Ssangyong Rexton long-term test review: report 3
Our chief photographer needs a car that's spacious, comfortable and can go anywhere. Could the seven-seat Ssangyong Rexton be just the thing?...
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 3102 List price £39,895 Target Price £39,895 Price as tested £41,380 Test economy 33.1mpg
1 July 2021 – No looking back
When Isaac Newton witnessed an apple falling from a tree, it inspired him to write his law of gravity. Contrastingly, when my Ssangyong Rexton’s rear-view mirror fell off the windscreen to dangle on a wire, it spurred me on to get it booked to fix a niggling fault that has plagued the car since I took delivery.
As the range-topping model, my Rexton Ultimate has an all-singing, all-dancing infotainment system with sat-nav (powered by TomTom), DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It is, in most respects, a fine system, proving comparatively instinctive to use (and I’m no computer programming whiz) and helpful in my daily travels. The stereo could use a little more grunt to help BBC Six Music overcome the Rexton’s pronounced road noise, but radio reception is good enough to keep me entertained.
No, the infotainment system has only really let me down come journey’s end, when I’m trying to park the bulky Rexton. You see, amid its features is a surround-view camera system to help with close-quarters manoeuvres, and while the view it offers to the front and sides is very helpful, the view straight behind has never been good. It either comes out all blocky – worse than the kind of pictures you’d hail as ‘amazing’ from a phone camera in 2002 – or not at all, or reasonably clear but with a brief delay. That might be handy if I want to see what I was doing very recently but isn't good for avoiding parking damage.
So I booked my car into my nearest Ssangyong dealership, Ian Allan Motors of Virginia Water, for repair. It wasn’t too inconvenient a journey to make, and when I arrived there was a Ssangyong Tivoli courtesy car waiting for me. That meant I’d be kept mobile for the duration of the repair, which I hoped would be done within the day.
At first I was apprehensive that no repair would be forthcoming. In a flurry of inevitability, the fault that had been so dependable completely evaporated in the car park. Suddenly it was working perfectly. Nevertheless, I handed the car over while emphasising that “it has been on the blink, honestly”, and, fortunately, it did play up during its time in the workshop.
A new camera was the remedy, but they needed to keep the car in overnight. That was fine with me, and the rear-view mirror was securely stuck back in place before I returned the next day to collect my now spotlessly clean, sanitised and vacuumed Rexton.
I must say that the whole process was quite reassuring; in the back of my mind, after choosing a car built by what is quite a small player in the UK car market, I wondered how Ssangyong would perform in terms of customer service. But on the strength of that weekend, it seems I have nothing to worry about.
The booking was straightforward, the service was efficient and the camera was replaced on time. So not only could I look forward to driving my car, but I could enjoy looking backwards, too.
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Ssangyong Rexton long-term test review
Our chief photographer needs a car that's spacious, comfortable and can go anywhere. Could the seven-seat Ssangyong Rexton be just the thing?