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SsangYong Rexton 2019 review: Ultimate

The Ssangyong Rexton Ultimate is the top of the range and sells for $52,990 drive-away.

When your family has grown beyond two children, to three, four or five, you’ll be looking at seven-seat SUVs, which is where the SsangYong Rexton comes in.

It’s made in Korea but this brand isn’t as well known as the other Korean car companies, Kia and Hyundai.

It sits in a category with other seven-seat SUVs that are all built to go off-road: the Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Pajero and Holden Trailblazer.

I was testing the Rexton Ultimate which is the top of the range and sells for $52,990 drive-away.

The SsangYong experience was completely new for me and I didn’t know what to expect. Here’s how it handled my family of four over seven days of driving.

How does it look?

The SsangYong Rexton doesn’t look like the others in this category from the outside. Careful consideration has gone into shaping the car to be a bit more luxe and a bit less butch and boxy than its counterparts.

  • Consideration has gone into shaping the car to be a bit more luxe and a bit less boxy. Consideration has gone into shaping the car to be a bit more luxe and a bit less boxy.
  • It still has a very bulky, very broad front end. It still has a very bulky, very broad front end.
  •  The SsangYong Rexton doesn’t look like the others in this category from the outside. The SsangYong Rexton doesn’t look like the others in this category from the outside.

It still has a very bulky, very broad front end which shows it means business in the off-road stakes.

The interior in the Rexton Ultimate is better than expected, and by that I mean more 'designed' than its competitors. With quilted stitching accents on the leather seats and dash, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and some accents like faux wooden trim, it’s certainly trying to look more luxurious than the average 4WD you take off-road.

The execution of these elements is not to a high level, though - the leather on the seats is average, though they are comfortable and have heated and cooling options, and the faux wooden trim looks a bit cheap.

Still, overall it’s not too bad and more stylish than its competitors, plus there's a sunroof on this model.

How spacious is it?

In the front there is loads of leg and head space, even with the sunroof. Enough for 185cm passengers to be happy with the room.

  • In the front there is loads of leg and head space, even with the sunroof. In the front there is loads of leg and head space, even with the sunroof.
  • The middle row is large. The middle row is large.
  • The boot, like all seven-seat SUVs, is small when all seven seats are in use, at 295L. The boot, like all seven-seat SUVs, is small when all seven seats are in use, at 295L.

And the middle row is large. My two children aged five and seven were excited to have loads of space to roam around, and I was easily able to sit comfortably.

There was so much room between my knees and the seat in front that taller teenagers and adults will have no trouble fitting in.

If anything, I wish the middle row was able to slide forward because sometimes you might not need all that space and you could give more to the back.

You’ll be able to get a third child seat in the middle depending on your car seats. I did it with two booster seats and a baby capsule.

At 161cm I can just fit in the third row with my knees pointing ahead. Taller teenagers and adults might be uncomfortable over longer journeys but small children will be fine.

The boot, like all seven-seat SUVs, is small when all seven seats are in use, at 295L.

You’ll be able to fit school bags in or a few grocery bags but not much else, which is pretty standard across the category. With only five seats in use, that number goes up to 777L, which is useful.

The back row folds flat and you can fit a double pram, sporting equipment or camping load for a week away, so it really depends how many children you have, and you can always pop one seat down and use the rest as boot space, too.

How easy is it to use every day?

The third row is fairly easy to climb into. Kids will appreciate that part more than the adults though because you do have to climb quite high.

In the third row there are no cupholders but there is a flat shelf on either side and a fan that you can manually operate, which is good because the windows in this row are tiny. There isn't much light in the back row.

The second row gets two cupholders and its own air vents. The second row gets two cupholders and its own air vents.

The second row gets two cupholders and its own air vents, while the front gets two cupholders, a spot to throw keys or a phone, a large centre storage bin and bottle holders in each door.

In the Rexton Ultimate the tailgate is power operated so you can close it with a button on the boot and the front seats are power adjustable.

The car is quite high off the ground which, being a little person, wasn’t that great for me but taller people will love it.

How did it drive?

The overall feeling I had of the SsangYong Rexton Ultimate was that it drives well, but doesn’t feel as solid as some of its competitors. It’s quite a bouncy ride which you get used to, and there’s not much heaviness to the drive which is a hallmark of this category.

It’s quite a bouncy ride. It’s quite a bouncy ride.

There’s a 2.2L turbo-diesel engine, so it’s louder than a petrol engine, but feels good while driving. It gets up hills really quickly and zooms along highways.

What I found odd at first was the steering is quite light - I accidentally turned the wheel further than intended a few times at the beginning of the week, which is a brand new feeling.

There’s a 2.2L turbo-diesel engine. There’s a 2.2L turbo-diesel engine.

But once I adjusted the way I turned, it was actually quite nice to have such an easy feeling on the steering wheel in a large car where the steering can sometimes feel heavy and hard to turn. It made it much easier to park, for example.

There’s a good reversing camera with parking guidelines and also a 360-degree camera which is a great addition into this price range.

How safe is it?

As far as advanced safety goes, this Rexton Ultimate has the lot - rear cross traffic alert, auto emergency braking, lane departure alerts, among other things.

The airbags are good until you get to the back row. So, up front there are airbags for driver and front passenger, and there are side airbags for the front row and the middle row (which is a bonus).

Then there are side curtain airbags that go to the middle row, but not all the way into the back row. They don’t cover enough to protect the passenger’s heads in that row.

So, I wouldn’t feel super comfortable about leaving my children in the back row permanently.

ANCAP hasn't assessed the Rexton for a safety star rating.

What’s the tech like?

Plug in for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and you’ll instantly connect the main apps on your phone to the 8.0-inch touchscreen.

The 8.0-inch touchscreen has Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The 8.0-inch touchscreen has Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

You can use the maps app to navigate and a streaming app like Spotify to listen to music or podcasts. It’s just easy and instant and there is no second guessing yourself about how to work the tech, which is exactly what it should be like.

How much does it cost to own?

The SsangYong Rexton Ultimate costs $52,990 drive-away. Fuel consumption is a claimed 8.3L/100km on the combined cycle.

It’s covered by SsangYong’s seven year/unlimited km warranty. Servicing is required every 12 months or 15,000km.


The Wrap

The SsangYong Rexton was a different driving experience this week. It doesn’t feel as solid as other off-road vehicles and I didn’t take it off-road either, so I can’t speak for that experience. But on the regular suburban route, once you get used to its quirks, it does fine.

It has a spacious interior and fit the family nicely this week. Because of the lack of airbags in the back row I would use the Rexton more as a large five seat SUV with the third row as spare seats only.

I gave it a family rating of 7.5 out of 10, my children gave it a 7.5 as well, they like being so high up on the road.

Would this seven-seater work for your large family? Tell us in the comments below.

Likes

Easy steering
Exterior design

Dislikes

Bouncy drive

Scores

Nedahl:

3.8

The Kids:

3.8

$52,990

Based on new car retail price

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