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SsangYong honest value brand with price to entice

07:10 04 September 2014

SsangYong Rexton W is a serious off-roader with seven-seat practicality.

SsangYong Rexton W is a serious off-roader with seven-seat practicality.

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SsangYong is making its name as a value brand with a lot to offer for the money, says motoring editor Andy Russell.

With everybody watching the pennies, my wife and I are not alone choosing supermarkets’ own ‘basic’, ‘value’ products rather than more expensive named brands.

They may not boast trendy, eye-catching packaging, are all the same size or right shape but they taste fine, do the job and, best of all, save us money.

If you are looking for value brands in the car market, SsangYong is at the front of the shelf, also looking to grab your attention with a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty to spice up the product and make it tastier.

The Korean manufacturer has revitalised its range – the Korando sport utility vehicle, Korando Sports pick-up and Turismo seven-seater people-carrier and third-generation Rexton which gains a ‘W’ for ‘worldwide’on the end of its name.

SsangYong Rexton W

Price: SsangYong Rexton W EX auto £25,995 (range from £21,995)

Engine: 1,998cc, 155PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel

Performance: 0-62mph N/A; top speed 109mph

MPG: Urban 28.4; extra urban 42.2; combined 36.2

CO2 emissions: 206g/km

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 35%

Insurance group: 32 (out of 50)

Warranty: Five years, unlimited mileage

Will it fit in the garage? Length 4,755mm; width (excluding door mirrors) 1,900mm; height 1,840mm

It may not have a fancy badge or be the most fashionable 4x4, despite looking much smarter after its facelift, but it’s a proper 4x4 with seven seats, selectable low-range gearing for off-road work, good standard equipment and able to haul a braked trailer up to three tonnes and priced £21,995 to £25,995. Even the top-end price is less than the starting point for some rivals while that kind of money gets you a well used prestige 4x4.

This latest Rexton W is really quite stylish from the front a side but the back end is rather chunky but that tends to be the nature of the 4x4 beast.

SsangYong’s own 155PS 2.0-litre turbo diesel, mated to six-speed manual or a Mercedes-Benz five-speed automatic gearboxes, makes for decent progress. With peak low-down pulling power from 1,500 to 2,800rpm it’s geared to be a workhorse, whether off-road or towing a full-size caravan, double horsebox, boat or trailer – all customers SsangYong is targeting and relevant in this part of the world. The downside is fuel economy and CO2 emissions fall short of some rivals, especially with the five-speed automatic pulling around 2,000rpm at an indicated 60mph, and the engine is gruff when worked hard.

Build on a ladder chassis, where the body sits on the frame rather than being a structural part of it and the traditional approach for proper 4x4s, the Rexton W has a retro feel about the way it drives, reminding me of the first time I drove a long-wheelbase Mitsubishi Shogun – an off-road icon – in the early Nineties. It’s not as sharp as some rivals, with noticeable body sway through corners and the steering needs more a little more input, but you soon get used to it. Anyone who has driven a Nineties 4x4 will feel quite at home and, if you have a caravan or trailer on the back, you are hardly going to be bowling into corners fast.

The ride can be bouncy with some body shimmy over bad surfaces and potholes but the heavy-duty suspension is geared for extreme off-road driving so you have to accept some compromise.

The fascia with big, simple dials and chunky controls also feels dated but works well enough apart from the bit SsangYong did not build – the optional £999 Kenwood touchscreen infotainment system, with satellite navigation and Bluetooth, has lots of small, fiddly buttons and is complicated to use. Rear visibility is hindered by chunky headrests and small rear side windows so you appreciate large mirrors and rear parking sensors on the top model.

There’s quite a climb into the car, but sidesteps help, but there is huge legroom in the middle row of seats. The rear two seats fold up from the boot floor but are best for children as you have to fold down the middle row seat backs and climb over them to get right to the back and, with no footwell, there’s not a lot of legroom.

With all seats in use boot space is limited but drop the rearmost seat backs, taking the big headrests off first, and you have a long, flat load bay although the floor is high.

SX includes cruise control, automatic air-conditioning, electric windows and mirrors, radio/CD with iPod and Bluetooth, front and side airbags, stability control and hill-descent control, roof rails and 16in alloy wheels. SX, also offered in automatic guise, adds 18in alloys, electric driver’s seat, leather upholstery with heated front seats, privacy glass, sunroof, side steps and rear parking sensors.

If value, ability and affordability are your priorities rather than image and innovation SsangYong deserves to be on your shopping list and the Rexton W is really quite likeable given its price.

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Andy Russell

Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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