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SsangYong Rexton Test Drive Review

SsangYong Rexton W Test Drive Review

SsangYong Rexton W – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

SsangYong Rexton Review

Car Tested: 2012 SsangYong Rexton W RX7 XVT

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 26,80,260/-

The SsangYong Rexton benefits from Mercedes-Benz technology and it shows.

Chances are, before Mahindra acquired SsangYong, you wouldn’t have heard much about this Korean automobile company. Founded way back in 1954, SsangYong is one of the oldest Korean vehicle manufacturers, which was owned and run by Daewoo and SAIC at different points of time. After SsangYong ran into financial trouble, it was taken over by Mahindra in 2011 who recently launched the Rexton in the Indian market. The facelifted Rexton W (W for World Class) has reached Indian shores within weeks of its global launch. The SsangYong Rexton uses a lot of tech from Mercedes-Benz, courtesy the technology collaboration SsangYong had with Daimler-Benz in 1991. While the Rexton is one of the most popular models from SsangYong, can Mahindra repeat the same success in the Indian market?

Exteriors – The SsangYong Rexton is in it’s second generation today and was recently given a facelift. The Rexton W has got a sea of changes both inside and out, which give it a very modern touch. While the Rexton certainly doesn’t look as big as its dimensions suggest, the vehicle is extremely long and wide compared to its rivals. At the front, the SsangYong Rexton gets a sloping bonnet with a chrome grille and a large SsangYong badge. The projector headlights offer good throw and the attention to detail is quite impressive, there is ‘Rexton’ engraved inside the headlights too. Indicators are on the bumper right next to the fog lights, rather than being a part of the headlights.

The black cladding runs throughout the lower part of the SsangYong Rexton while the heavily flared wheel arches and side floor board do scream SUV. The mirrors get arrow shaped indicator lights and the B-pillar is blackened out. The silver roof rails on the SsangYong Rexton are both aesthetic and functional (to mount a roof rack) and the use of chrome has been done subtly yet elegantly throughout the vehicle. The Rexton gets chrome lines below the windows and doors. A small roof antenna is mounted at the rear of the vehicle and the wraparound rear windscreen looks good. However the parking lights (both front and rear) are really the most eye catchy part of the Rexton, which get a long stripe with no bulb being visible. They are not LEDs but they do give a good effect.

The 16-inch alloy wheels don’t look big although the tyres are large with 75 profile rubber. There are four parking sensors placed on the rear bumper of the SsangYong Rexton but the best thing we like about the rear are the brake lights, which get 12 LEDs in each unit. A single exhaust is tucked neatly under the rear bumper. The SsangYong name is new to India and thus Mahindra has put badges all across the vehicle. On the front doors, there is the RX270 XVT badging, while on the rear left there is the W badge. The rear has REXTON engaged on the body with ‘by Mahindra’ badging. The SsangYong Rexton does have huge presence on the road, more so because of the mystery it creates amongst the uninitiated. Many people turn around just to see the make of the vehicle.

Interiors – Open the door using the not so modern pull out door handles and you are greeted by dual tone interiors with black and beige combination. The dashboard is relatively small for an SUV of this size but everything feels well together and exudes a plush feeling. The steering wheel is quite big and has a host of buttons, mainly for the audio system and cruise control. Neatly executed black veneer is present both on the steering wheel, centre console and doors. The centre AC vents and the buttons below it are surrounded by chrome lining which looks neat. There is an impressive amount of storage spaces in the cabin, including the front centre arm rest and big bottle holders in various areas of the cabin. A big dead pedal helps keep the left leg relaxed although a couple of nuts remain exposed on it.

The SsangYong Rexton doesn’t feel as big on the inside as the exterior dimensions would make you believe. The leather seats are comfortable and soft but legroom is not this vehicle’s forte. Step inside the second row and there is just adequate legroom with the under-thigh support lacking. The seat is wide though and can seat three comfortably but it lacks sliding function. The last row is strictly for luggage with getting in and out being a tad difficult. The last row seats have no headrests. The third row passengers end up sitting almost on the floor, resulting in a very uncomfortable position, with knees pointing to the roof. All rows offer good headroom even for the tallest of passengers. The Rexton is a very good 5-seater and the supportive seats ensure you will not get tired even after the longest of drives.

The instrument cluster doesn’t go well with the car and looks quite dated, there is no trip computer here which is a surprising omission. The Rexton uses a Kenwood touchscreen audio system and has a remote too but the sensitivity of the screen is low and thus one needs to push it hard. The system has a hot of functions including DVD, USB, Bluetooth and iPod compatibility, there is GPS navigation too which works reasonably well. The telephone system pairs via Bluetooth and connects instantly although reception from microphone on the other side is not the best. Tweeters are placed near the A-pillar and there are speakers even on the boot door, sound quality is good.

All three rows have cabin lights and AC vents, with the last row even having the option of controlling the speed of the fan. The AC works well and chills the cabin in no time. The Rexton has three charging ports for front seat occupants, on the centre console, left side of the centre console and on top of the dashboard, where there is place to keep small items too. The indicators stalks are on the opposite side, the light controls are on the left stalk and wiper controls are on the right stalk. The vehicle also gets automatic headlights and rain sensing wipers. Doors auto lock once you hit 50 km/hr.

The high seating gives the driver a very commanding view of the road ahead. The fully 8-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat has three memory functions. On starting the vehicle, the driver’s seat adjusts itself to make you comfortable, which is a nice touch. A wind chime warning bell keeps ringing until you belt up, or if the door is open. The large mirrors offer good rear visibility and the Rexton doesn’t feel as imposing as its size suggests. The windows are large giving an airy feeling to the passengers. The chrome door handles feel good to operate and the doors are heavy and shut with a resounding thud. They also have puddle lights which work well. The Rexton also gets a fully automatic sunroof.

As the last row is not designed for humans, its best to keep it folded to increase luggage space. The boot is quite big with the last rows folded. A three compartment box is there in the boot which has clip mechanism to lock and unlock it. There are more such storage spaces in the last row, including nets on each side. The boot door has good holding mechanism on either side for closing, along with a pull out rope to shut the boot.

Performance – Powering the SsangYong Rexton is a Mercedes sourced powertrain, which offers different set of outputs in the manual and automatic transmission variants. The 2.7-litre, 5-cylinder unit belts out 162 BHP and 340 Nm in the RX5 manual variant and 184 BHP and 402 Nm in the RX7 automatic variant. Both are mated to 5-speed boxes. Performance is good with linear power delivery fed to all wheels. The Rexton feels reasonably quick reaching 100 km/hr in about 11 seconds. Even though this vehicle tips the scale at over two tonnes, it never feels sluggish and accelerates well. There is a minor lag initially but overall progress is good.

Insert the key in the illuminated ring and you will immediately notice how silent this engine is at idle. However as you start to move, the engine become reasonably audible, creating quite a noise on heavy throttle. NVH levels certainly could have been better. The 5-speed autobox is quite lethargic and doesn’t shift very quickly. The gear stalk is easy to operate though and you simply have to flick a button on the lever in manual mode to change gears. You can also shift manually using the steering mounted buttons. Even in manual mode, the gearbox has a mind of its own, it simply overrides your inputs and the cluster doesn’t even show the change in gear executed by the transmission either.

Driving Dynamics – The SsangYong Rexton is a body on frame SUV and is based on the old generation M-Class. We took the Rexton on rough patches and were extremely pleased with the fantastic ride quality it has to offer. The vehicle can go off-road without a hiccup and has summer and winter modes along with hill descent control. This SUV absorbs bumps in its stride with utmost zest and rarely gets jittery. The Rexton has a massive ground clearance of 252 mm, which makes it easy to drive even on the worst of roads. You don’t drive over speedbreakers, you simply glide over them.

However the high ground clearance and softly sprung suspension doesn’t fare well in the handling department. The Rexton has considerable amount of body roll and the steering lacks feel at high speeds. The steering wheel is very light at low speeds and doesn’t weigh up well enough as speeds build up, thereby feeling a bit disconnected. However the light steering makes maneuvering the Rexton a breeze and the vehicle is very easy to drive. Even though the Rexton has a high centre of gravity, it feels reasonably planted at speed. Braking is good although pedal feel could have been better. The turning radius is pretty impressive too.

Verdict – SsangYong’s foray in the Indian market in the hands of Mahindra seems to be a successful one already. The company sold 121 units, which is a good amount for a brand which was unknown in India till a few years back. While the Rexton doesn’t shine in every department, it shines in most that matter. SUV buyers look for an appealing vehicle which is comfortable and offers good performance, not to mention value for money. The Rexton ticks all these boxes, it’s decently quick, offers a very good ride and is loaded with features at a reasonable price, making this SUV an excellent choice for SUV buyers.

The SsangYong Rexton pleases with quality interiors, loads of features and good ride quality. The value for money pricing by Mahindra makes it very appealing.

What’s Cool

* Understated Styling
* Ride Quality
* Feature Loaded

What’s Not So Cool

* Lethargic Gearbox
* Handling

SsangYong Rexton W Specifications

* Engine: 2696 cc, 5-cylinder, all wheel drive
* Power: 184 BHP @ 4000 RPM
* Torque: 402 Nm @ 1600-3000 RPM
* Transmission: 5-speed automatic
* Top Speed: 194 km/h
* 0-100 km/h: 11 seconds
* Fuel Consumption: 7 km/l (City), 9 km/l (highway)
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: Independent double wishbone with anti-roll bar (Front), 5-link independent (Rear)
* Tyres: 235/75/16 Tubeless Radials
* Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Discs (Rear), ABS, EBD
* Safety: ABS, EBD, ESP, ASR, Front Airbags, Active Roll Over Protection

SsangYong Rexton W Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 4755 mm X 1900 mm X 1840 mm
* Wheelbase: 2835 mm
* Ground clearance: 252 mm
* Turning Radius 5.7-metres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 78-litres
* Gross Weight: 2760 kgs

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{ 23 comments… add one }

  • Ashish December 17, 2012, 5:57 pm

    Mindblowing Pics..You guys rock..

  • akash December 17, 2012, 6:07 pm

    nice to see mahindra launching such a good vehicle, now the next gen xuv will be a whole lot better too

  • Sansiddha Pani December 17, 2012, 8:16 pm

    What you have called “Understated Looks” seems more like a bit boring to me. There is nothing hat really stands out.

    I am actually a fan of understated looks, and thus I hate the XUV’s flash styling. But even an understated car needs to have some panache to it. For example, the Aria is a very understated design, but its front end is really eye catching. Similarly, even the Fortuner doesnt have any flash bits, but that high shoulder line and agressive front end set it apart.

    I cant put anything on the Rexton that is a sort of a USP off the styling. The same rather bland characteristic is shown by the interiors.

    Though in favour of the guys at Ssangyong, I have to say a not very interesting desing like this Rexton is definitely much better than some of the bu** ugly cars they have put on the roads.

    For now, even the decade old Merc genes are still able to carry through the Ssangyong. The question is do Mahindra and Ssangyong have the R&D wherewithal to keep the ball of product development rolling.The decade old Merc genes may be ok in India, but wont really work is most other countries.

    • Faisal Khan December 17, 2012, 8:20 pm

      S Pani, when I saw the Rexton in pictures, I too found it to be boring but out on the road, it does have presence. The Rexton does look big although its not macho like the Fortuner, it looks every inch an SUV. Small tweaks and attention to detail are impressive.

      As far as the future of SsangYong goes, Mahindra really needs to get cracking as the next generation Rexton is due within the next couple of years.

      • Sansiddha Pani December 17, 2012, 9:39 pm

        You mean it has the sort of appeal like the Force One or Endeavour. Basically its USP is sheer size?? The 1.9m width, obviously ensures huge presence just like the Aria.

        Its dimensions will compare to the likes of the Aria/Force One/Endeavour. So obviously it will have presence.

        But still even after the humongous size, I think having something more is good.

  • No One December 17, 2012, 10:47 pm

    Not a fortunar beater in terms of looks goes. Vital for back seat owners i guess

    Self driven owners may prefer the XUV ahead of this ?

  • Gajbar February 10, 2013, 1:09 pm

    i first thought ssangyong wont work but the rexton is pleasesanly good in many ways

  • Avtarsingh March 11, 2013, 12:17 pm

    I have driven this car and must say its worth buying. Rexton might not have the brand name like toyota but when u compare it overall with Fortuner but is has backing of Mahindra known for making SUV’s in India. Rexton is certainly more value for money than Fortuner and that too at very competative price than others in that range. It also comes with much more features than fortuner and cabin is really plush. It gives u all the luxury u need. Dont know whether it will set landmark in the SUV segment like Fortuner,but one thing is certain that it will take a big chunk out of the sales of Fortuner unless Toyota comes out with some thing new and figures shows that Rexton has already dented the sales of other SUV’s in the segment.

    • Faisal Khan March 12, 2013, 12:53 am

      Avtarsingh, bingo. Rexton has a charm which you can find out only after driving it.

  • Unni May 22, 2013, 1:02 pm

    I have purchased the AT (automatic) version (Jan 13) & I must say that I am quite happy with the car so far. last month my bro & me made a round trip to Kerala & the car gave me absolutely no problems. fuel consumption was about 9.7km/lt overall trip (3000 kms). this was of course with the AC on thru the trip with speeds as much as 140kmph. now for some cribbing…. the car was delivered with a very slight pull to the left. a check and rectification by the dealer made it a bit worse! I had to get the problem resolved thru my regular local tyre chap before I went on my long distance trip. apart from that your review is spot on. I have not had any (nasty) surprises with the car so far.
    You din’t mention about the cruise control feature. I found it to be a complete pleasure on the highway, even with our totally crazy truckers & 2-wheelers hogging the right lane.
    I feel I could have got better fuel efficiency if I could have managed to hold on to a constant cruise speed of 120km on auto cruise. sadly thats almost impossible on our highways. The engine is quite audible at speeds above 140kmph. very comfortable on the ride. the recline feature on the second row is a definite plus for sleeping.
    so all in all, its a good deal and I feel gives good value for money. what remains to be seen is how good or how well Mahindra services the vehicle and availability (& cost) of spares. they are trying to make this a elite sort of experience what with making each buyer a member of a “Purple Club”, which brings you some freebies, magazine subscriptions, complimentary mahindra holidays [sadly not membership :-) ] , etc.
    personally I dont really care for all that stuff and can only hope that they attend to the car properly and not experiment with it or use it to train new mechanic recruits, etc. the free pickup and drop facility for servicing is very convenient though. so thats my take on my rexton experience so far. will try & post any significant event as and when it occurs. thanks & regards.

    • GJ September 30, 2013, 3:26 pm

      Unni – How is the service so far From M&M? I read lot of complaints in some of the forums about the lack of trained mechanic etc.. Do you have more info about it?

      • Unni November 25, 2013, 4:26 pm

        Hi GJ, sorry for this huge delay in this reply. if you are still following this forum my first service went off with some reservations. the car was collected and delivered as promised, all work was done as detailed. but they have made some changes in the engine tuning. and they dont know what exactly. I drive my car (no driver) so I know exactly what my normal engine note/feel was and how its different now. post service now, while coming to a stop the engine revs briefly (or continues to rev) and then settles to idle. this behavior started after the car came back from first service. and when I sent it back to them for rectification they cant find anything wrong with the car. I have no idea how to convince anyone in Mahindra service about this change as I am afraid they might make it worse!! if anyone else has had such a experience please tell me how you remedied the issue. This was my worry right from the start about the possibility of insufficient training by Ssangyong engineers to the service providers here. please understand its not a critical issue, the car is still running fine but its still a uncomfortable change and it does not feel right. thats my service experience so far. regards

        • Bipin June 6, 2014, 2:34 pm

          Hi UNNI, Thanks in advance
          I am from Kerala & yet haven’t got a chance to feel this vehicle since I am working abroad. In Kerala I am using a Suzuki Baleno, which I love much because of its engine smoothness, silence , comfort but at the same time worried about its low ground clearance which is an issue while travelling in Kerala, especially in rainy seasons. So I prefer to buy an automatic SUV and interested in Rexton RX7. But I have some apprehensions regarding this vehicle & I think you can help me a lot to take a final decision. I usually travel at a speed 60-80 km/hr, mixed city- highway- village-high range use.
          1) Most reviews highlights engine roar & cabin noise as cons.
          Does it really kill the pleasure?
          Is it much higher than other SUVs?

          2) What about the braking?

          3) About the body roll compared to its rivals?

          4) Quality of materials compared to the rivals?

          5) Some have mentioned about the noise filtering through the sunroof.
          Is it really bothering?

          6) Does the steering so light to lose confidence at higher speed & muddy roads?

          7) How it feel in bumper to bumper traffic situations?

          8) I have used Fortuner, which has no attractions other than its brand image & look.
          What is your opinion?

  • lalit June 23, 2013, 12:14 am

    unni thanks for reviews
    i purchased rexton with lot of apprehensions but m pleasantly surprised,have driven more than 5000 kms in all terrains, handling is extreamly sensitive engine noise is an issue even now,rear seat is a big compromise,have rarely used for long drives,i have done some smart work on exteriors like more chrome over windows, overall good package,any day better than fotruner

    • Faisal Khan June 23, 2013, 1:55 pm

      Lalit, why don’t you share an ownership report with us?

  • Vik June 25, 2013, 12:09 am

    I have test driven the Rexton Rx 7.
    Rexton seems luxurious and refined but the 3 main issues i noticed are
    1) Body roll due to the body on ladder frame construction.
    2) Initial Sluggish pick up .
    3) Noisy engine when you rev it up.

    The things like turning radius , merc engine , build quality are the positives.

    • Faisal Khan June 25, 2013, 1:32 am

      Vik, even the Fortuner has similar negatives.

  • Arup July 16, 2013, 11:57 am

    I own one and bought it after extensively test driving Pajero sports and Fortuner, in terms of VFM and refinement it has none. Looks are subjective but I prefer the smoother non butch lines of Rexton to Fortuner. In terms of interiors its far more classy than its competitors. As per the powertrain is concerned the Mercedes OM612 combined with triptronic tranny is shades ahead of Pajero and Toyota. Not only does it have more power but does it with least noise and drama. It blows the Toyota Fortuner in terms of speed and pick up. Also don’t forget, this is the only vehicle that has electronic diff locs for true grip in slick off road conditions.

    • Faisal Khan July 17, 2013, 12:50 am

      Arup, agreed. No wonder it’s selling well in spite of SsangYong being an unknown entity till a few months back.

  • NiteshM July 17, 2013, 5:02 pm

    People Love fortuner so they dont want to accept a fact that Local company like mahindra did some good things.
    We are living in a world where we fprget Toyota’s Mass recall for Break issue. People Love XUV5OO yet it has some problems, but owners are still happy with the vehicle (atleast 8 out of 10). its a fact that so many dont want to accept mahindra pulled up their socks to kick Toyota Fortuner. I can see lot of Rextons running on roads & that shows people really love this SUV.

    • Faisal Khan July 18, 2013, 12:41 am

      Nitesh, Rexton is a genuinely good car but the XUV needs improvements in certain areas.

  • Sushil Tyagi November 21, 2013, 8:33 pm

    Thanks, was looking to buy SUV , Hence seen all , in 20-25 lacs range , REXTON I found to be best in all among all SUV in 25 lacs segment, however I still worried on after sales service. Heard very negative comments on Mahindra poor service quality, can anyone help share service experience on REXTON service quality.

  • Siamak December 31, 2013, 7:46 pm

    Good design. Comfort , good handling , in my opinion it is the best Korean SUV


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