IT has an enormous better looking body, it’s a tough towcar, it is good value for money and it resembles a Merc...welcome to the recently refreshed Ssang Yong Rexton W from South Korea which replaces the previous rather dated off-roader writes Bryan Longworth.
Ssang Yong which once had close links with Mercedes-Benz has been importing 4x4 cars into the UK for quite some time and is now owned by an Indian company who are reported to be considering changing their rather unusual name which means double dragons to presumably something with more world wide commercial appeal.
The refresh to the Rexton has resulted in a much better overall vehicle both inside and out although the car still resembles the original Rexton but now has much more showroom appeal and with prices starting at £21,995 it will interest punters who do not want big brand names and just require a large capable 4x4 at a reasonable price that will tow something like a caravan or horse box.
On test was the top model Rexton W EX auto costing £25,995 with a 2.0-litre diesel engine developing 153bhp and a Mercedes-Benz five speed automatic transmission with selectable 4x4 and low ratio gears plus a top speed of 109mph.
Built on a steel ladder chassis with a three tonne towing capacity the seven seater Rexton W is a serious off-roader be it on difficult country terrain muddy fields or even driving through rivers which is why it is so popular with the farming fraternity and caravanners.
The latest generation of the Rexton has exterior styling improvements particularly at the front which have increased its street cred and the interior has a better leather clad ambience making it more appealing.
Considering that the Rexton costs much less than large up market 4x4s from the UK and Germany I felt it had a nice feel about it especially regarding steering and on the road comfort with one passenger who is frequently critical of test cars exclaiming that the Rexton was very comfortable and I agreed with this view.
At the back of the cabin are the two folding rear seats of this seven seater but they are small and suitable only for children or very small adults making the car basically a five seater with a large load area.
Standard kit is very impressive and includes roof rails and side steps which add to the acceptable styling of the car that has an uncanny look of the Mercedes M-Class from certain angles which I noticed when parked next to one in my supermarket car park and of course there is that five year unconditional warranty.
Temperature numerals on the heater display were difficult to see during daytime driving but the feature I found most irritating was the DAB radio which was not very user friendly being difficult to tune on the FM band for my favourite local radio station and it kept changing to national DAB programmes.
Ssang Yong or whatever the company may soon be called has improved the image of their vehicles considerably since first appearing in the UK when their styling and interiors left much to be desired.
The new Rexton is an example of just how much the company has progressed both in quality control and styling and it now offers potential owners in this sector of the market a large 4x4 with pleasant styling and very good off-road potential at a tempting price.
Model: Ssang Yong Rexton W EX.
Engine: 2.0-litre four cylinder diesel
Transmission: Five speed automatic
Top speed: 109mph
Fuel consumption: 36.2mpg combined
CO2 emissions: 206g/km
Price: £25,995 on the road