transmissions.

There are also some interior trim quality niggles around the dashboard dials.

Likes include the sat-nav, which identifies fixed and mobile speed cameras locations (not that we needed it!), rear tinted windows that prevent sun glare (although they also make the interior quite dark) and the exterior design.

Rexton is pleasant enough to drive, with expected levels of body roll. It also comes with a good reputation for off-road ability (untested).

Dealers should sell 1,000 Rexton IIs this year, plus 200 Rexton Is on run-out.

Price: £22,495-26,495
Engines: 2.7-litre 163bhp diesel
Performance: 0-62mph 13.2sec, top speed 111mph
Transmission: Five-speed man/auto
Efficiency: Man: 32.9mpg, 228g/km CO2; Auto: 30mpg, 250g/km CO2
CAP RV 3yr/30k: £10,775 (42%)
Rivals: Kia Sorento/Sedona, Hyundai Santa Fe/Trajet, Mitsubishi Shogun, Nissan Pathfinder

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