SsangYong’s biggest SUV has returned to the UK market this year after a nine-month hiatus in 2013 owing to the absence of a Euro V-compliant engine.
Now branded the Rexton W, facelifted lights and grilles sharpen the looks of this square-jawed bruiser that stays loyal to its proper 4x4 roots and shuns the trend for soft-roaders.
It uses a new in-house engine and still purports to offer all the utility of a Toyota Land Cruiser and the space of a Mercedes GL for not much more than £20,000.
The Rexton W is a lot of car for the money. The range starts at £21,995, which gives buyers seven seats, all-wheel drive with locking differentials, and a 153bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine. It will also pull a three-tonne horsebox or caravan, crucial for its cost-conscious, middle-aged, middle-class target market.
For £25,995, SsangYong dealers can get a buyer into the range-topping Rexton W EX. That brings a five-speed automatic gearbox, electrically adjustable leather seats, keyless entry, parking sensors, 18in wheels, and cruise control, plus a five-year warranty. The sheer amount of metal makes it a bargain – the extra kit of the EX verges on philanthropic. The few options that might interest the customer include metallic paint, sat-nav and a towbar.
This car sits in VED band K, so buyers will have to pay £285 for annual road tax. Its average fuel economy is 36.2mpg. Both figures compared favourably with a Land Rover Discovery SDV6, although the much more expensive and prestigious Discovery understandably thrashes the Rexton W for refinement.
SsangYong’s pitch is that this 4x4 fills the hole left by the current Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe, both of which have shunned optimum off-road and towing ability for more car-like efficiency, and risen in price significantly. The Rexton W’s sales target is modest – some 300 units this year.
SsangYong is currently promoting the Rexton W on a three-year 6.9% PCP offer, which means customers can get into it for a £5,058 deposit and £299 per month. The range-topping EX auto costs £6,919 deposit and £349 per month.
What’s been said about the Ssangyong Rexton W
If value for money is your main concern, the Rexton W is worth considering. It offers proper off-road ability, space, a comfortable, high driving position and a long kit list for less money than its rivals. On the road, however, the Rexton W is lagging behind, and it can’t compete in terms of safety kit, fuel economy or CO2 emissions.
What sets this particular off-roader apart from many of the opposition is the fact that the selectable 4x4 transmission comes with a low range that splits the power between the front and rear axles to haul the W clear of the tricky stuff.
On a horrible, slimy, off-road course the big, 2.1-ton Rexton W was in low-range gear, cross-axling, wading, groaning and clambering its way through and over anything that stood before it, all at barely above tickover speeds on the four-pot diesel.