From £19,150
Crude by modern standards, and only base models will appeal

Our Verdict

SsangYong Rexton 2003-2013
The Rexton's large chrome grille has an air of 1990s Mercedes about it

The SsangYong Rexton is a big, budget off-roader which feels cheap and crude by modern standards

What is it?

As always, the Rexton is a big, old-fashioned SUV that will appeal to those who would not or could not consider the more refined alternative of a modern ‘soft-roader’.

Ssangyong’s recent relaunch in the UK, with the appointment of a new importer, means the Rexton has also received a specification makeover, with this range-topping SPR version getting comprehensive standard kit and a price that substantially undercuts rivals.

Power still comes from a version of Mercedes’ previous-generation five-cylinder CDI diesel engine, with the SPR getting a standard five-speed autobox and permanent four-wheel drive.

What’s it like?

Very crude by modern standards – although still up to serving as an effective workhorse for those able to accept its compromises.

The Rexton remains a proper off-roader, complete with a pukka four-wheel drive system, decent ground clearance and reasonably effective traction control.

The Merc diesel engine remains the highlight of the dynamic experience, delivering decent urge and driving smoothly via the standard five-speed autobox (the lesser Rexton S is still available with a manual transmission.)

Refinement levels are where the Rexton feels furthest off the pace, both in terms of the road and wind noise that gets into the cabin, but also the constant heaving motions bequeathed by its old-fashioned underpinnings. And while the ride never settles down, the feel-free steering acts to discourage any attempt at enthusiastic progress.

The full-spec Rexton also seems to miss the point of such a value-orientated car, too: electrically adjustable heated seats and automatic windscreen wipers feel slightly out of place in a car like this.

So, should I buy one?

The Rexton SPR undercuts established rivals like the Mitsubishi Shogun and Toyota Land Cruiser D4-D, but it’s hard not to conclude its kitchen-sink specification is missing the point of such a value brand. We reckon whatever interest its old-fashioned proposition excites will be for the more basic models in the range.

Mike Duff

Join the debate


5 June 2008

It looks a bit more rounded and more like the M Class, but circa £25k for what is yesteryear mechanicals etc!!

9 June 2008

Drove one in Thailand and it felt like more like a barge than a SUV and the brakes awful.

28 April 2013

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