Ssangyong Rexton Ultimate 2021 UK review


More pleasingly, its torquey 2.2-litre turbodiesel – producing 20bhp more in this updated car – is agreeably unobtrusive until the upper reaches of the rev range, and provides ample grunt off the mark. Poise and pace, you understand, are not what we’re here for, but onward progress is not the clattering, teeth-grinding chore it might be in a similarly powered pick-up truck, for example, and with 33mpg showing after a 40-mile motorway schlep – it is rather less hard on the wallet, too. 

The new gearbox is worthy of merit, too; it changes snappily and sensibly, never lingering too long on the cusp of a ratio – as can so often be a pitfall of these low-end-oriented diesel powertrains. 

The Ssangyong’s plethora of cabin niceties – especially those that come with top-spec Ultimate trim – don’t lend themselves to the ‘hose-down and forget about it’ lifestyle to which this sort of utilitarian SUV is so often subjected, but they do help to give a degree of panache to what is otherwise a car that goes much bigger on practicality than it does prestige. The seats, for example, are of the nappa leather variety (ventilated and electrically adjustable, at that), there’s LED mood lighting and the dashboard padding is gratifyingly soft to the touch. 

Add to that an infotainment offering far more intuitive and capable than a good few mainstream alternatives, and the fact that you could park a Toyota Aygo (lengthways) between each row of seats, and it’s hard to deny the Rexton’s appeal as a wholly usable, and even premium-feeling, family bus. Sure, there are a couple of quirks you might not find on, say, a Toyota Highlander (the controls for the dual-zone climate control seemed to be reversed on our test car, the Bluetooth simply would not play ball and the passenger seat adjustment controls are inexplicably mounted where only the driver could reach them), but nothing that would truly muddy the ownership experience. 

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