Used SsangYong Rexton (Mk2, 2017-date) review

Used SsangYong Rexton (Mk2, 2017-date) review

08/12/2022

A full used buyer’s guide on the SsangYong Rexton covering the Rexton Mk2 that’s been on sale since 2017


Verdict

SsangYong was established in 1954, but in the past 25 years it’s had four owners, having gone bust on multiple occasions. This lack of continuity hasn’t done the brand any favours, but if such things don’t matter to you, the Rexton might be right for you. It’s excellent value because you get so much car and kit for your money, and it’s an accomplished tow car. Add an exceptional warranty along with an impressive reliability record, and you may wonder why the Rexton isn’t more common. True, disappointing fuel economy eats into those savings you’ve already made, but even so, on balance this full-sized SUV is worth a closer look.

British buyers love budget brands, but with the likes of Kia and Hyundai moving upmarket, space has been left at the cheaper end of the market for those who focus on value for money over a posh badge.

This is something that Korean company SsangYong has exploited. Founded in 1954 but not launched in the UK until the mid-nineties with the Musso and Korando, the firm has had a rollercoaster existence since then. Just like Kia and Hyundai, SsangYong arrived with cars that were great value and ultra-reliable, but ultimately uninspiring. Since then all three have upped their game considerably, but only Kia and Hyundai have made a real success of it so far. Will it be SsangYong’s turn next?

History

The original Rexton arrived in 2001, and was on sale for 16 years before being replaced by an all-new car in 2017. In October that year, the Rexton Mk2 reached the UK, priced from £27,500. All versions had a 178bhp 2.2-litre diesel engine, with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmissions; the latter was a Mercedes unit, coming as standard with Ultimate trim.

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A special-edition Rexton Ice arrived in July 2019, based on ELX spec, with pearlescent white paint. A heavily revised car appeared in March 2021, with a new look, a Hyundai-sourced eight-speed auto transmission as standard, a 199bhp 2.2-litre diesel engine and either £37,995 Ventura (previously ELX) or £40,665 Ultimate trims.

Which one should I buy?

The Rexton Ultimate auto is by far the most common model, but even EX cars have 17-inch alloys, an eight-inch touchscreen, powered folding door mirrors, air-con, front and rear parking sensors, plus automatic headlights, wipers and cruise control.

ELX spec has 18-inch alloys, three-zone air-conditioning, a digital instrument cluster, a 9.2-inch touchscreen with sat-nav, a heated steering wheel, privacy glass, Nappa leather trim, heated and powered front seats plus keyless go.

Ultimate adds 20-inch rims, LED fog lights with cornering function, HID headlights, interior mood lighting, stainless steel door finishers, 3D around-view monitoring, quilted Nappa leather, ventilated and heated memory power seats, and a powered tailgate.

Alternatives to the SsangYong Rexton

Like the Rexton, the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento are seven-seat SUVs. Both are roomy, generously equipped, have long warranties and have user-friendly interiors, but neither brand is the bargain it once was.

Three Volkswagen Group contenders worth considering are the Skoda Kodiaq, SEAT Tarraco and VW Tiguan Allspace, which look smart and are good to drive, plus they’re very easy to live with. The Land Rover Discovery and Discovery Sport are more sophisticated and expensive, but they’re likely to be less reliable than the Rexton.

Other options include the Peugeot 5008 and the Volvo XC90 (although you’ll pay rather more for one of these), while the recently discontinued Nissan X-Trail looks smart, but its technology is now dated.

What to look for

Warranty

UK Rextons had a five-year unlimited-mileage warranty until July 2018, when seven-year 150,000-mile cover was provided.

Towing

Entry-level manual EX Rextons are limited to pulling no more than 3,200kg, but cars with an automatic gearbox can pull up to 3,500kg.

Seats

Ultimate trim has seven seats as standard, the entry-level EX has only five seats, and the mid-range ELX has seven seats, or five as an option.

Wheels

Any car designed for off-roading should have a full-sized spare wheel, but the Rexton had a tyre repair kit. Full-sized spares are available at dealers.

Common faults

High specs mean there’s a fair amount of electronic kit on the latest Rextons, and we’ve heard a few reports of minor niggles. We’re not aware of any significant issues on the engine or chassis side.

Interior

There are lots of premium materials where it matters, the fit and finish is impressive and so are equipment levels. The dash is user-friendly and clearly laid out, but doesn’t have a digital display. Getting comfy in the first two rows should be easy, but row three is suitable only for small adults or children. Boot capacity is 820 litres with the second row of seats up, or 1,806 litres with them folded.

Running costs

All Rextons need to be serviced every 12 months or 12,000 miles, with the schedule alternating between minor and major. These cost £333 and £510 respectively, with the latter including a brake fluid change, which is required every other year. The coolant must be replaced every six years; expect to pay around £70 for this. The cost to replace just the brake fluid is pegged at £58.

The diesel engine is chain-driven so there’s no cambelt to replace, which shaves the maintenance costs a little. There’s no set schedule for the air-conditioning system to be maintained, but this is one of the most popular offers available at SsangYong dealers. However, while one dealer was offering this for £135, another was asking just £69.99, so it pays to shop around.

Recalls

The Rexton Mk2 has yet to be recalled so far, which is impressive. However, it’s not really a surprise, because SsangYong has a very good record when it comes to issuing safety recalls; it hardly ever needs to do so. The previous Rexton was recalled just twice, despite a lifespan that was two or three times longer than is usual in the car industry.

Driver Power owner satisfaction

The Rexton has never appeared in our Driver Power new or used surveys because it doesn’t sell in big enough quantities. Last year SsangYong claimed a UK market share of just 0.09 per cent, so it’s too small to appear in our Brands poll. There are several owner reviews on Carbuyer.co.uk and they award four or five stars out of five, to give an encouraging 4.8-star average rating.

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