This is Ssangyong’s freshly-revised seven-seat SUV. An SUV we first at the 2016 Paris Motor Show in disguised LIV-2 Concept form. It was a design to showcase the development Ssangyong has made from its LIV-1 concept first shown at the 2013 Seoul Motor Show.
But this Range Rover-rivalling SUV (on size anyway) has a greater remit than to better the cars that went before, which were most notably old fashioned, which is to help build sales for the Korean manufacturer across the globe, with the bosses hoping to shift 10,000 Ssangyong vehicles in the UK and increase global production to 500,000 vehicles a year. It is also the yardstick by which the Rexton-based pick-up aimed at taking on the Ford Rangers, Mitsubishi L200s and Nissan Navaras of the world and the third generation Korando will be measured against.
Can the Rexton shed its woeful past?
The signs are promising. As this latest Rexton puts to bed the previously crude styling of the previous versions, even the last generation still proved uneasy on the eye. But the 2017 Rexton showcases all the design cues that made its smaller siblings, the Tivoli and Tivoli ELX charming, without eroding the big SUV's selling points of being a capable off-roader, built to last and available for relatively little outlay.
However, its not all good news as its squared-off rear haunches still offend the eye as much as the previous generations did, but this is at least a facelift moving very much in the right direction. The interior gets a brush up too; with more standard equipment added, presumably intended to close the gap to the Kia Sorento. Trim levels have been kept simple, with three to choose from - EX, ELX and Ultimate.
Entry-level cars get touches of chrome, skid plates, auto lights and wipers, rear LED lights and 17in alloys as standard on the outside, while inside there is cruise control, rear parking sensors, air conditioning and a 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system complete with smartphone integration, DAB radio, a rear-view camera and Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Upgrade to ELX and the Rexton gains dual-zone climate control, 18in alloy wheels, a Nappa leather upholstery, electrically adjustable front seats, and heated seats all round, alongside a 9.2in touchscreen infotainment system with TomTom sat nav and a 7.0in information display.
The range-topping Ultimate models gives buyers touches of luxury you would only come to expect of more expensive rivals, and even once you have dug through the options list - all for a snip at £37,500. There is a quilted leather upholstery, 20in alloy wheels, ventilated seats, HID headlights, ambient LED interior lighting and a 360-degree camera system as part of the package.