The Ssangyong Rexton W is the off-road car that shouldn’t be here
Ssangyong have made a mistake with the passenger version
Here’s the package, a full off-road 4x4 with lots of space, seats for the kids, automatic, huge boot, dog cage and dual air-conditioning for €50 odd grand. Sounds good right? Seeing as the Land Cruiser passenger starts at €80k you could save €€€ and still have a car that can do all that.
No, although the kit on the Rexton W sounds the part there’s little else that this can do for the Irish buyer for a start most people in Ireland want to know how much tax they’ll be paying on their latest purchase and there’s no nice way to tell them that it’ll be €1200 a year because the Rexton is in a tax band off the bottom of the scale of Co2 (actually second from the bottom band-F).
The car looks impressive from the outside, the runner boards on the side are actually usable and the whole car sits well on the road. Even the interior looks alright but it's when you get behind the steering wheel that things start to go wrong. You won't be able to see the dials because the wheel is huge and the seat is quite high, the radio is old fashioned but it does have blue tooth, I couldn't hook up my phone to it but it's there, somewhere.
The fuel consumption seems heavy too, there isn’t a read out on the dash where you can see what it’s doing so I have to take it from the gauge and in 175kms I used about a quarter of a tank so between 400 and 600kms from an 80ltr fuel tank isn’t good at all.
On the motorway the ride is good and there’s little or no cabin noise except the engine, there’s only 5 speeds in the auto gearbox and so 120kph makes noisy. On the town roads the ride is choppy and the steering vague so it’s quite hard to drive it in a nice way that doesn’t feel sloppy.
Now some of you might be thinking that it’s a 4x4 and then should be lumpy and agricultural but if you’ve ever driven the competition you’d soon see that something like the VW Amarok drives like a car and with a full five seats it’s around €36k for the manual version and that’s not lumpy at all.
So where does the Rexton W fit in? The answer is it doesn't, Ssangyong Ireland has a fairly decent little car in the Korando because it’s modern enough and now has a decent dashboard but the Rexton is like something from the ‘90’s or it was built with the American market in mind.
As a commercial offering the Rexton isn’t bad, there’s a decent loading area and it’s solid enough, it’ll find a home where a 4WD is needed. The Korando would look good in the right colour and a decent wrap and it’s better to drive.
I don’t think the Rexton should have been put on sale in Ireland because if it’s the only passenger car you drive in the Ssangyong range it might put you off the whole brand but honestly go have a look at the Korando because it’s a decent car.