Ssangyong Rexton long-term test review: report 2

Our chief photographer needs a car that's spacious, comfortable and which can go anywhere. Could the seven-seat Ssangyong Rexton be just the thing?...

Ssangyong Rexton long-term cloudy seaside

The car Ssangyong Rexton 2.2 Ultimate Run by John Bradshaw, chief photographer

Why it’s here To find out if you can run a big, rugged SUV without it costing the earth 

Needs to Tackle all terrains in any weather, cut the mustard as a photographer’s workhorse, and prove comfortable and economical on a mix of journeys

Mileage 2586 List price £39,895 Target price £39,895 Price as tested £41,380 Test economy 33.2 mpg Official economy 32.9 mpg 

14 June 2021 – Never the twain

The Ssangyong Rexton has a reputation as a mud-plugging, field-crossing beast of burden, and is very much designed to that brief.

Unlike many modern SUVs, which merely pose as off-roaders, it has huge ground clearance and big wheelarches to allow for lots of axle articulation and help it tackle rough terrain. Like the original Land Rover Defender, it even has a separate chassis that should make it tough and easy to fix.

2021 Ssangyong Rexton long-term cornering

There are other parallels with that iconic machine, too. Anyone who has ever driven one knows that it wasn’t designed for comfort, and while my Rexton is lined with leather and has lots of labour-saving gadgets, its suspension is tuned more for a life of hard graft than one of opulence.

As a result, the ride at low speeds is firm, yet the long-travel suspension makes for rather wallowy behaviour in corners. Body control is so loose, in fact, that poorly surfaced urban roads have you jiggling around in your seat, with your head bobbing about like that of a Thunderbirds puppet.

Get the Rexton on a motorway, however, and things are much more civilised. The ride settles down nicely, aside from the odd thump over prominent expansion joints, and the car becomes a remarkably capable mile-muncher.

2021 Ssangyong Rexton long-term driving

It helps that it takes little effort to keep the Rexton tracking straight and true. And the toweringly high driving position is an asset, too, putting me at a similar altitude to the average truck driver, with a panoramic view over most other cars.

So this certified master of mud is also a dab hand at highways – it’s just the roads between meadow and motorway it struggles with.

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