Why we’re operating it: To search out out whether or not a giant, separate-chassis, part-time all-wheel-drive SUV nonetheless has a spot on this planet
Month three – Month 2 – Month 1 – Specs
Life with a Ssangyong Rexton: Month three
Our automotive is again on the highway and serving to one other automotive comply with go well with – 15th August 2018
After the self-created calamity of reversing the Rexton right into a driveway skip (a brief resident, though that’s hardly an excuse), the large gray beast has eventually returned, its restore delayed not by the problem of getting elements for thus new a mannequin however by insurance coverage forms.
Gratifyingly, the Rexton seems to be none the more serious for its driver’s stupidity, its return coinciding with the necessity to make a few lengthy journeys: one to Cornwall, one other to the Lake District.
It has beforehand achieved such distances with little effort, if with an unsettling urge for food for diesel that has simply dropped properly under 30mpg. Since then, it has managed 31.3mpg (tank slightly than journey pc measured) throughout journeys lengthy and brief, and whereas that’s hardly good for a diesel, it’s much less mood-dampening than digits within the mid-20s.
And you’ll’t escape the truth that this automotive is massive. Beneath you’ll see it in firm with an orange Austin 1300 GT, a latest acquisition present process some refurbishment.
The Austin-Morris 1100/1300 was Britain’s top-selling automotive for one of the best a part of the last decade from 1962, and was successfully an enlarged Mini – and, just like the smaller automotive, it packed a tremendous quantity of passenger area into its total size. Its equal in the present day could be a Ford Focus, itself lots greater than this 1300 however not as dwarfing because the Rexton.
After all, the 2 are barely comparable, however our parking bays and roads are more and more crammed with autos occupying a footprint just like the Ssangyong’s. Nonetheless, the Rexton is a wonderful machine for carrying a heap of instruments, together with the canine kennel-sized, hose-festooned field that allows you to depressurise and reflate the Austin’s Hydrolastic suspension. On the finish of this week, the Rexton shall be carrying the brand new sills and entrance wing additionally wanted, and when the Austin’s bodywork is completed, it is going to be towing the automotive house too. It’s a really helpful car.
And largely stress-free too: the peak of its seating places you relaxed, as does the quiet of its 2.2-litre diesel at a cruise. The Mercedes-sourced automated is to be part-thanked for that, the truth is: its seven speeds make it lots simpler to cover the engine’s larger rev harshness. What this ’field is much less good at doing, nonetheless, is masking the quicksand-like torque gap under 1600 revs.
I’ve now been caught by this a number of instances when making an attempt to dart onto a busy roundabout, both on the transfer or from relaxation. The pause earlier than the turbocharger pumps laborious very often prompts your coronary heart to do the identical. When the surge lastly arrives, you’ll in all probability end up urgently backing off – this the behaviour of 20th-century turbos.
The reply, chances are you’ll be considering, is to not drive the Rexton as if making an attempt to uncover the sports activities factor of its SUV standing, however you do get sudden encouragement from the hydraulic energy steering, which is surprisingly exact and weighted in a manner that’s disappointingly uncommon lately. There’s additionally the truth that, up to some extent, this massive machine factors into corners with extra enthusiasm – comparatively – than you’d count on.
It’s mild years away from an early Discovery, as an example, correctly, however for those who can put up with the big-wheeled patter and thud, it may be made to get alongside slightly extra briskly than its dimensions indicate.
DECENT FRUGALITY The Rexton’s gas consumption is enhancing, rising to 31.3mpg after latest journeys.
INDECENT RIDE The 4×4’s massive wheels bump, thud and thump over most potholes.
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Life with a Ssangyong Rexton: Month 2
Our massive and burly 4×4 picked a combat with the improper opponent – 23rd Might 2018
Confession time: I lately failed to identify a skip whereas reversing.
This was in some methods a shock on the time, as a result of the skip was giant, yellow and crammed previous its rim, making it decidedly seen. It was additionally in my drive, or to at least one facet of it.
Regardless of this, and driver aids that embody a reversing digital camera and parking sensors, I caught the facet of the Ssangyong on the facet of the skip, on the level the place a series is connected for lifting. The consequence was a giant, button-like metal hook canopening the offside rear wing to excruciatingly noisy impact.
What made it worse was the necessity to drive the Rexton ahead once more to launch it from the skip’s grasp, a manoeuvre that pulled one finish of the bumper from its moorings.
The web consequence was harm to the internal and outer rear wing, the bumper, the wheel arch extension and the offside rear door. Not a great second. It was Friday the 13th, however I’m not superstitious – simply too cavalier with reversing in my very own area, and forgetful of the skip.
The Ssangyong is now again with its makers for repairs. It’s missed, not least for its sheer usefulness. It’s stunning how, after you have a car this spacious, you uncover hundreds you may carry that couldn’t simply be carried earlier than… and now can’t as a result of you might have reshaped your wheels.
So, the Rexton wasn’t used for carrying a garden mower for a service, nor amassing some wooden, nor carting a really giant ‘British Leyland’ ex-dealer signal that I plan to hold in my storage. A few of these are jobs it’ll do on its return, simply, as a result of its seats-down load bay is huge.
Filling it is going to be that bit easier as a result of the Final comes with a false ground that gives a flat deck, which is detachable ought to you might have a tall merchandise to hold. If stated tall merchandise can also be lengthy, you may double-fold the rear seat, with the bottom forming a bulkhead and the backrests sitting decrease as a consequence. It’s a helpful, and safer, packaging association that’s uncommon lately.
The Rexton’s inside could also be part-furnished with ivory quilted leather-based, however there’s no query that it could play the beast of (main) burden. It’ll be intriguing to see whether or not filling its cabin smooths the journey. As beforehand talked about, the Rexton’s journey is definitely its weakest level, and it’s lucky that it has many positives to make this value placing up with if these plusses are useful sufficient to you.
Other than the Rexton’s area, these embody its largely clean driveline, beneficiant gear, 2.5-tonne towing capability, high-rise view out, luxuriant atmosphere, vibrant infotainment system, enticing devices (together with message show zone), comfy seats and really respectable requirements of match and end.
One of many much less apparent pleasures is stepping right into a cabin whose look is totally at odds with Ssangyong’s lingering status for bargain-basement automobiles. The inside is something however basement like, and whilst you wouldn’t fairly name the Rexton’s value a cut price, it’s actually good worth and isn’t a automotive to generate the uncomfortable feeling that you’ve merely spent too little.
CABIN AMBIENCE It feels, and is, extra luxurious than you’d count on.
THE ‘BLEEPING’ BLEEPS There are too many welcoming and warning chimes, of which extra element quickly.
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Being distinctive on the roads – ninth Might 2018
This isn’t a attribute that the makers of the Rexton will seemingly take pleasure in, however there’s barely silly pleasure available from driving a car an instance of which you’re unlikely to see coming the opposite manner. That’s partly as a result of this Ssangyong is a brand new mannequin, in fact, but additionally as a result of it’s a distinct segment car. For now, it’s a pleasingly uncommon beast.
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Life with a Ssangyong Rexton: Month 1
After an off-road expertise to overlook, is the SUV actually as powerful because it seems to be? – 25th April 2018
The mud-covered lanes the place I stay have quickly given the Rexton a coat of filth not inappropriate to its rugged structure. I plan to unleash a jet-washer on it quickly, however there’s little level in the mean time. And the dust actually offers a distinction to the Ssangyong’s pristine ivory cabin.
I fairly benefit from the Vary Rover-esque perversity of a car that dunks itself in deepish puddles and drives out once more, though I’m wondering how sensible an ivory inside actually is for those who plan to off-road repeatedly.
Then once more, a severe off-roader will not be daft sufficient to order a color of this hue. And so they’d additionally set up rubber mats slightly than the Rexton’s carpet overmats. In actual fact, it’s not mud that’s leaving traces on the upholstery however blue denims, their dye already tinting the outer edges of the driving force’s seat cushion.
This although I strive to not crush this bolster when getting in, as a result of it’s massively weak to put on given the Rexton’s peak. It may be laborious to keep away from touchdown on it as you climb aboard, although. To take away the blue, I’ll be making an attempt leather-based cleaner on it shortly.
Speaking of off-roading, I indulged in slightly burst whereas the Rexton was on its first photoshoot. It was a really brief incline onto a highway, from a monitor on a patch of grassy land, admittedly sodden with rain. To my amazement, the Ssangyong was unable to climb it in two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive and even low-range four-wheel drive.
Taking a modest run-up additionally failed to supply the momentum to crest this modest financial institution and hit the highway. True, the mud had taken on the feel of a Nigella chocolate cake topping, however I assumed low-range could be sufficient.
The reason for this muddy immobility was virtually actually the tyres. One factor I’ve discovered over years of occasional severe off-roading is that with out the correct rubber, your electro-mechanical shall be struggling.
The tyres on this Rexton are Nexen N Priz RH7, and I assumed that they’d be summer time tyres given this muddy nonperformance. However an inspection of the tyrewall revealed an embossed ‘M+S’, which implies that they’re truly mud and snow tyres – and that they must have finished a little bit of gripping.
Additional off-roading is required to find whether or not this mud was as slippery as moist ground polish and subsequently much less consultant of the friction coefficient of most simple tracks, but it surely’ll be laborious to not be tentative about departing metalled roads in case an embarrassing second of stranding ensues.
Whereas on the muddy theme – and that is the final level linked to the earthy gloop – it’s pleasing to see that the Ssangyong’s engine bay stays clear regardless of the 20in wheels sometimes hitting some massive puddles to splashingly spectacular impact.
Whereas there, I checked the Rexton’s oil and located it barely overfilled, in keeping with the dipstick. Perhaps that’s affecting its gas consumption, further oil making it more durable for the crank to pump pistons. Nonetheless, some higher information on the financial system rating, which is that the journey pc seems to be pessimistic.
As much as 2151 miles, the Rexton has been attaining 31.6mpg, which is barely higher than the 29.7mpg registered final time with the pc alone.
You’re not going to win an financial system marathon with figures like these, however the Rexton has but to finish a extremely lengthy journey, which often yields higher numbers. And it’s, in fact, an undeniably massive and weighty beast.
It’s also a likeable beast, additional publicity doing nothing to decrease the pleasure of travelling in it. It’s largely easy, largely quiet and largely clean, though it’s rather less clean for those who’re using a B-road, the place bumps typically discombobulate the connection between suspension, chassis and physique.
The steering is decently correct and largely untroubled by these forces, reinforcing a relaxed manner that’s pleasing to stay with regardless of such flaws.
INTERIOR COMFORT We’re having fun with the cabin furnishings and the beautiful comfy driver’s seat.
REAR-VIEW CAMERA The Rexton’s quickly turns into sufficiently muck-covered to be of restricted use.
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Rexton is proving an accommodating SUV in additional methods than one – 11th April 2018
The Rexton’s seat heaters did a lot to blunt the chilliness of the latest Beast from the East.
The posh of this suffusing heat, and the complementary heated steering wheel, additionally compensated (barely) for the invention that it’s all too simple to see the journey pc’s estimation of your gas consumption dropping under 30mpg.
I’d hoped that the running-in interval – the Rexton arrived with just below 700 miles on the clock – would possibly enhance the 29.5mpg initially achieved. The Rexton has now finished virtually 2000 miles, and there was a slight achieve to 29.7mpg since, however I’m much less optimistic now.
Nonetheless, these figures are much less stunning when you think about the sizeable frontage the Rexton presents to the wind and the truth that it weighs greater than 2100kg. And you’ll keep watch over the journey pc, and the econometer, from a seat of some consolation, regardless of its stunning lack of a lumbar adjuster.
The Rexton shouldn’t be an particularly speedy machine (62mph arrives in a comparatively leisurely 11.9sec) however that fits its manner, even when the aura of consolation might be rudely interrupted by the results of a damaged highway floor. The suspension and separate chassis are typically jarring of their battle to manage, and if the pothole is massive and also you’re conscious of it, you’ll be circumnavigating the melancholy in query.
The Rexton hasn’t finished any towing but, but it surely has already been used to cart two lawnmowers concurrently – with the automotive’s rear seats nonetheless in place – and it additionally helped with the clear-out of a flat. Our Final model comes with a two-section false ground that eliminates the step between the underfloor and the folded backrests, however you may considerably increase the area by eradicating the sections, and tipping the complete folded rear seat forwards once more.
This additionally has the benefit of offering a low bulkhead behind the entrance seats – extremely fascinating, famous the lawnmower repairman, if you end up carrying giant, bladed instruments which may transfer throughout an emergency cease, or worse.
In addition to mowers and mattresses, the Rexton has additionally carried pals, all of them impressed with each the end of its inside and its area. None has but commented on the typically jumpy journey, however maybe they’re being well mannered. Their observations are often simple to listen to, as a result of the Rexton’s drivetrain is fairly quiet. Its seven gears permit the diesel to spend most of its time spinning beneath 3000rpm, and to attain a restfully subdued cruise on the motorway. Deploying kickdown briefly adjustments all that, the engine roaring with effort, however these moments are temporary, except you’re in an actual hurry.
The hurried may even uncover that the Rexton might be annoyingly gradual off the mark if you’re pulling out of a junction, prompting a deeper sinking of the throttle that may then provoke a gravelly scrabble from the within rear wheel. So it’s not at all times restful, and positively not speedy.
You gained’t be pushing it to the restrict on again roads, both, though some experimentation on a gravel highway induced an amusing little drift, curtailed by the steadiness management system. The Rexton runs in rear-wheel drive, by the way, except you choose all-wheel drive or low vary. So there’s scope for extra severe offroad work.
For the second, although, the Ssangyong is scoring factors for its usefulness, cabin atmosphere and cruise-along character.
ELEVATED VANTAGE POINT The cabin structure is sort of totally an ergonomic delight. Solely the benefit with which the hazard lights button might be knocked on detracts.
FLAT-LINING ECONOMY Gasoline consumption of 29.7mpg doesn’t appear like it’ll enhance a lot now the Rexton is run-in.
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Welcoming the Rexton to our fleet – 28th March 2018
No matter you consider Ssangyong, there’s no denying that the corporate’s new Rexton four-wheel drive is a car of intriguing contrasts.
It has a finely appointed inside full of fashionable electrical tech, but there’s an old-school rotary knob permitting you to modify between rear-wheel drive, four-wheel drive and low vary. It has a slightly 20th-century separate chassis, above which sits a modishly luxurious quilted leather-based inside.
So that is your massive, powerful SUV within the kind that almost all of those beasts used to come back in, underpinned with box-section metal reinforcements that will have been acquainted to Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
South Korean Ssangyong is now properly right into a restoration drive beneath the apparently benevolent wing of Mahindra & Mahindra, racing to meet up with opponents after chapter safety and takeover. It’s additionally aiming to seek out itself a viable area of interest in a crowded automotive world. Moderately than battle the main SUV makers head-on, the Rexton sits in an more and more lonely slot occupied by rugged 4x4s with a separate chassis and the power to tow three.5 tonnes in typically arduous situations.
Except you’re completely happy to drive a crew-cab pick-up truck – certainly, the Rexton shares its foundations with simply such a car, within the form of the brand new Musso – your solely equally constructed options are the ageing Mitsubishi Shogun, the utility Jeep Wrangler, Toyota’s Land Cruiser or the Mercedes G-Class.
However as Ssangyong factors out, there’s a marketplace for a troublesome SUV that may play the mule, and the agency has ambitions to take a slice of it, aided by the truth that this much-improved Rexton offers gear and furnishings which might be totally up to date. So, all variations have autonomous emergency braking, ahead collision warning, lane departure warning and site visitors signal recognition, in addition to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a rear-view digital camera, auto headlights and wipers and at the least eight airbags, for a value that begins at £27,995.
That will get you the EX trim; there’s additionally an ELX model, however we now have greedily gone for the Final, in no small half as a result of it offers one of many Rexton’s largest visible surprises. Which is a part-quilted, nappa leather-based inside redolent of a Bentley’s. After all, shut inspection quickly reveals why a Bentley cabin prices a lot extra – not as a result of the Rexton’s is poorly completed, however as a result of Bentley goes a lot additional with element like knurled metallic gearlever knobs. Sit aboard the Rexton, although, and also you’ll be having fun with a decently premium expertise, if not a super-luxury one.
And the Final actually comes laden with package. The entrance seats are ventilated in addition to heated, the rear seats and steering wheel are heated, there’s an around-view monitor, an influence tailgate, 20in alloys (in gangsta chrome end), a detachable false ground, a sizeable 9.2in infotainment display, a driver’s knee airbag and, unusually, a 220V energy provide – simply the job for charging laptops and energy instruments.
The Rexton’s engine is similar no matter trim, its 2.2-litre turbodiesel mustering 179bhp and a extra promising 310lb ft of tugging energy between 1600 and 2600rpm. The Rexton Final comes with automated transmission as normal, a seven-speed Mercedes E-Tronic gearbox (Ssangyong has a protracted affiliation with Daimler). The cheaper variations can be found with a six-speed handbook.
The Final additionally comes as a five-seater, however seven-seat Rextons are additionally out there. If the seven-seat possibility implies loads of area, properly, there may be – the five-seater offering 820 litres seats-up, or 1977 litres seats down. That may’t be far off the capability of many a backyard shed.
Such usefulness I plan to place to good use, together with the non-obligatory tow-hook, through the use of the Rexton to move assorted non-running traditional automobiles about and, within the case of a dismantled 1968 Alfa Romeo GTV presently present process a physique restoration, a load of elements too. With that three.5-tonne towing capability, it must be a breeze.
And to this point, so resides with the Rexton. Whenever you climb into its cabin, your resultant peak reminds you that each one these new crossovers and SUVs don’t journey as revealingly excessive. New vistas are opened up on acquainted journeys as a result of you may see over hedges, and sometimes lots additional up the highway too. You journey on the similar regal peak as you do in a Vary Rover, and it’s very nice. That very same peak slightly underlines the Rexton’s extra restricted on-road dynamic potential, though the steering is fast sufficient and furnished with unusually good really feel, the help being hydraulic slightly than electrical. So it’s a bit extra wieldy than separate-chassis SUVs was, however unsurprisingly properly adrift of the athletic scope of a BMW X5.
It’s not that sort of automotive, in fact. Nevertheless it presents properly, if you will get previous the slightly bizarre sculpture of the entrance wings – and the match, end and robustness of our automotive are good. No rattles have been detected and, aside from a footling distinction in panel hole between one facet of the tailgate and the opposite, it’s a well-finished car (automotive isn’t fairly the phrase for this beast) each inside and outside.
The following six months will inform us whether or not the Rexton’s now fairly uncommon assortment of trade-offs works, whether or not its habitable with each day and the way good a tow it could muster. And we’ll be having fun with the voyage aboard a pleasingly upholstered cabin.
This seems to be fascinating as a cut-price Discovery. It’s outfitted for off-roading, has a great deal of area and comes with loads of toys. Given the five-year guarantee and uncertainty round residuals, patrons could be temped to get a less expensive one-year-old model with 4 years of assure left.
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Ssangyong Rexton specification
Specs: Value New £37,995; Value as examined: £40,150; Choices: Metallic paint £600, towbar and electrics £805, spare wheel package £750
Check Knowledge: Engine 4cyl, 2157cc, turbocharged diesel; Energy 179bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 310lb ft at 1600-2100rpm; High velocity 115mph; Zero-62mph 11.9sec; Claimed gas financial system 34.8mpg;Check gas financial system 29.5mpg; CO2 218g/km; Faults None; Bills None
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