Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

SsangYong Rexton SUV review

"Although far from cutting-edge, the latest SsangYong Rexton makes the most sense as a no-nonsense family workhorse with a touch of luxury"

Carbuyer Rating

3.3 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.8 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Impressive performance
  • Seven-seat versatility
  • Good value

Cons

  • Poor driving feel
  • Unfamiliar image
  • Unimpressive fuel economy

SsangYong may not exactly be a household name in the UK, but its tough, rugged four-wheel drive SUVs and pickups have slowly earned the brand a loyal following. The Rexton is the South Korean company's large SUV and its maker sees it as offering a good-value alternative to a Kia Sorento or Hyundai Santa Fe, both of which it significantly undercuts on price.

Best large SUVsTop 10 best large SUVs 2024

Value is undeniably the Rexton's strongest suit, as few SUVs can match it for size, equipment or towing ability at the price. Even the entry-level Ventura model has seven seats as standard and can tow up to 3,500kg - the same as a Land Rover Discovery.

Advertisement - Article continues below

SsangYong isn't a manufacturer that has been associated with fashionable, stylish design, but the Rexton is truly a step forward from previous models when it comes to visual appeal. A thorough facelift for 2021 has revamped the nose, adding a huge grille and LED headlamps with a sharper, more upmarket aesthetic. The Rexton looks a little more generic from the rear but it’s still neat enough and also now features more modern LED lighting.

The only let-down is when you look at the car in profile - it would be a much more pleasing view without the awkward bumps that run fore and aft from the front and rear headlamps. They detract from what is otherwise an impressively contemporary look, and have strong hints of Toyota Land Cruiser – a 4x4 which is rather long in the tooth.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Take a seat in the Rexton and the initial impression is of a car that doesn't cut any corners. Thanks to the visual appeal of a leather-clad lower dashboard, the use of woodgrain trim in moderation and a design that isn’t too old-fashioned, the SsangYong has an interior that almost looks too good to be true in the showroom. You quickly realise, though, that many of the interior materials in less visible places are rather more ordinary – it’s apparent where budgets have been reined in.

Advertisement - Article continues below

You wouldn't know it to look at the equipment list, though – all models offer DAB radio, air-conditioning, alloy wheels, a reversing camera, cruise control and automatic headlamps and wipers. Ultimate models add features like Nappa leather upholstery and a powered tailgate for an added dose of luxury. Introduced in autumn 2022, there’s even an Ultimate Plus trim that brings luxuries like quilted Nappa leather, 20-inch alloy wheels and a powered sunroof.

The car is powered by a 199bhp 2.2-litre diesel engine, which is 20bhp more than before the facelift in 2021. The other big news is that the old Mercedes seven-speed automatic gearbox has been replaced with a more modern eight-speed gearbox made by Hyundai. It gives the Rexton more than adequate performance on the road, and it's now more refined and changes gears more smoothly. However, it's the selectable four-wheel drive system and low-ratio mode that really separate it from SUV rivals, along with its very traditional separate-chassis construction that's shared with the SsangYong Musso pickup truck.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

This is either a blessing or a curse, depending on how you intend to use the Rexton. It lends the SsangYong rather dull responses, with overly light steering and a ponderous feel around corners, but body roll isn’t bad and grip is reasonable. The ride is firm around town - something that's due, in part, to the car's significant weight. As a family car that happens to take the form of an SUV, the Rexton falls behind rivals such as the Mitsubishi Outlander and Renault Koleos on the road.

The Rexton finds its true calling in life as a practical workhorse. If bought for heavy-duty family use, it undeniably offers a lot of metal for your money, and is more civilised inside – not to mention more versatile in seven-seat form – than a four-door pick-up like the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger or Isuzu D-Max. It could also be seen as an alternative to a used Land Rover Discovery, or even a Defender, such are its off-road credentials. It's also capable of towing a huge 3,500kg – that's far more than a Skoda Kodiaq can manage.

Unfortunately, the Rexton's sub-par 32.9mpg fuel consumption may eat into the money saved by its low purchase price, and CO2 emissions over 200g/km will put company car users off choosing the SsangYong. However, the Rexton should be fairly durable, and the seven-year/150,000-mile warranty is very generous.

Overall, though impaired by its separate chassis when it comes to driver appeal, the Rexton makes a well-equipped family car, and a very practical alternative to a new pickup or nearly-new SUV. However, its excellent value-for-money decreases as you move up through the range, so the seven-seat Ventura model is our pick.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Porsche Taycan review – one of the best EV driver’s cars
Porsche Taycan UK
In-depth reviews
29 May 2024

Porsche Taycan review – one of the best EV driver’s cars

SEAT Tarraco SUV review – good-value seven-seat SUV
SEAT Tarraco driving
In-depth reviews
24 May 2024

SEAT Tarraco SUV review – good-value seven-seat SUV

New Nissan Qashqai facelift – family-friendly SUV starts from £30,135
2024 Nissan Qashqai front quarter
News
24 May 2024

New Nissan Qashqai facelift – family-friendly SUV starts from £30,135

Renault Scenic review - class-leading range
Renault Scenic UK
In-depth reviews
21 May 2024

Renault Scenic review - class-leading range

Most Popular

New MINI John Cooper Works first look! Petrol and electric hot hatch coming this year
MINI John Cooper Works camo front quarter
News
20 May 2024

New MINI John Cooper Works first look! Petrol and electric hot hatch coming this year

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
24 May 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers

Speed awareness course: what to expect and who’s eligible?
Police car - open boot
Tips and advice
17 May 2024

Speed awareness course: what to expect and who’s eligible?

More on Rexton

Show me:
Top 10 cars with the biggest boots
The cars with the biggest boots
Best cars
12 Apr 2024

Top 10 cars with the biggest boots

If carting cargo is your priority, our top 10 list of the biggest car boots is sure to be of interest, whatever your budget
New SsangYong Rexton SUV launched
2021 SsangYong Rexton
News
10 Mar 2021

New SsangYong Rexton SUV launched

SsangYong’s full-size SUV can tow 3,500kg and is a rival to the Kia Sorento
2019 SsangYong Rexton ICE special edition launched
2019 SsangYong Rexton ICE special edition - Front 3/4 static
News
22 Jul 2019

2019 SsangYong Rexton ICE special edition launched

Special white paint and new alloy wheels for mid-range Rexton trim
Top 3 tough 4x4 SUVs
Tips and advice
9 Aug 2018

Top 3 tough 4x4 SUVs

"Dear Carbuyer, I need a simple four-wheel-drive diesel for the farm, where off-road ability is essential. What can I get for £12,000?"

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024