If your first Rexton experience is in this Ultimate model, you can’t fail to be impressed by the calibre of the interior, which is at its sumptuous best when upholstered in ivory or brown leather, some of it quilted.
The comfortable seats, the diamond-stitched slice of leather upholstering the lower reaches of the dashboard, the generous 10.2in infotainment screen and the sophisticated instruments convey an aura of unexpected luxury, heightened by materials of decent quality.
You sit high up – high enough that the running boards are genuinely useful – with plenty of space. That applies in the rear, too, although those in the third-row of seats will feel confined.
The diesel engine isn’t quiet enough for its diet to be undetectable, but it’s unobtrusive at idle and only sounds taxed towards the upper end of its rev range, a zone rarely reached when the seven-speed automatic is doing the shifting.
This gearbox shifts between ratios slickly enough, but it only has two modes; the misleadingly labelled default Sport mode and a winter shift regime.
This engine and the Rexton’s 2.1-tonne heft produce performance that’s far from electric. It's not slow, but the ease and relative quiet of cruising is more impressive than the acceleration. The zest shortfall is confirmed by an 11.0sec 0-62mph time and 115mph top speed.
If the Ultimate’s official combined fuel consumption of 34.8mpg isn't enough to get you backing off the throttle, another incentive to do so is the car's ride, which is frequently disturbed if the road is anything less than slate-smooth.
Yes, the Rexton has coil-sprung double wishbone front suspension and a multi-link set-up at the rear, but it also has a stout, separate chassis. It’s old-fashioned, providing a reminder of what 4x4s used to be like before they had Waitrose car park pretensions.
You’re quite often jostled, and any urge to tackle tight bends at speed is soon suppressed by the feeling that the car would rather not pursue such antics. The Rexton will get around a bend just fine unless you go mad, the task eased by steering that’s much less slack than you’d experience in old-school body-on-frame off-roaders. Still, alacritous it isn't.
On the other hand, the Rexton is likely to prove decently effective in mud, with impressive ground clearance and approach and departure angles along with selectable four-wheel drive and low ratio. Our scope for testing its robust mettle was limited to some bumpy track adventuring, but the Rexton certainly feels tough, with not a squeak or rattle coming from its structure or furnishings.