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.
* Understated Styling
* Ride Quality
* Feature Loaded
What’s Not So Cool
* Lethargic Gearbox
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