Home Auto Reviews Auto Review: 2019 SsangYong Rexton Ultimate

Auto Review: 2019 SsangYong Rexton Ultimate

2019 SsangYong Rexton Ultimate

HOW does one describe, or shall we say introduce, an SUV that’s got close to or better specs than a certain high profile Japanese rival that costs nearly $30,000 more? Maybe the 2019 SsangYong Rexton Ultimate doesn’t need it. The value can speak for itself.

The SsangYong what, we hear you say. SsangYong. You remember them. They’ve been here before, with cars like the Musso and Rexton, and the almost unknown Stavic and Korando. They also happen to be Korea’s third or fourth largest car maker.

Last time they visited, or in fact the last two times, it was with other companies doing the distribution, and at some point they skirted bankruptcy too. But this time is different. SsangYong has an Australia after it’s name this time, and they’re here as a factory brand.

Given the brand’s potted history in this country, we climbed behind the wheel of the shiny and all-new Rexton with some pretty low expectations. What followed during our test period was everyone who drove it being blown away by just how good it is.

In our case, the Rexton Ultimate was powered by the 133kW 2.2-litre e-XDi 220 diesel engine, producing 420Nm of torque. The Euro6 compliant power plant is mated to a 7-speed Mercedes-Benz automatic transmission.

There’s also a petrol engined 6-speed available, for those that want one, in the form of the 2.0-litre e-XGDi 200 motor, with the turbo charged offering delivering 165kW of power and 350Nm of torque. It is only available on the base model ELX variant though.

So if you’re keen on the luxury and looks side of the Rexton, it’s diesel or nothing. You might also be led to say, what diesel and what transmission, it really is that quiet inside, thanks to noise suppression, and gear changes are genuinely seamless.

There’s a 3.5-tonne towing capacity for when you want to haul big stuff as well, and it’s loaded with big ground clearance, a proper 4×4 system, ladder frame chassis and a proper transfer case. It’s a serious off-roader, make no mistake.

And for those who want to take it rock hopping or mountain climbing, it’s also got a full sized spare, multi-link rear suspension, and double wishbone up front. Overall, it hits the mark, with Indian parent company Mahindra working hard to built a high quality vehicle.

For the most part, they’ve more than achieved it. The standard specifications for the price are insane, and include autonomous emergency braking, forward collision and lane departure warnings and high beam assist.

There’s also rear park assist, tyre pressure monitoring, blind spot detection, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, heated and ventilated front seats, some very nice 20-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, HID headlights and a power tailgate.

Much like a good Demtel advert (you will have to Google them), there’s still more, including speed-sensitive steering, a 360-degree camera and stainless steel scuff plates. The interior styling is also exceptional.

The seats are super comfortable and feature multi-directional adjustments and settings memory, and there’s plenty of faux wood and soft touch plastics, high quality switches and niceties to make it feel more expensive than it is.

The steering wheel controls are there too, and although they’re a little confusing to pilot they do the job. It’s got Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard as well, along with DAB+ digital audio and a large and very pretty infotainment system and touch screen.

What’s missing is built in SatNav, although it’s coming in October 2019. In the meantime, if you’re happy to mirror your phone, then it’s perfect. Middle row seating is pretty impressive too, with plenty of leg and head room, and only a little sacrifice for the sunroof.

The middle row also has its own lighting, reclining seats, a USB port, a power point (for real, but you’ll need an adapter), adjustable air vents, and wait for it, heated seating. The third row though is probably only kid suitable.

It’s a common problem with larger SUVs, including competitors like the Kia Sorento Platinum and Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander, where styling takes over from practicality. There are airbags everywhere though, with the exception of the third row.

On the outside it looks good, with sculpted lines and strong street appeal. More than once we were asked what it was, and for a quick peek inside by fellow punters. It’s not perfect though, and where it falls down is in the driving experience.

Don’t get us wrong. It’s nice to drive. It does a capable job of handling pretty much every road surface out there. But that’s all. It’s only capable, nothing more. For example, the steering is way too light, particularly in the city. The open road is only marginally better.

Worse still is the Euro-tuned suspension. Think truck like ride and handling. Way too soft. We’re assured a local suspension tune is on its way, courtesy of the boys from Ironman 4×4, but it isn’t here yet, so we can’t judge it from that perspective.

Now, you’re wondering about the price aren’t you. Well let’s start by saying that its competition includes the much dearer, as mentioned previously, Toyota Prado Kakadu, and the softer Hyundai and Kia, and finish with $53,490 drive away (including premium paint).

The 2019 SsangYong Rexton Ultimate is available in Atlantic Blue, Elemental Grey, Fine Silver, Grand White (the colour of our test vehicle), Sabbia Beige and Space Black. It comes with a 7-year warranty, with roadside assist and unlimited kilometres.

Our test vehicle was provided by SsangYong Australia. To find out more about the 2019 SsangYong Rexton Ultimate, contact your local SsangYong dealer.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Driving experience
7
Exterior styling
8
Interior look and feel
8
Technology and connectivity
7.5
Family friendliness
8
Value for money
9
Mark Holgate
A journalist with more than 24 years experience, Mark Holgate has worked with a number of regional, suburban and metropolitan newspapers, as well as stints with motoring specific publications like Which Car? Motorsport News, Auto Action and Street Machine. He is also a contributor to DriveTribe.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Mark.

    A Port fit Sat Nav with Apple and Android Auto will be available from October | Tim MD SsangYong Aust.

    • Hi Tim,
      The below was posted by Matt D, if you are able to answer:
      Tim, MD SsangYong Aust – can you clarify – this article says that there are airbags in the D pillar, so implies that the 3rd row of passengers have curtain airbag protection, and yet the Rexton brochure and the recent CarsGuide review both show and state that 3rd row passengers do NOT get curtain airbag protection. So which is it please?
      And when will the suspension tune be fixed by Ironman4x4? I’m one of the perhaps many people waiting for this fix and for certainty re the 3rd row as I have kids.
      And by the way, none of the current SsangYong crop of salesman know anything about this car, far less than me, they are all just hopeless.

      • Hi Matt,

        Confirmation has come through from SsangYong to confirm that the airbags do not cover the third row (and our story has been corrected accordingly).

        In addition, the local suspension tune should be in production for the Musso in SWB and LWB in the next couple of months. The Rexton remains a work in progress at this stage.

        Hope that helps.

        Cheers,
        Mark (Managing Editor)

  2. Tim, MD SsangYong Aust – can you clarify – this article says that there are airbags in the D pillar, so implies that the 3rd row of passengers have curtain airbag protection, and yet the Rexton brochure and the recent CarsGuide review both show and state that 3rd row passengers do NOT get curtain airbag protection. So which is it please?
    And when will the suspension tune be fixed by Ironman4x4? I’m one of the perhaps many people waiting for this fix and for certainty re the 3rd row as I have kids.
    And by the way, none of the current SsangYong crop of salesman know anything about this car, far less than me, they are all just hopeless.

    • Hi Matt,
      We have posted this as a reply to Tim (above), so he can see it. CarAdvice, like us, were advised their was D-Pillar airbag protection. We will update the article once we’ve confirmed a response from Tim.
      Cheers,
      NewsDesk

  3. When you say Sat Nav in October, and Rexton suspension tune a work in progress, does that mean they both will be able to be retrofitted, or will these come only on new cars in the future?

    Many thanks for your reply
    Cheers Christian

    • Hi Christian,
      We are under the impression this will be on new vehicles, but have reached out to SsangYong for clarification on whether they can be retrofitted.
      Cheers,
      Mark

  4. Mark – any news from SsangYong about this Rexton suspension retune? Brighton SsangYong sales person told me that the Rexon wasn’t going to be tuned, only Musso, is this right? Not just me but I’m sure others would appreciate some sort of communication about this whole suspension re-tune from SsangYong as it has been ages now, almost 2 years, and we have heard absolutely nothing official. Do they want to sell these cars or not?

    • Hi MattD,

      We have contacted SsangYong Australia, with the following response:

      An alternative suspension tune for Rexton is still under review due to the amount of positive feed-back from customers about ride comfort.

      The Musso has locally developed accessory suspension packages for those customers with specific requirements. These are now available to purchase from all authorised SsangYong dealers as follows:
      1. Performance springs and shocks with an increased in ride height
      2. Constant load springs and shocks with an increased in ride height

      The same accessory suspension packages are currently under development for Rexton, and is due mid-2020.

  5. I’ve been waiting for the 2020 model to arrive at my local dealer so I can have a look but if there’s no 3rd row curtain airbag I won’t bother.
    Safety for only half my family is simply not acceptable.

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