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?...

Ssangyong Rexton 2021 long-term

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.

Ssangyong Rexton 2021 long-term camera fault

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. 

Ssangyong Rexton 2021 long-term mirror fault

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.

Ssangyong Rexton 2021 long-term vacuumed interior

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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