2014 SsangYong Rexton Review
Car Tested: 2014 SsangYong Rexton RX6
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 24,12,040/-
The Rexton RX6 is worth a bang for your buck with more equipment and a manual gearbox
It has been two years since Mahindra launched the SsangYong Rexton in the market. The Rexton belongs to a segment where the Toyota Fortuner unabashedly rules the roost and is a tough nut to crack despite a wide range of SUVs present in the segment by many players. Back then, SsangYong was a new name to the Indian audience but now many people are aware of the Korean brand and they are willing to buy something different from the Fortuner. However, the variant lineup of the SsangYong Rexton had limited choice. The RX5 is a basic model that comes with a manual transmission and the RX7 is the range topping model that is offered with an automatic transmission only. To get the best of both worlds, Mahindra is now offering the RX6 variant with the SsangYong Rexton, which is loaded with features, mated to a manual transmission. Let us examine whether it’s feasible or not.
Exteriors – The SsangYong Rexton has that polished styling, which neither makes it look rugged nor too soft, it’s somewhere in-between. It has a confident stance with immense road presence but its modern design language doesn’t make it look as big as it actually is with its extreme dimensions. There are no visual changes on the Rexton RX6 variant apart from the RX6 badging at the rear. The front profile looks imposing with a wide sizeable grille and large projector headlamps featuring day-time running lights. The sharp front bumper accommodates foglights with turn indicators. The side profile has simple and smooth flowing lines with pronounced wheel arches and huge wheels. The rear looks neat with bold Rexton badging and LED tail lamps.
Interiors – With the SsangYong Rexton RX6 you get the control of a manual transmission from the RX5 trim and the comfort and convenience of a well-equipped cabin from the RX7 trim. So the cabin of the RX6 trim is exactly the same, loaded with all the features that come with the range topping variant. However, the RX6 doesn’t get cruise control. The dashboard of the Rexton gets a no nonsense styling with tasteful dual tone theme and minimal use of buttons on the centre console. The steering wheel gets a ‘love it or hate it’ design but we think it grows on you over time and is extremely convenient to use with those big buttons. The Kenwood music system gets a touch-screen display, which is wide enough to use on-the-go. It has got USB, AUX, DVD and Bluetooth connectivity along with Navigation. The system is quite convenient to use and pairs the phone easily without wasting much time. Navigation is fairly accurate and the audio quality is good by OEM standards.
The front seats are wide and extremely comfortable with adequate all-round support. The driver gets electrically adjustable seat with memory function, which is quite flexible to find a suitable driving position. The rear seats are wide and well cushioned with decent leg space for comfortable long journeys. Window line is low so you get ample visibility and along with the sunroof, the interiors of the Rexton never feel claustrophobic. There is an arm rest and AC vents in the middle that adds to the convenience. The last row is best suited for children because the leg space is poor and under thigh support is lacking. Boot space is huge when the third row of seats are folded otherwise it can hold a couple of bags. Other features include auto-headlamps, auto-wipers and rear parking sensors (without camera).
Performance – The SsangYong Rexton is powered by a 2.7-litre, 5-cylinder diesel unit as standard across all variants but in different states of tune. The range-topping RX7 comes with 184 BHP and 402 Nm of torque, while the RX5 and RX6 with manual transmission produce 162 BHP and 340 Nm of torque. This 5-pot engine offers good drivability in the city and out on the highway. The turbolag is negligible and post 1800 RPM, the motor pulls cleanly with a good wave of torque. The oil burner is quite audible though on the inside, otherwise overall NVH is under control and the SUV feels premium while driving. The low and mid-range is strong and the top-end too has some punch to keep the mammoth sized SUV going but it becomes loud at the higher end of the rev range.
Mated to the 2.7-litre diesel engine is a 5-speed manual transmission. The gearbox is quite easy to use with slick shifts but it is tall and sometimes you need to put effort while engaging. That said, in-gear acceleration is impressive and you don’t have to work the gearbox much. First gear accelerates till 40 km/hr, second till 70 km/hr, third till 100 km/hr and fourth till 140 km/hr. The fifth gear is tall and cruising at 100 km/hr keeps the motor calm at around 2000 RPM. There is a shift-on-fly 4WD modes, which makes the Rexton RX6 more capable off-road compared to the automatic version. Expect a real world fuel economy of around 10 km/l.
Driving Dynamics – The SsangYong Rexton is a two tonne SUV and there is a fair amount of body roll to deal with. Otherwise the handling is good considering the weight and size. It responds to steering inputs well but one has to slow down to negotiate with sharp bends. Steering feedback is neutral, it is light at slow speeds and weighs up a little when it gathers speed but remains on the lighter side. Ride quality is decent at slow speeds but once it keeps going, the suspension absorbs most of the undulations and rough surfaces maturely. It has a commanding high speed stability and minimal vertical movement in the cabin. Brakes are effective with linear pedal bite but there is some nose dive with the front being heavy.
Safety – In terms of safety, the Rexton RX6 gets dual front airbags and side airbags, electronic stability program, anti-slip regulation, active rollover protection and hill descent control. The RX5 trim is bare basic which gets none of the aforementioned safety equipment apart from dual front airbags. The additional safety features on the RX6 makes it quite a desirable trim to choose.
Verdict – The SsangYong Rexton is a capable SUV, which makes you stand out of the crowd in this segment. The addition of the RX6 trim, makes the Rexton all the more desirable. The interiors are more comfortable with additional equipment and safety is not compromised, which is a good move. Then there is the manual transmission, which is slick and smooth to operate and at the same time it makes the Rexton more capable off the road compared to the automatic variant. The RX6 also serves to the chauffeur-driven buyers who don’t want to pay the premium of the automatic and enjoy the additional features sitting at the back. The features we miss on the RX6 variant are the rear parking camera for this sizeable SUV and cruise control.
The SsangYong Rexton RX6 has been positioned at a sweet spot for buyers who want all the convenience of the RX7 but with a manual transmission to take control of the gearbox and also enjoy occasional off-roading at a relatively affordable price.
* Long list of features
* Ride Quality
What’s Not So Cool
* No Cruise Control
* No Rear Parking Camera
* Body Roll