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SsangYong Rexton

Broadcast dates : 5th June 2005
11th June 2005

At R369 800, the Rexton is priced alongside the aforementioned icons of off-road travel. It does have a low-ratio transfer box for the rough stuff. But superfluous trim items limit its application off the beaten track.

Items such as a rear aerofoil and chrome wheel-arch trims are at odds with the no-nonsense powerplant.

The direct-injection diesel may sport SSangYong engine covers, but its origins are distinctly European.

The fitment of low-slung running boards had us sticking to dirt tracks at the Protea Eco Adventure centre on the West Rand, rather than attempting any serious rock climbing.

The superfluous add-ons negate what is essentially a good level of ground clearance on the Rexton.

The diesel motor provides good lugging power once youíre in the power band, but at Reef altitude it lacks ultimate low-down torque.

As a reasonably economical commuter doubling as an occasional game-park vehicle, the Rexton makes sound seven-seater family sense.

Itís well built, exhibiting no creaks and groans over rough terrain, and thereís a mellow, relaxed aura to the SsangYong.

The low-range transmission works well in rougher terrain and overcomes the flat-spot at low revs. Switching to four-wheel-drive and low range is as easy as flipping a switch on the dashboard.

The suspension is via double wishbones and coils in front, and a live axle on coils at the rear. Hendrik felt both spring and damper rates could do with more resolve.

The SsangYong Rexton certainly has presence despite mix-and-match styling. Thereís much of Mercedes in that radiator grille, while detailing is very middle-American.

A gauge on the dash top features LCD bars that flash faster as speed rises. A compass and altimeter is also included.

Although specifications suggest otherwise, the Rexton is more at home where a street map, rather than a compass, is needed to find your way.

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