SsangYong Rexton road test, review, specifications and price –

20 Dec 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on SsangYong Rexton road test, review, specifications and price –

SsangYong Rexton

road test, review, specifications and price

2012 has been the year of the SUV and that will continue onto this year too with demand for luxury SUVs increasing as more customers want all the features of a luxury sedan along with the toughness of a SUV. The current king in the luxury SUV segment is the Toyota Fortuner which has been sitting on the throne for a long time with no one really armed enough to challenge it. Till now that is!

Enter the Mahindra SsangYong Rexton which is feature loaded, has tons of presence and is priced temptingly less than the Fortuner. Is this then the ideal luxury SUV in India? We think so, now that is indeed a big claim but after reading this article you will also think along the same lines.

Mahindra just like Maruti and Hyundai, knows what the Indian car-buyer wants and gives a product that feels tailor made for the Indian buyer. After the massive success of the XUV5OO it was only right for Mahindra to aim higher and move to the premium SUV space.

This is a densely populated segment with products as diverse as the BMW X1 and the Toyota Fortuner and it’s clear that the Rexton is aimed at grabbing large chunks of the Fortuner’s market share. The Rexton comes from the well- known Korean brand SsangYong (now under Mahindra) and marks the brand’s introduction in India though it will sell through Mahindra dealerships only.

Originally the plan was to launch the older version of the SUV but wisely Mahindra chose to launch the facelifted “W” version. So read on to find out why we think this big brute is a wise choice.

We like our SUVs to look like “SUVs” and not some sedan turned ‘crossover’ which will run with their tail between the legs at the sight of bad roads. The Rexton is a proper old-school big SUV that has oodles of presence and drops jaws wherever it goes. For some perspective, the Rexton is longer and wider than a Fortuner.

Gulp. The stats include a length of 4755mm, width of 1900mm and height of 1785mm. But while the massive size gives it tons of presence, if you look closer it is a more soft design than the butch Fortuner.

The Rexton in its face-lifted avatar looks incredibly handsome and well styled. While the Fortuner has a more upright stance the Rexton has a more slopping bonnet and the curvy headlamps, grille make it seem it has been designed rather than ‘carved’.

Move to the side and the enormous size hits you but you cannot miss the typically big wheel arches and the black cladding. The rear styling reminds a lot of the first-gen Mercedes M-Class and that is not surprising as the Rexton is based on the first-gen M-Class. As is the norm these days, the Rexton has the spare wheel under the car which will be a pain to access but surely aids in rear visibility. The tail-lamps on the Rexton also look good with the ‘L-shaped’ parking light.

One thing that will catch your eye is the sheer amount of badges on the car and nearly every part of the car is plastered with some name or the other presumably to remind at all times what you are driving.

Though we like the looks and the details the one thing that we will remember the most is the sheer quality of the Rexton. It has the best build quality of any Mahindra (agreed it’s made by Ssangyong but what the heck!) to date and in areas like the paint finish it is actually among the very best in the segment. We had the ‘Satin White’ model on test and there are three other colour choices namely ‘Volcano Black’, ‘Opulent Purple’ and ‘MoonDust Silver’

It is when you get inside that the real party trick of the Rexton emerges- it’s interior. Simply put, the ambience and quality of materials is a match for any German luxury saloon and trumps its rival’s big time on this account. The dual tone black and beige looks classy and we especially like the black wood finish. It has the ‘luxury SUV vibe’ and feels more premium than its rivals.

Some serious brownie points earned there. The design of the interior is simple and everything is well laid out. The centre console is neatly designed and the Kenwood touch screen system does not look like a cheap aftermarket install.

The steering wheel has lots of buttons on either side and is for various functions like gear changing and audio system. On using the touch screen, the responsiveness was slow but the music system which has the usual MP3, DVD, USB port and Aux-in has fairly decent sound quality but we expected better.

As you might imagine space is not an issue in the Rexton and the wide airy cabin accentuated by the electric sunroof looks and feels airy. Getting in and out is not an issue with the Rexton and once in the driver’s seat which is 8-way electrically adjustable, it is very comfortable. Likewise the second row (which has AC vents) has a good amount of headroom and provides good space though we found the thigh support to be lacking at the rear thanks mainly to the high floor.

Getting access to the last row is very difficult and once you eventually get in, it’s very uncomfortable with no thigh support and also no head rests. Thus this place is strictly for small children or for people you don’t like. When it comes to practicality, storage places abound in the cabin and with the foldable 3 rd row seats and 60:40 spilt foldable 2nd row seats you will not be short on luggage capacity.

Equipment levels are very good and just like in any other Mahindra you are pampered very well here. There is the touch screen system that we have earlier talked about which also has navigation, cruise control, 8-way electrically adjustable driver seat, steering mounted audio controls, electric sunroof, automatic climate control, rain sensing wipers and automatic headlamps though a reverse camera and driver information display is sorely missed.

Under that long hood is a 5-cylinder 2.7 litre diesel engine and while internationally there are other engine options too, we are glad we are getting this engine as it’s a cracker! This 2696 cc engine makes 162/184 bhp which is ample by any standard. You might be confused as I have just mentioned two bhp power output figures and that is because the Rexton is available in two variants, RX5 and RX7.

The RX5 is the manual variant and has 162 bhp while the Rx7 AT variant has 184 bhp. We had the 184 bhp RX7 AT variant on test.

In its most powerful 184 bhp guise, the Rexton has enough firepower and with an ample 402Nm of torque (RX5 has 340Nm) the Rexton feels quick when given the beans. It is fairly smooth too and there is always loads of torque available, even at high triple digit speeds. But what plays spoils sport is the gearbox.

The Rexton RX7 has a five-speed automatic gearbox as opposed to the five- speed manual for the RX5 variant and the automatic gearbox feels slow plus when you mash the accelerator pedal #8211; the gearbox thinks for a moment and then acts. So when overtaking, plan in advance is our advice. There is an option to shift manually via buttons on the steering wheel or a switch on the gear lever but as we found out, it does not improve the driving experience that much.

Hence, it’s best to leave the gearbox to its own devices and cruise.

When it comes to fuel efficiency there is not much that can be expected from a big heavy SUV with an automatic gearbox and the Rexton returned about 9 kmpl during our test though the ARAI figure is 11.8 kmpl (12.4 for manual).

Ride and handling

Test done and once out on the city roads, the Rexton turns out to be a comfortable place to be in #8211; you are shut off from the rest of the world. Thanks to the soft suspension, the ride over our potholed roads is sublime and it devours nearly everything on its path while leaving its occupants comfortable inside. But if you try and drive the Rexton enthusiastically, the overly soft suspension shows its weakness. There is a lot of body roll and it’s not as dynamically polished as its rivals.

You do end up feeling its two tonne weight around the corners and the Rexton does not shrink like its rivals do. The steering is light and good for city use though. But really does anyone buy these near two tonne monsters to go corner hunting?

Nope, you buy them for their toughness and ‘shut out the world’ feeling and the Rexton does a good job in that aspect.

In the RX7 model, the Rexton has an all-wheel drive system that distributes 60% of the torque to the rear wheels and 40% to the front wheels at all times. It is good off-road thanks to its 252mm ground clearance and huge tyres but the sheer size of the Rexton is a bit of a limiting factor. The manual version gets a torque on demand 4#215;4 system with a low ratio for tougher situations.

Price, value for money and safety

As said earlier, the Rexton is available in two variants of RX5 and RX7. The prices are as usual very competitive with the RX5 Manual starting at Rs 17.75 lakhs ex-showroom and the RX7 retailing for Rs 19.75 lakhs ex-showroom New Delhi. The RX5 Manual is very well equipped though as usual we will point out the differences in both of the variants.

The RX5 has fabric upholstery, manual driver seat adjustment, no auto easy access function for driver seat, no memory function driver seat, no electric sunroof, no side airbags, no auto headlamps or rain sensing wipers. But you do get parking sensors (no reverse camera like in the Fortuner), touchscreen infotainment system, steering controls and automatic climate control among other features. Though the RX5 makes a great buy no doubt, it is the RX7 that seems a steal as it’s a lot cheaper than the Fortuner auto and the automatic gearbox makes it easier to live with than the manual Rexton.

When it comes to safety the Rexton is festooned with many safety features like ABS, ESP, Hill Descent Control and Dual/Side airbags.

You cannot help but think Mahindra has pulled it off yet again and after the XUV5OO, the Rexton is yet another feather in Mahindra’s cap. There is a lot to be impressed about this behemoth namely its size, quality of interior, gadgets and the comfy ride. Yes it has quirks like the slow gearbox and the overly soft suspension but that is in no ways a deal breaker. What emerges as the deal maker point in the end for the Rexton is its price and the value for money factor.

It’s priced well below the Fortuner #8211; for example, the RX7 Rexton is Rs 2 lac cheaper than the MT 4#215;4 Fortuner and yet offers a lot more including an automatic. Most importantly, it also has a more premium looking cabin which makes it a deal which few can ignore. Right then Mahindra, which is the next Ssangyong coming our way?

Here is our video review of the Rexton #8211; do check it out!

Rexton The SsangYong Rexton power

SsangYong Rexton W Rexton interiors

SsangYong Rexton Rexton

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