We’ll review that when it arrives later this year, but apart from its new infotainment display and higher price, much remains the same.
So for those looking at the 2023 SsangYong Rexton - or even the 2024 - is its low price-point enough to lure you in? Let’s talk about that!
How much does the SsangYong Rexton Ultimate cost?
The SsangYong Rexton range is refreshingly small, with just 2 grades:
Rexton ELX - $48,990 AUD
Rexton Ultimate - $55,990 AUD
Note, prices listed are drive-away.
We’re testing the top-spec Rexton Ultimate, which despite what its price tag suggests, comes truly fully loaded.
Although it is significantly more expensive than the Indian 6-seater Mahindra Scorpio-N Z8L ($44,990), the South Korean SsangYong Rexton Ultimate comes in cheaper than the far less feature equipped Mitsubishi Pajero Sport GLS 4x4 ($58,240).
You could stretch your budget for anIsuzu MU-X LS-M 4x4 ($60,106) or even the Ford Everest Trend (~$61,000), but you would be getting base models.
What’s the interior and connectivity like of the SsangYong Rexton Ultimate?
The first thing you notice when getting into the interior of the SsangYong Rexton is the quilted leatherette all over the interior.
It’s as if you are sitting within a designer handbag… and honestly, it does a great job of making it feel special.
In fact, start poking and prodding around and you might be as shocked as I was that almost every surface is nice and soft touch - which is great for soaking up road noise.
It’s the practicality, though, of the interior space which is most impressive. It’s one of those interiors that you are instantly familiar with, everything is where it should be - for example, no silly climate controls buried within the infotainment display - that is most refreshing to me.
As I said, the Ultimate trim is fully loaded, and I mean it.
Not only are the seats heated and cooled with a Nappa leather finish, they provide a lot of comfort and support over longer journeys with memory seating and easy exit/entry function.
But focusing on this display, it’s quite a poor unit. Graphics are washed out, it can be difficult to see in direct sunlight and it’s slow to respond.
It also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but both are wired through the 2 x USB-A ports (soon to be replaced by USB-C ports as part of the facelift).
I say good riddance to the display, and you won’t be missed.
The centre tunnel is covered in a metal-look vinyl which does look quite nice, and with two hidey holes.
Open the first hidey hole and you’ll see a couple of cupholders and the 2 x USB-A ports.
Open the second hidey hole and you can access the wireless phone charger.
The steering wheel is a rather odd shape - I guess you could call it a ‘squircle’? - but it is leather wrapped and with plenty of functionality to it with buttons galore.
Recently the Rexton received a minor update to include the 12.3” digital instrument cluster, but it’s quite poor.
It’s so slow to respond when looking through menus. Honestly at times it’s like watching a powerpoint presentation.
In the center is your 4WD controller, some extra buttons like for your drive modes, and a shift-by-wire gear selector. Look up, and you’ll see a nice (if not little) sunroof.
Still, when you consider that its nearest competition - the Pajero Sport - comes with a relatively cheap and nasty interior at the same price point, it’s easy to see why Rexton owners gloat about their interior space.
What about the back seats of the SsangYong Rexton Ultimate?
At 5’10”, I have plenty of room behind my usual seating position.
Not to mention because of the ‘stadium style’ seating - whereby the rear passenger seats are mounted higher than the front seats - it’s easy to get a good view of the road from the back seats.
The rear outboard seats are also heated, with good access to amenities including air vents, premium feeling map pockets and a couple more USB-A ports.
The Nappa leather extends to the rear seats too, with a fold down centre-armrest revealing plenty of storage space, cupholders and a phone holder.
You can even recline the rear seats really far, and move the front passenger seats forward using controls mounted on the side of the passenger seat. That’s considered a ‘luxury’ feature in South Korea, so it means a lot to see it here at this price.
I wouldn’t want to be in the third row though, personally.
Like a lot of SUVs in this segment, it’s clearly not designed for taking adults and it’s tough to fit.
More importantly though, the air vents and 12v socket are only located on the right-hand side which seems like an odd-design.
And even more importantly than that, the curtain airbags do not cover the third row which is a real shame when most competitors have third row coverage.
How much can fit in the boot of the SsangYong Rexton?
Using the powered tailgate (with proximity auto open / close) included in the Ultimate trim, you get access to a decent boot space.
With all rows up, you have access to 236 litres of boot space. However, to get this space you need to remove the false floor, which then creates a large hump in the floor.
Still with the false floor in space, then you can drop the third row and get 641 litres of space which is plenty.
Then of course you can drop the third row and get 1806 litres of boot space.
For those wondering about the spare wheel, you get a full-sized spare wheel under the body of the car.
What’s under the bonnet of the SsangYong Rexton Ultimate?
Powering the SsangYong Rexton is the same engine as the SsangYong Musso, but with a more powerful tune.
It’s a 2.2-litre turbo diesel 4 cylinder, pumping out 149kW of power (at 3800RPM) and 441Nm of torque (between 1600-2600rpm).
That’s up 16kW and 21Nm of torque versus the Musso, which we’ve been told misses out on the higher state of tune because it doesn’t require AdBlue (which is another fuel source used to reduce emissions).
But the Rexton doesn’t have AdBlue, yet it still gets the higher output. I find that confusing.
The claimed fuel economy of 8.7 L/100km is not far off the money, we saw fuel figures around 9.8L/100km but that was mostly highway driving to be fair.
How does the SsangYong Rexton drive?
Despite sharing many components under the skin, the Rexton has one major difference to the Musso Ute.
While the Musso uses a 6-speed Aisin (Japan) sourced torque converter auto, the Rexton uses an 8-speed Hyundai (South Korean) torque converter transmission.
And if I’m being totally honest, it’s the most ‘meh’ thing about the whole experience.
The increase in power and torque versus the Musso is evident, though a stab of the throttle doesn’t feel all that responsive - likely because of the transmission's hesitancy.
Still, the Rexton will confidently get up to speed and in this class of SUV feels just about right.
We timed the 0-100kmh sprint in 10.34 seconds which is average but still okay.
Most impressive is the ride quality, which offsets a surprising amount of body roll on twisty, winding back roads.
SsangYong have achieved a really good balance between comfort and dynamics, which for many competitors get the first right and the second very, very wrong.
The steering feel too is nice and direct, and a flick into Sports mode gives you all the heaviness you need.
Apart from the average transmission performance, the factory Nexen tyres truly ruin the drive experience. They lack grip, being particularly poor in wet weather conditions.
The biggest tell for me is even in four-wheel drive, on damp grass the Rexton was continuously wheel slipping. We had a front-wheel drive small SUV that had no issues on that same patch when filming that day.
First thing I would do if I bought a Rexton would be to rip off the tyres.
It doesn’t help that the Rexton has a part time 4WD system, meaning on sealed surfaces (aka roads) the Rexton operates as a rear-wheel drive system. It’s worth noting that the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 4WD system operates as a permanent 4WD system, even on sealed surfaces.
Arguably the best thing about the way the SsangYong Rexton drives is the lack of Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH). It’s a quiet ride on the road, with great insulation from wind, road and engine noise.
To summarise, the driving experience on the SsangYong Rexton is just below the average of the class, but when you consider its price, it's totally excusable.
How does the SsangYong Rexton Ultimate perform off-road?
The SsangYong Rexton comes standard with 4WD, which is mostly not the case in this class.
It is a part time 4x4 system, with a low-range transfer case.
Although it doesn’t have an official wading depth statistic, if it’s anything like the SsangYong Musso, you can expect a rather disappointing 350mm. Most cars in the class, including the Pajero Sport, have a 700mm wading depth.
The approach, rampover and departure angles are also 20.5° degrees, 20° degrees and 20.5° degrees respectively. Again, these are all quite poor compared to the majority of competitors.
Again, these are all quite far below average of the class. For perspective, the Pajero Sport has an approach, rampover and departure angle of 30° degrees, 23.1° degrees and 24.2° degrees respectively.
Not to mention those Nexen tyres… I can’t imagine they would be anything other than hopeless off-road.
Is the SsangYong Rexton Ultimate safe?
The SsangYong Rexton has yet to undergo formal safety evaluation by organizations like ANCAP or Euro NCAP.
As of 2023, no official safety ratings have been granted for the Rexton in the Australian market. However, the vehicle offers several contemporary safety features expected for a car of its release year.
Key Safety Features:
Auto emergency braking system (also known as Autonomous emergency braking).
Lane departure warning.
Forward collision warning.
Blind spot monitoring.
Rear cross-traffic alert.
Driver attention warning.
Front vehicle-start warning (a system that notifies when the car ahead moves).
Auto high beam lights.
Parking and Cameras:
All models of the Rexton are equipped with front and rear parking sensors.
The base model features a reversing camera.
The higher-spec Ultimate model boasts a 360-degree camera system, providing a panoramic view.
Dual front airbags.
Driver’s knee airbag.
Side airbags for both front and second-row seats.
It's noteworthy to mention the lack of airbag coverage for the third-row seats.
The Rexton doesn't come with active lane-keeping technology.
It also lacks adaptive cruise control.
In essence, while the SsangYong Rexton does not have an official safety rating, it offers an array of safety features standard for its release year, with the Ultimate model getting an additional 360-degree camera system.
For those using the Rexton primarily as a seven-seater should be aware of the missing airbag coverage for the third row.
How much can the SsangYong Rexton Ultimate tow?
The SsangYong Rexton comes with a 3.5 tonne braked towing capacity, which is impressive at this price point.
What are the SsangYong Musso Specs and Features?
SsangYong Rexton ELX Features:
Exterior and Lighting:
18-inch alloy wheels
LED headlights, front fog lights, and daytime running lights
Power-folding, heated exterior mirrors
Interior and Comfort:
8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system
12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
Leatherette upholstery (synthetic leather seats)
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
Heated and ventilated front seats
Eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat
Six-way power-adjustable passenger seat
Heated second-row outboard seats
Dual-zone climate control
Tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustment
Tech and Multimedia:
Wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Six-speaker sound system
Tyre pressure monitoring
The SsangYong Rexton Ultimate adds (over the ELX):
Exterior and Lighting:
Rear privacy glass
Side mirrors with reversing dip view
Interior and Comfort:
Nappa leather upholstery with quilted pattern
Heated leather steering wheel
Driver’s seat memory
Third-row air-conditioning vents and fan controller
Illuminated front door sill plates
Touch-sensing front door locks with walk-away auto-door locking
Tech and Multimedia:
360-degree surround-view camera system
Wireless phone charging
Power tailgate (electric boot) with proximity auto opening and closing
Speed-sensitive power steering
Auto up/down power windows for both front and rear
Second-row air vents
How much does the SsangYong Rexton Ultimate cost to service?
The SsangYong Rexton offers an extended warranty period that stands out in the market, providing coverage for seven years with no limitation on kilometres driven.
An aspect of this warranty that distinguishes it from many competitors is its applicability even for commercial use, such as ridesharing platforms like Uber.
Whereas most brands tend to impose a cap, often around the 150,000km mark, SsangYong maintains its unlimited kilometre stance irrespective of the vehicle's use.
In addition to the warranty, SsangYong offers seven years of roadside assistance.
When it comes to servicing, the Rexton has a structured plan. SsangYong has introduced a seven-year capped-price servicing program, with intervals set for every 12 months or 15,000km.
On average, the company quotes a price of $375 per service visit within this period. However, prospective buyers should note that there might be additional costs for specific service items, such as fuel filter or brake fluid replacements.
It's not uncommon for capped-price servicing schedules to have extra charges, a practice seen across the industry. In Rexton's case, SsangYong lists these as 'Additional Service Menu Items' without a specific published price.
What's CarSauce's take on the SsangYong Rexton Ultimate?
Although the SsangYong Rexton Ultimate doesn’t add anything new to the offroad 7-seat SUV formula, it does have one key ingredient - extremely competitive pricing.
Its interior space and features are fantastic, but its offroading credentials and on-road performance leave a bit to be desired.
Not to mention the lack of 3rd row airbags may be a deal breaker for those carrying people in all 7-seats.
Still, it’s an easy recommendation for those looking for a long distance hauler or those wanting to tow without breaking the bank, as long as you can get past some of its shortfalls.
Jacob Brooke, a respected voice in the world of automotive journalism, brings a wealth of knowledge and insights to his reviews at CarSauce. His keen eye for detail and passion for all things cars shine through in his in-depth analysis and honest evaluations of the latest models of cars. Join him as he guides readers through the car-buying process and explores the exciting world of motoring.