Time to say see ya SsangYong as our long-term Rexton leaves us.
After the months of hardship it’s endured at the hands of our family of six I hope it’s going somewhere peaceful and genteel. That said, it has coped admirably with everything we’ve thrown at it.
It’s done holidays, hospital runs and the daily commute, been filled with luggage, muddy bikes and a factory’s worth of biscuit crumbs but rumbled on unruffled.
It’s a big tough truck designed to cope with busy family life and do the sort of heavy pulling and shifting that used to be the preserve of the Discovery, Shogun and Land Cruiser.
We didn’t have a horsebox or caravan to pull and the closest I got to testing its 4×4 chops was a couple of muddy fields but for those who do tow or venture off-piste its 3,500kg towing capacity and low-range four-wheel-drive are essentials.
More relevant to me was the ability to shift our entire brood in one go without anyone getting upset.
Accessing the rearmost seats is a bit tricky due to some heavy middle chairs but once you’re there the space is among the best in the SUV class and good enough for a proper adult. Those in front also have all the space they could want. The boot is compromised in seven-seat mode but as a five-seater its 649 litres is ample and with row two folded down you’d fit a small house in the back.
As well as being spacious, the Rexton proved to be comfortable, well screwed together and amazingly refined. Even on motorway journeys it was quiet enough to give the feel of a far more premium vehicle.
In fact, the entire look of the interior does a good job of punching above its weight. It’s a simple layout but done well. The only letdown is that the feel of some materials gives away the car’s low-price nature.
There are a couple of other issues, though neither of them are deal breakers.
First is the ride. On smooth roads it’s fine but the body-on-frame construction’s limitations are shown up by bad roads where shimmy and vibration became more obvious.
The other issue is the Rexton’s thirst. Given its size etc. you can’t expect stellar economy but our previous long-termer was also a seven-seat diesel SUV and returned 44mpg compared with the Rexton’s 30mpg.
Offsetting the higher running costs is the fact that the Rexton starts at £28,495 for a basic EX. Our test car was £30,905 – the added cost lying in the auto box, paint and towbar options.
It offered as standard many of the safety options and gadgets you have to pay for on other cars and although its touchscreen lacked sat nav the Android Auto integration worked seamlessly.
I started out unsure whether I’d find holes in our car’s base trim specifications but after three months I felt the EX had pretty much everything I needed/used on a daily basis.
You can spend £38,500 on a Rexton with quilted leather and fancier driver aids and you’ll still be getting a lot of car for your money. But the real appeal to me me is the fact that even basic models are well equipped and whatever trim you go for you get a massive, comfortable and capable family SUV for a relatively small amount of money.