2024 SsangYong Rexton Adventure review

18 minutes, 9 seconds Read

The SsangYong Rexton was the slowest seller in its class last year, but it is by no means a bad car. Here’s why we think Australians are missing out on this South Korean family SUV underdog.

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What we love
  • Very well equipped for the price, with seven-year warranty
  • Strong engine and comfortable over bumps
  • Spacious interior with much improved technology
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What we don’t
  • Lacks the latest crash-avoidance technology, still lacks safety rating
  • Heavy second-row seats make accessing the third row harder
  • Turbo lag off the mark, heavy steering at high speeds

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2024 SsangYong Rexton Adventure

The SsangYong name predates the likes of GWM and LDV in Australia by more than a decade – it sold its first car here through Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the mid-1990s – but it’s never found the success here that, with its latest vehicles, it deserves.

The Musso ute has been the brand’s top seller since SsangYong relaunched in Australia in 2018 under a factory-owned distributor, but unlike most 4WD wagons that are based on utes, the pick-up derives its underpinnings from the Rexton seven-seater.

After a styling update, power boost and tech upgrade in 2021, which added a widescreen digital instrument cluster, the Rexton has been updated again for 2024 with a larger touchscreen, tweaked suspension, and a new Adventure model grade.

In South Korea and Europe, SsangYong vehicles now wear KG Mobility, or KGM branding, but Australia is yet to follow suit.

Should you consider this South Korean 4WD over a similarly priced Chinese or Indian rival – and is there a reason why it’s cheaper than a Ford, Toyota, Isuzu or Mitsubishi? Let’s find out.

How much is a SsangYong Rexton?

In this review we’re testing the new middle-of-the-range variant in the three-model SsangYong Rexton line-up, the Adventure, priced from $54,000 drive-away nationally.

It is positioned between the $50,000 drive-away ELX and $58,000 drive-away Ultimate. Buyers able to get their hands on a 2023-built vehicle are eligible for a $1000 factory bonus off the price as part of a limited offer until the end of February 2024.

The closest rival to the South Korean-built SsangYong on price is the $52,095 drive-away (for private buyers nationwide) LDV D90 Executive diesel from China, which has seven seats, four-wheel drive and a diesel engine.

The cheapest seven-seat four-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Pajero Sport costs $58,240 drive-away for the mid-grade GLS – though a base-model GLX five-seater is available for $52,740 drive-away.

The most affordable Isuzu MU-X and Toyota Fortuner cost close to $60,000 drive-away – $54,900 plus on-road costs/$59,754 drive-away in NSW for an MU-X LS-M, and $53,775 plus on-roads/$58,619 drive-away in NSW for a Fortuner GX – while an entry-level Ford Everest Ambiente five-seat 4WD costs $58,990 plus on-road costs, or $64,790 drive-away in NSW.

Left-of-field rivals include a GWM Tank 300 Lux Hybrid for $55,990 drive-away, but it is only a five-seater – or an Indian Mahindra Scorpio Z8L for $45,990 drive-away, but it is a six-seater and was recently awarded a zero-star safety rating.

Compared to the ELX, the Rexton Adventure adds a power-operated tailgate, synthetic leather-look seat upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated outboard second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, speed-sensitive power steering, tyre pressure monitors, a walk-up welcome system, and touch-sensitive front door locks with walk-away locking.

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Features it shares with the ELX include a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine with part-time four-wheel drive, 18-inch alloy wheels, dusk-sensing LED headlights, 12.3-inch instrument and infotainment displays, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual-zone climate control, a rear-view camera, front and rear parking sensors, autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning, cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

The $4000 saving compared to the Ultimate omits features such as a sunroof, 360-degree camera, quilted leather seat trim, air-conditioning controls for passengers in the third row of seats, ambient interior lighting, and privacy glass.

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How big is a SsangYong Rexton?

The SsangYong Rexton is one of the more affordable vehicles in this category, but the cabin presents well with its big new 12.3-inch touchscreen, decent perceived build quality, and soft or squidgy materials in most areas – though the front-centre armrest could be a touch plusher.

The eight-way power-adjustable front seats (with lumbar) offer a good mix of comfort and support, and come with heating and ventilation – features a Ford Everest buyer needs to spend close to $80,000 drive-away to get. We found the synthetic leather-look upholstery could get a bit sweaty on hot days, but the seat ventilation helps mitigate this.

There are no complaints with the driving position, and the steering wheel – which is tilt and reach adjustable – feels solid in the hand, with controls that are easy to use once you get the hang of them.

The 2024 update has replaced physical buttons and dials for the air-conditioning controls with a touch-sensitive panel.

It is a step backwards – it requires the driver to take their eyes off the road to use, and it only provides audio feedback when a button is touched, with no vibration – but it is better than burying the controls in a menu within the touchscreen.

One unusual quirk of the new infotainment screen: the only way to change the audio volume is through a steering wheel switch. It is not the end of the world, but it’s a bizarre design choice – or oversight – that is unnecessarily annoying.

The door pockets, centre console storage compartment and glovebox are all well sized, there’s an additional storage area for phones and wallets ahead of the gear shifter, and amenities up front include two USB-C ports (which replace USB-A sockets for 2024), dual-zone climate control and one 12-volt socket.

Only the front windows have auto up/down functionality, an unusual cost-cutting choice for a $55,000 car – and a wireless smartphone charging pad used to be offered, but has been deleted for the latest update.

There is more than enough space in the second seating row for adults, with modest toe room, good knee room and excellent head room when sitting behind my driving position at 186cm tall (6ft 1in).

The cabin is wide – suitable for seating three passengers in the second row – and the seat backrest reclines, but it doesn’t slide. There’s a handy button on the side of the front passenger seat to move it forwards and backwards to unlock even more leg room behind that seat.

Second-row passengers are treated to heated outboard seats, two USB-C ports, a 12-volt socket, air vents, and a fold-down armrest with two cupholders and a storage compartment – plus three top-tether anchor points, and ISOFIX anchors in the outboard seating positions. The door bins are reasonably sized, and both front seatbacks get map pockets.

The third-row experience is not as rosy. First, getting in is harder than it should be; the second-row seat is heavy, the larger (and bulkier) portion of the 60:40 split is on the kerb side, and it’s a two-stage manoeuvre to fold and tumble it forwards.

Kids will find ample space in the third row, but they can’t be too young as there are no top-tether or ISOFIX points for fitting child seats – nor too old, as tall teenagers or adults, especially six-footers, will find knee room tight, although head room is reasonable. If the second row could slide forwards, it would be a far more comfortable experience.

There are no USB ports or air vents in the third row in this model, and visibility is compromised by the large pillars, but there is a 12-volt socket and space for storing electronic devices.

Boot space behind all three rows (236L) is not cavernous, but it will hold a few shopping or school bags, and there’s a removable divider which can unlock a taller load area. Cargo space with all three rows up is comparable with a Ford Everest and larger than a Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, but smaller than an Isuzu MU-X.

Folding the third row of seats down increases the boot capacity to 641L, which is more than enough for multiple suitcases. However, you need to choose between fitting the load divider and having a flat floor but lifting bags higher into the boot, or removing the divider but dealing with an awkward step behind the folded seats. A power tailgate is standard in this variant.

2024 SsangYong Rexton Adventure
Seats Seven
Boot volume 236L to third row
641L to second row
1806L to first row
Length 4850mm
Width 1960mm
Height 1825mm
Wheelbase 2865mm

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Does the SsangYong Rexton have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

The headline change for 2024 is a new 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen – replacing the previous 8.0-inch display – running new software, with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth and AM/FM radio only. There is no embedded satellite navigation or digital radio.

The system is reasonably quick to respond and easy to use, though the graphics look basic – and there are some unusual user-interface choices, such as making the icons on the home screen too large so two of them don’t fit on the main screen, and require a swipe to access.

Apple CarPlay through a wired connection is available, but it refused to connect with my iPhone 15 Pro at any point during our week with the car.

SsangYong Australia told us it is a known issue specific to iPhone 15s and the new 2024 infotainment system, and that a fix is in development and will be available “very soon”.

Other media outlets with older iPhones have been able to get CarPlay to work, though the connection process can be finicky. Drive has previously had positive experiences using Android Auto on the new infotainment system.

The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is a highlight at this price, with a bright display offering plenty of customisation – including different views and gauge designs – though it could be quicker to move between menus, and like the touchscreen, its graphics are on the basic side.

The rear-view camera is not too grainy, and the six-speaker sound system delivers average sound quality, though it won’t blow the socks off audiophiles.

SsangYong does not offer a smartphone app to interact with the car remotely – as you’d find in a Ford Everest – and has not announced a timeframe to do so.

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Is the SsangYong Rexton a safe car?

The SsangYong Rexton has not been tested by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), nor by its Euro NCAP counterpart in Europe.

2024 SsangYong Rexton Adventure
ANCAP rating Untested

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What safety technology does the SsangYong Rexton have?

While SsangYong has upgraded the Rexton with bright new screens and more power since it launched six years ago, it has begun to fall behind the class leaders in terms of safety.

Autonomous emergency braking is standard, but it lacks the latest intersection and motorcycle detection functions, while the blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts are just warnings that can’t brake for obstacles they detect.

Lane-assist technology is limited to a lane-departure warning that beeps when you stray from the lane – rather than a lane-keep assist that will steer the car back into its lane, or a centring assist that, as the name suggests, holds the car in the centre of the lane on marked roads.

There is also no adaptive cruise control, merely manual cruise control solely bound to a speed rather than the distance to the car ahead.

Tyre pressure monitoring is standard, as is a door exit warning, and nine airbags – dual frontal, front-side, rear-side and side curtains, which only cover the first two rows of seats, not row three.

We had no complaints with the calibration of the safety systems, apart from the blind-spot warning being a touch too sensitive and detecting cars quite far behind from the vehicle.

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) Yes Includes pedestrian detection
Adaptive Cruise Control No Regular cruise control only
Blind Spot Alert Yes Alert only
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert Yes Alert only
Lane Assistance Yes Lane-departure warning only
Road Sign Recognition No
Driver Attention Warning Yes No driver-facing camera
Cameras & Sensors Yes Front and rear sensors, rear-view camera

How much does the SsangYong Rexton cost to run?

SsangYong covers its vehicles with a seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, with seven years of roadside assistance and capped-price servicing.

Each of the first seven services starts with a base price of $375 – at 12-month/15,000km intervals – amounting to $1125 over three years/45,000km, $1875 over five years/75,000km, and $2625 over seven years/105,000km.

At first glance it appears similarly priced or cheaper than rivals. Five years/75,000km of servicing is quoted as $2555 for an Isuzu MU-X, $2895 for a Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and $1866 for a Ford Everest. Outside of the capped price program SsangYong also lists separate intervals for service items like the fuel filter, brake fluid, front and rear axle oil, transfer case and automatic transmission fluid and more. These extra cost items are on top of the base service pricing as required.

A year of comprehensive insurance coverage with a leading provider is quoted at $1787, based on a comparative quote for a 35-year-old male driver living in Chatswood, NSW. Insurance estimates may vary based on your location, driving history, and personal circumstances.

It is not cheap, but it’s in line with competitors. The same insurance calculator quoted $1749 for an LDV D90 Executive diesel, $1789 for a Mitsubishi Pajero Sport GLS 4WD, $1947 for a Toyota Fortuner GX, $1461 for a Ford Everest Ambiente 4WD, and $1986 for an Isuzu MU-X LS-M 4WD.

At a glance 2024 SsangYong Rexton Adventure
Warranty Seven years, unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months or 15,000km
Servicing costs From $1125 (3 years)
From $1875 (5 years)
From, $2625 (7 years)

Is the SsangYong Rexton fuel-efficient?

SsangYong claims fuel economy in mixed urban and extra-urban driving of 8.7 litres per 100 kilometres. Over a week of testing – skewed towards suburban and highway driving – we returned 9.6L/100km according to the trip computer.

On the highway we saw as low as 6.5L/100km, in 60km/h to 80km/h extra-urban driving we observed fuel use of 9.0 to 10.5L/100km, and in stop-start city traffic the trip computer went as high as 14 or 15L/100km.

Based on our overall fuel-economy observations, the 70-litre diesel tank is good for up to 729km of driving range – or up to 1077km on the highway. It compares to a claimed 804km range.

CO2 emissions are quoted as 223 grams per kilometre – a figure which will become important from 2025, when the Australian Government sets targets for the CO2 emitted on average by the vehicles sold by car makers each year, which they must hit to avoid financial penalties.

For a vehicle of the Rexton’s classification and weight, the target may be approximately 159g/km.

Fuel efficiency 2024 SsangYong Rexton Adventure
Fuel cons. (claimed) 8.7L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 9.6L/100km
Fuel type Diesel
Fuel tank size 70L

What is the SsangYong Rexton like to drive?

The Rexton’s 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine was upgraded from 133kW/420Nm to 148kW/441Nm in an update in 2021, matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission and part-time four-wheel drive (with low-range and an auto-locking rear differential).

With outputs near or matching class standards – four-cylinder rivals from Toyota, Ford, Isuzu, Mitsubishi and LDV have 130kW to 160kW, and 450Nm to 500Nm – acceleration is respectable on the move, and it doesn’t feel laboured getting to highway speeds.

Off the mark there is some noticeable lag from 1000rpm to 1600rpm – before the turbocharger has spooled up, and the engine hits peak torque – however, we expect owners will quickly adapt to it.

The eight-speed automatic transmission is intuitive in its operation, and doesn’t get in the driver’s way with poorly timed shifts or slow response. There are shift paddles behind the steering wheel for taking manual control, but the ends closest to the driver’s fingers are unusually small.

Unlike a Ford Everest or Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, the Rexton’s four-wheel-drive mode can only be used on unsealed surfaces, so it is strictly rear-wheel drive on tarmac.

The Nexen tyres don’t deliver excellent grip, so caution on the accelerator pedal is needed – particularly in the wet, and when accelerating from a standstill out of a junction, so not to get the Rexton out of shape.

Buyers upgrading from a smaller, car-derived SUV such as Toyota RAV4 may find the suspension firmer than they’re used to, but for a ladder-frame vehicle designed to tow 3500kg – and go off-road – it is a pleasant experience.

It’s surprisingly comfortable over bumps in the city for a vehicle of this type – thanks in part to smaller 18-inch wheels – and it feels relatively well-controlled at higher speeds. It is no sports car, but it feels as confident and easy to drive on a winding road as we’d expect in this class.

Unlike some rivals, the Rexton uses independent front and rear suspension with coil springs, rather than independent front suspension and a live rear axle (still with coil springs). The Musso ute is built on the bones of the Rexton – rather than the other way around, which is the norm in this category.

Despite a large wheel to contend with, the steering is light at low speeds, with parking aided by front and rear sensors and a rear-view camera.

However, at high speeds the steering becomes unusually heavy after the first few degrees of rotation off centre, which can be frustrating.

Tyre roar and wind noise are well suppressed, and the engine isn’t too loud on the freeway. The brake pedal feels confident, though it can be a bit grabby and sensitive at low speeds.

We didn’t take the vehicle off-road for this review, but in previous testing of an Ultimate variant, Drive’s Off-Road Editor Sam Purcell found the Rexton not to be as capable as the benchmarks in this category. Click here to read his impressions.

Key details 2024 SsangYong Rexton Adventure
Engine 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
Power 148kW @ 3800rpm
Torque 441Nm @ 1600–2600rpm
Drive type Part-time four-wheel drive
Transmission 8-speed torque converter automatic
Power to weight ratio 69.5kW/t
Weight (kerb) 2130kg
Spare tyre type Full-size
Payload 830kg
Tow rating 3500kg braked
750kg unbraked
Turning circle 11m

How much weight can a SsangYong Rexton tow?

The SsangYong Rexton claims a braked towing capacity of 3500kg, and an unbraked tow rating of 750kg – plus a 2960kg gross vehicle mass (GVM), 6460kg gross combination mass (GCM), and 350kg maximum towball download rating.

We didn’t tow-test the Rexton for this review, so we can’t comment on how well it performs.

Based on its 2130kg kerb weight, and 2960kg gross vehicle mass, the payload is 830kg – the maximum mass of the people, cargo and accessories you can legally fit to the vehicle. If you are found to have exceeded the vehicle’s GVM and payload, you could be hit with heavy fines, or denied an insurance claim in the event of a crash.

For context, seven adult males – using the national average of 87kg – weigh 609kg, which is well within the Rexton’s capabilities.

Should I buy a SsangYong Rexton?

The SsangYong Rexton is a well-rounded, sharply priced seven-seat off-road family wagon that deserves to be more popular than it is.

Its strongest card is value for money – in purchase price, standard equipment, servicing costs and the long warranty – and while it’s not a stand-out in this class, it offers respectable performance, a comfortable ride, spacious cabin, and for 2024, much improved technology.

There are some shortcomings to consider, namely a safety technology roster that has fallen behind class standards, a lack of a safety rating, some frustrations in the access to and space in the third row of seats, some lag from the engine off the mark, and heavy steering at high speeds.

But on balance, if you are after a new seven-seat family four-wheel-drive but can’t stretch the budget beyond $55,000, take the SsangYong Rexton for a test drive.

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How do I buy a SsangYong Rexton? The next steps.

Unless you really desire luxuries such as a 360-degree camera and sunroof fitted to the Ultimate model, this Adventure variant is the pick of the range in terms of value for money.

SsangYong Australia says stock of the Rexton in dealers is “healthy”.

Other models to consider if you like the look of the Rexton include the LDV D90, which is similarly priced and available with a strong 160kW diesel engine. The Ford Everest is our top pick in this category – followed by the Isuzu MU-X – but they are more expensive than the SsangYong, and could be out of your budget.

To stay up to date with everything that’s happened to this car since our review, head to our news section by clicking here.

Ratings Breakdown

2024 SsangYong Rexton Adventure Wagon

7.3/ 10

Performance

Safety Technology

Ride Quality

Infotainment & Connectivity

Handling & Dynamics

Energy Efficiency

Driver Technology

Value for Money

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Fit for Purpose

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Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020.

Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines at a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

Read more about Alex MisoyannisLinkIcon

This post was originally published on this site

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