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A fresh restart for the Rexton nameplate

The 2019 SsangYong Rexton was been released with optimism from SsangYong Australia that it would do much better in the market than its predecessors did in the past. Then came financial dramas that were resolved in 2022 and upgrades were added for 2024.


The 2019 Rexton was a seven-seat SUV with body-on-frame construction, part-time-4WD and low-range gearing. It was powered by a 2.2-litre, turbo-intercooled diesel engine, delivering claimed maximum power of 133kW and maximum torque of 420Nm.

The only transmission was a seven-speed Mercedes-Benz automatic.

A 2WD petrol-engined model was also available, powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, delivering 165kW of power and maximum torque of 350Nm, coupled to a six-speed Aisin automatic gearbox.

The Rexton measured 4850mm in length, 1960mm wide, 1825mm high and had a 2865mm wheelbase.

Its projector headlight units also housed daytime running lights, LED fog lights with cornering beams and side and indicator lights.

The rear had LED combination side lights, air spoiler with high-mounted LED stop light and LED number plate lights.

Seat coverings included high grade nappa leather trim, with quilted nappa leather seat and interior trim on the top of the range model.

The second row seats split 60:40 with a folding centre armrest, giving access to the third row of seats that fold 50:50.

This seating combination gave greater passenger and load flexibility, equipping the car with one of the largest load spaces in its segment: more than 1800 litres.

Rexton was said to be one of the strongest
vehicles in its class, thanks to its robust, body-on-frame build. The car was stiffer than many monocoque-built competitors in this category, SsangYong claimed.

It used Quad-Frame structure, using 1.5Gpa-grade ultra-strength steel – a claimed world first.

Rexton had six airbags, including full-length side curtain airbags and came standard with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and High Beam Assist (HBA).

The ELX and Ultimate added two rear side airbags and a driver’s knee airbag, Blind Spot Detection (BSD), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Lane Change Assist (LCA).

The range-topping Ultimate added a sunroof, 360-degree camera and speed-sensitive steering.

Electronic safety aids now accepted as important standard equipment included brake assist, electronic brake force distribution and ABS, traction control, active rollover protection and an emergency stop signal.

It also featured electronic safety aids for driving off road: hill start assist and hill decent control.

Double wishbone suspension was fitted up front and 10-link independent suspension at the rear.

The Rexton had a rated towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes.

The advanced infotainment system included DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto. A high-resolution rear view-reversing camera displayed on a large 203mm screen.

The top of the range Rexton also got 3D, 360-degree monitoring to provide a clear view of the area surrounding the car, as well as rear cross traffic alert.

Other features included a Supervision instrument cluster with a sizeable 178mm LCD display for driver information and a ‘smart’ electronic tailgate on the top-specification model.

Like every model in the SsangYong Australia
range, the Rexton came with a comprehensive seven-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, seven years’ roadside assistance and seven years’ service price

Pricing at launch for the 4WD models was $46,990 for the ELX and $52,990 for the Ultimate. The seven-speed auto was soon replaced by an eight-speed.

SsangYong had serious financial problems that we’ve covered here and that have now been resolved.



2024 upgrades



The MY24 Rexton had a new dash layout and high-mounted 12.3-inch smart audio, with connectivity via two USB-C ports located in the centre console.

The dual-zone climate control hub scored touch screen control.

As with the Musso ute range, an Adventure model was added for MY24. 

For MY24, new lower body mounts were said to improve response to bumps.

The MY24 Rexton range was available in six body colours: Grand White, Pearl White, Atlantic Blue, Marble Grey, Graphite and Space Black.

Interior upholstery was available in premium woven fabric, leather look, or premium leather in the range-topping Ultimate and Sport Pack.

The exisiting 2.2L turbo diesel engine and eight-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift lever and steering wheel paddle shifts carried over for MY24.



All MY24 Rexton grades had advanced safety features: AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking), FCW (Forward Collision Warning), LDW (Lane Departure Warning), LCW (Lane Change-collision Warning), SDA (Safety Distance Alert), SHB (Smart High Beam). FVSW (front Vehicle Start Warning), DAW (Driver Attention Warning), BSW (Blind Sport Warning), RCTW (Rear Cross Traffic Warning) and SEW (Safety Exit Warning).

The ELX came with: seven seats; part-time 4WD with low range range and automatic-locking rear differential; 3.5-tonnes braked towing capacity; 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels; 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster; 12.3-inch touch screen audio; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; leather steering wheel with height and reach adjustment; dual-zone climate control; front auto up and down power windows; electric park brake; LED dusk-sensing headlights; LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL); LED front fog lights; LED rear combination lamps; heated and power adjustable door mirrors in body colour, with LED indicators; reverse camera and front and rear parking sensors. 

Adventure added: a power tailgate; leather-look seats with power adjustment; heated front and second row outer seats; cool-vented front seats; Speed Sensitive Power Steering (SSPS); heated steering wheel; Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS); walk-up welcome system and touch-sensing front door locks with walk-away auto-door locking.

The Ultimate added: a powered sunroof; premium quilted leather seats; 360° camera; third row HVAC controls; rear auto up and down power windows; ambient interior lighting; illuminated front door scuff plates and privacy glass.

The Sport Pack added to Ultimate: shadow chrome front grille, fog light surround, tailgate and rear bumper garnish; shadow chrome 20-inch alloy wheels and black roof rails.

RRPs at launch in late 2023 were: Rexton ELX, $50,000; Adventure, $54,000 and Ultimate, $58,000. The sport Pack added $2000 to the Ultimate model and all models had a $595 metallic paint charge.



On and off road


Our test vehicle was a 2019 Ultimate model, with all the fruit. Unfortunately, that ‘fruit’ included five chromed aluminium wheels in 20-inch size, shod with 50-profile tyres: great for steering, braking and handling on hot-mix black top, but completely out of harmony with Australian secondary, lumpy bitumen roads, gravel roads and bush tracks.

It’s a testimony to the reasonable approach and departure angles, and powerful traction control and hill descent control systems that we got as far as we did on our test fire trails.

We also managed some firm-sand driving, but shied away from soft beaches, because 50-profile tyres don’t deflate well.

If we were to buy a Rexton Ultimate, we’d ask the dealer to swap the wheel and tyre package for the 18-inchers that come on lower-spec models.

Getting in and out of the Rexton was made easy by its relatively low stance, but that, of course, compromised ground clearance for bush work. SsangYong may have calculated that its market lies in the urban SUV scene, where low-range gearing will be used only when getting the jet-ski trailer up and down boat ramps.

That’s a shame, because the Rexton’s chassis, springs, gearing and traction control are capable of serious bush work.

Even access to the kids-only third row seats was easy and all seating positions were adjustable and comfortable, with temperature and fan controls. The front seats also had fan-driven heating and cooling. The driver’s seat had memory power adjustment.

All controls were well laid out with good ergonomics and the Ultimate’s 360-degree camera and reversing image was among the best in the business. Apple CarPlay took all the guesswork out of navigation, phone and saved music functions.

The low-profile tyres were fine on smooth roads, but didn’t help the under-damped, four-coil, independent suspension cope with bumps. It positively hated corrugations and bush travellers would need to find suitable, quality dampers to replace the standard offerings. Unfortunately, SsangYongs have traditionally sold in small numbers, so there’s not much after-market suspension gear available.

SsangYong’s diesel engine was among the quietest we’ve tested and was well-matched to the ‘Benz seven-speed auto box. Performance was never an issue and shifts were jerk-free.

Provided your mission for the Rexton didn’t involve much lumpy road work it was excellent value for money at launch, we reckoned, with a price tag not much over 50 grand.

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