SsangYong Rexton Van
Based on the Rexton SUV, but with the rear seats replaced by a load floor, the CS offers a good payload and load capacity for a 4x4 van
The SsangYong Rexton CS is based on the Rexton SUV, which was first launched in the UK some years ago. It follows normal practice for such a conversion by having the rear seats removed and replaced with a flat load floor. The rear doors are retained and the glass replaced with solid panels. The doors help to improve access to the front of the load area. Power comes from a licence-built Mercedes five-cylinder 2.7-litre diesel engine, which was phased out of the Mercedes European range some years ago. It's available with either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic gearbox. The lack of a sixth gear may contribute to the comparatively poor fuel consumption of this 4x4 van.
MPG and Running Costs
The licence-built 2.7-litre Mercedes five-cylinder diesel powered an earlier version of the Mercedes M-Class, E-Class and C-Class car ranges. It's now fairly uncompetitive in terms of fuel consumption, offering combined fuel economy of 31.4mpg, with the five-speed manual gearbox, or 30.1mpg with the five-speed automatic gearbox. It’s age shows in the service intervals, too, which are set at 10,000 miles. The Mitsubishi Shogun offers better combined fuel consumption – between 34.4mpg and 36.2mpg for automatic and manual variants, respectively –and longer service intervals at 12,500 miles/12 months, although the Shogun costs around £10,000 more to buy than the Rexton. The Land Rover Defender 110 offers a close price match to the Rexton, but poorer fuel consumption at 28.3mpg combined and longer service intervals at 12,000 miles/12 months. The Rexton is rated in insurance group 12, similar to the Shogun, which is in groups 10-12 and the Defender, which is in group 12.
Load Space and Practicality
The Rexton offers a similar load space to other 4x4 van conversions in that the rear doors are retained, which helps access to the front of the load area, has a load floor fitted in place of the rear seats and is equipped with a tailgate at the rear. The tailgate makes loading with a forklift difficult, although the restricted opening of the rear door in the Shogun is probably not a great improvement on this. The load floor is not particular long, compared with a small panel van, such as the Citroen Berlingo XTR+ (1,800mm), which offers some off-road capability using the PSA Grip Control system to improve traction in slippery and off-road conditions. The Berlingo also offers a taller and wider load space, reflected in the load volume, which is one third larger than the Rexton. The Rexton’s payload is greater than the Berlingo XTR’s, though – 740kg to the Berlingo’s 661kg. The Shogun offers a little more payload than the Rexton at 755kg, but the Rexton has a larger load space. The Land Rover Defender 110 offers over 1,000kg in payload, and the load space is longer and wider than the SsangYong’s. 4x4 vans are popular tow vehicles and the Rexton can manage a braked trailer up to 3,200kg, which puts it near the top of the class. Shogun models can tow up to 3,500kg, as can the Land Rover Defender, but the Rexton is not that seriously outclassed. The respectable load space, combined with four-wheel drive, makes the Rexton a suitable vehicle for a range of uses, perhaps for utility, agriculture and forestry companies that need to access remote installations not readily accessible in a conventional van. A full-height bulkhead is standard equipment, featuring a solid-steel lower section and mesh upper.
Reliability and Safety
The Rexton uses a licence-built Mercedes engine, so you might expect it to be a reliable unit. That seems to be the case, and buyers seem generally satisfied with the model. There seem to be few reported problems, although that may be because the Rexton CS is relatively rare. It comes well stocked with safety features, including ESC electronic stability control with active rollover protection and hill descent control as standard. Front airbags are standard, although side airbags are not available with the model.
Driving and Performance
The 2.7-litre diesel offers a healthy power output at 165bhp and similarly good torque at 340Nm. The five-cylinder diesel engine makes a distinctive sound and is a refined engine. Not surprisingly it pulls well, which is useful for towing. Like other vehicles designed for off-road use, it tends to roll more than a conventional van. The chassis is best suited to more leisurely progress, thanks to the body roll. In all, it feels like a rather old-fashioned SUV, which isn't surprising given that the Rexton has been around for some 12 years. The light steering adds to the old-fashioned feel of the car, too. Off-road, the Rexton makes a better case for itself and benefits from low range ratios for when the going gets really tough.
Cab and Interior
Dated is probably the best way to describe the interior. The materials don’t look or feel like quality items and it doesn't seem to be as well put together as later models from Korean manufacturers. There are large, comfortable seats and remote controls on the steering wheel for the audio system, however. Like other converted passenger models, storage space is not as abundant as in a purpose-built van. Electric windows are standard equipment as is cruise control, automatic air-conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity. The Rexton, like other SsangYong models, comes with a comprehensive five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, which covers wheel bearings, suspension joints, steering joints, suspension bushes, shock absorbers and the audio system.
(Width including door mirrors: 2,508mm)
Load area dimensions
(Width between wheel arches: 1,020mm)
- Power: 165bhp
- Weight (GVW): 2,760kg
- Payload: 740kg
- Loading height (approx, unladen) : 750mm