SsangYong Rexton W SUV

Price  £22,995 - £28,995

SsangYong Rexton W SUV

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Capable off-road
  • Spacious cabin
  • Very cheap
  • Low-rent interior
  • Expensive road tax
  • Poor driving experience

At a glance

The greenest
2.2 EX 5dr £25,495
The cheapest
2.2 SE 5dr £22,995
Top of the range
2.2 ELX (Auto) 5dr £28,995

"The SsangYong Rexton W is extremely good value, but it’s a way behind the class best in other areas."

The SsangYong Rexton W is a budget SUV. It isn’t really a competent enough an all-rounder to worry more established large 4x4s such as the Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota Land Cruiser or Kia Sorento, but it's better value than just about any other SUV of this size on sale today.

The Rexton W's high ride height, utilitarian nature and rugged diesel engine make it a car that's likely to be used off-road or put to work towing. There's a lot of space inside, too, so it makes sense in certain respects even if it does fall behind competitors in others. A low price tag means you can have a much larger, more practical car for similar money to smaller, more expensive SUVs, too.

It's quite a way behind rivals in most ways, though. The interior in particular looks noticeably dated next to the competition – its fit and finish just isn’t up to today's standards – so the SsangYong feels cheap and flimsy inside. The latest Rexton W is an improvement on the previous model, as a facelift updated it inside and out, but that still wasn’t enough to bring it up to speed with the rest of the class.

The Rexton W isn’t great to drive, either. Though it's quite capable off-road, it's less so on tarmac and the loud and unrefined diesel engine is way off the pace of the smoother, quieter engines available in many rivals. Steering and body control are also quite vague, so the SsangYong tends to roll around in corners and feels rather unpredictable.

On the plus side, it's very well equipped, so you get a lot of for your money. It comes in entry-level SX, mid-range EX and range-topping ELX trim, all of which offer more in the way of equipment than you’ll find in the majority of rivals – and for a lot less money.

MPG, running costs & CO2

2 / 5

The 2.0-litre engine’s running costs are high no matter which gearbox you choose

All Rextons get a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but if you go for EX or ELX specification, you’ll have the option of a Mercedes-sourced five-speed automatic gearbox. However, the 2.0-litre diesel engine’s running costs are high no matter which transmission you choose.

Manual-gearbox versions emit 196g/km of CO2, while the automatics can only manage 206g/km – a long way behind the class best. That makes your annual road tax bill soar, but thankfully fuel economy isn’t too bad for a car like this. Models fitted with the manual gearbox can return 38.2mpg and those with automatic transmission should be capable of 36.2mpg.

Engines, drive & performance

1.2 / 5

The excellent ground clearance makes it a capable off-roader

The SsangYong Rexton W isn’t the best car to drive on the road and is outclassed by competitors such as the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento. An outdated design, poor body control and vague steering makes it a hard car to manoeuvre – even on smooth roads. A tall roof also means considerable lean when going through corners and makes roads with the tiniest bumps and potholes feel like an off-road course.

However, the excellent ground clearance makes it a capable off-roader, whilst there’s less engine noise and vibration in the cabin because it’s more refined than previous models. It's a little noisy on start up, but this soon disappears when the car gets going properly.

Interior & comfort

2.2 / 5

Not other off-road vehicle offers this much room at such a cheap price

Both the SX and EX trims get a decent tally of standard kit, plus aluminium-effect and chrome finishes covering the soft-touch material inside the car. Luxury seats make the EX model stand out further, but it can't match the Hyundai Santa Fe for quality, which sets the standard in this area. That said, the SsangYong Rexton W does feel well built, in an agricultural, utilitarian sort of way.

The ELX trim offers a new beige and grey leather interior (pictured below), a leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel, 18-inch ‘diamond cut’ alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights. Also featured are all-round parking sensors, heated rear seats and Kenwood satellite navigation.

The seven-seat interior can be configured in different ways to suit most needs. The third-row seats are only big enough for children, but there’s enough head and legroom for adults elsewhere in the spacious cabin – and no other off-road vehicle offers this much room at such a low price.

Practicality & boot space

3.4 / 5

A large glove box and plenty of cubbyholes means there is plenty of room

As you’d expect from an SUV, the SsangYong Rexton W has plenty of boot space. It can store 248 litres of luggage, but fold the rear seats down and the 1,338 litres of space that’s freed up rivals even the most spacious estate cars and 4x4s. You do have to remove the annoying headrests to do this and you'll also find the fairly high load lip gets in the way when you’re lifting heavy items into the boot.

A large glovebox, cubbyholes and storage boxes offer plenty of room to keep your items. This car should also be an attractive option for caravanners, because its capable four-wheel-drive system enables it to haul an impressive three tonnes.

Reliability & safety

2.8 / 5

Five-year unlimited mileage warranty should cover you against any manufacturer faults

We don’t know how the SsangYong Rexton W will handle a crash, because it hasn’t been tested independently by Euro NCAP yet, but all models do get front and side airbags. Breakdowns shouldn’t be a concern either, as this is a fairly rugged and reliable car – but be warned that the materials inside could wear down with heavy use over time. We wouldn’t worry too much, though, as SsangYong’s unlimited-mileage warranty covers you against any faults during the first five years.

Price, value for money & options

3.6 / 5

It’s as big as a Toyota Land Cruiser, but its affordable price comes close to that of smaller cars

With prices starting at from just under £22,000, there's no denying the SsangYong Rexton W is very good value for money. It’s as big as a Toyota Land Cruiser, but its affordable price tag comes close to that of smaller cars like the Volkswagen Tiguan and Kia Sportage. That money gets you air-conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, seven seats and keyless entry.

However, look closer and you'll find some cheap cabin fittings that do reflect the budget price, whilst the optional sat nav isn't great. You won’t get much money for the car on the used market after three years, either, but the five-year unlimited mileage warranty should go some way to make up for that.

What the others say

2.5 / 5
based on 3 reviews
2 / 5
"While on the surface it may seem an improvement, it still can’t match newer rivals for sharp driving dynamics. On the plus side it does come loaded with standard kit and is backed by a generous five-year, unlimited mileage warranty."
3 / 5
"Old-fashioned workhorse with a full 3.5-tonne towing capacity, seven seats, lots of torque and antediluvian ride quality. Uncompromising, but quite charming in its way."
2.5 / 5
"The SsangYong Rexton W is cheaper than most of its mainstream rivals but high CO2 emissions, low fuel economy and mediocre predicted residual values mean that the savings made are soon eroded in the daily running of the car."
Last updated 
28 Oct 2015
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