Advertisement

‘The SsangYong Rexton is pretty much a Swiss Army knife on wheels’

Mike Rutherford reflects on the unglamorous, durable SsangYong marque compared to the likes of Land Rover

Opinion - SsangYong Rexton

Grabbed an £8 cup of lukewarm tea, plus a local broadsheet newspaper in a Seoul hotel cafe last Friday. ‘Partial strike adds to Hyundai Motor headaches’ was the first headline. ‘Korea’s auto industry faces crisis’ another one screamed.

But those alleged problems apply more to giants like Hyundai-Kia than minnows such as SsangYong. This is a small, maverick, underdog firm that knows its tiny place in the colossal automotive world.

Advertisement - Article continues below

SsangYong’s unapologetic thing is unglamorous, durable, value-for-money, long-lasting workhorses that are so niche there’s likely to be only one – if that – in every town. This makes them borderline exclusive – a bit like Ferraris... and Infinitis.

SsangYong (meaning Double Dragon) is confident without being cocky. And it’s realistic enough to admit that although it may not have a showroom near you, it does possess an army of professionals who’ll bring products to the driveways or workplaces of prospective customers. Clever, that.

It’ll turn away nobody, but it seems happiest with horsey-types, vets, farmers and salt-of-the-earth folk who need to tow heavy loads. Drivers who just crave something different are also in the mix. It’s a bit corny to call SsangYongs affordable, do-anything, go-anywhere Swiss Army knives on wheels. But that’s pretty much what they are.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

• Best tow car of 2017

The company has a point when it says that although a new one might cost around half as much as an equally new Land Rover, the SsangYong won’t be half the product with half the capabilities. Far from it. Another way of looking at all this is to remember that a high-spec, surprisingly handsome/durable/well equipped, fresh-from-the-factory all-new Rexton with a five-year warranty might cost about the same as a secondhand, out-of-warranty Jeep Grand Cherokee or Land Rover Discovery.

Talking of the latter, it’s now less of a workhorse earning its keep out in the field, more of a luxury car for upmarket urban streets, SsangYong says. “The new Discovery; it’s become too posh to pull,” company insiders cheekily allege. And with that Disco coming in as high as £59,000, the Rexton’s a comparative steal starting at just £27,500. What’s more, the SsangYong feels tough and willing enough to pull all day and all night. Best all-new car of the summer? Er, no. Best value for money? Possibly.

Do you think SsangYongs will replace Land Rovers in fields and rural roads up and down the country? Let us know in the comments below...

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

'VW Group management shake-up could be crucial to the car choice facing UK buyers'
Opinion

'VW Group management shake-up could be crucial to the car choice facing UK buyers'

Deputy editor John McIlroy points to outgoing Skoda boss as a key reason for the firm's success
15 Jul 2020
"Despite the tragedy of 2020 so far, several intriguing developments emerged in the final week of June"
Opinion

"Despite the tragedy of 2020 so far, several intriguing developments emerged in the final week of June"

Mike Rutherford recounts some significant stories that may have passed you by in recent weeks
12 Jul 2020
'Sorry Jeep, but Kia now makes the best all-American SUV'
Kia

'Sorry Jeep, but Kia now makes the best all-American SUV'

With Kia winning the World Car of the Year 2020 award with the American-built Telluride, Mike Rutherford believes Kia has beaten Jeep at their own gam…
18 Apr 2020
'Costs may drop, but buyers’ expectations don’t'
News

'Costs may drop, but buyers’ expectations don’t'

Just because premium brands can offer cheap finance deals, it doesn't mean that they can fob buyers off with poor customer service, says Deputy editor…
15 Apr 2020

Most Popular

New Ferrari Roma 2020 review
Ferrari Roma

New Ferrari Roma 2020 review

The new Ferrari Roma GT is the iconic Italian brand’s latest offering – and it’s a big improvement
4 Aug 2020
New 2022 Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 rewrites the supercar rule book
News

New 2022 Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 rewrites the supercar rule book

The new three-seat Gordon Murray T.50 is a spiritual successor to the McLaren F1, with two-thirds of the 100-car run already sold ahead of its 2022 ar…
4 Aug 2020
MPs to consider graduated driving licences
News

MPs to consider graduated driving licences

Transport Committee to hold evidence session looking at how graduated licencing could mitigate the risk novice drivers face on the road
3 Aug 2020