The SsangYong Rexton RX 270 Xdi is the newest member of the fashionable 4x4 club and has distinctive styling and features, but its designer running boards limit the vehicle's off-road capabilities.

The SsangYong Rexton RX 270 Xdi is the newest member of the fashionable 4x4 club and has distinctive styling and features, but its designer running boards limit the vehicle's off-road capabilities.


The Rexton is a familiar (Korean) face on the market and its lineup now includes a derivative fitted with a refined diesel engine and transmission of German heritage.


The SsangYong RX 270 Xdi is aimed at the upper medium sector of the SUV market and Associated Motor Holdings hope that the new model's distinctive styling, impressive features and powerplant, sourced from DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz unit, will translate into good sales. The model is offered with "T Tronic" five-speed automatic, again developed in conjunction with Mercedes-Benz, or five-speed manual transmissions.


The Rexton is a genuine seven seater and offered with ABS and EBD, four dual stage airbags and auto lock doors (activated at 50 km/h). Luxury items include full leather trim, electrically-adjustable driver's seat, climate control, CD front loader, the ever popular cup holder as well as some other gadgets that are a triumph of form over function. There is a card-holding "slot" situated on the centre console, below the radio display.


An additional display, extending above the dash, supplies the driver with an altitude metre and barometric pressure reading. Not to mention an arcade style graphic, with flashing lights, that is set to mimic the speed that the vehicle is travelling at.


Exterior styling is distinctive, with an over-sized spoiler mounted above the rear window. Roof rails are among some of the fashionable features that are supplied standard on the Rexton. Others include a moulded bull bar as well as metallic inlays, or garnish, as SsangYong calls it, follow the shape of the wheel arch and along the shadow line of the doors. Running boards are a standard too, but slightly limit the vehicle's off road capabilities.


Low range and as 4-H transmission modes reassure the driver that, should the challenge be set, the SsangYong could hold it's own off road. Shift on the fly four-wheel drive is also possible.


On tarred roads, where most SUVs are in their element, ride is on the firmer side and some thumping could be heard inside the cabin when travelling over rougher roads. The Rexton's engine produces 121 kW at 4 000 r/min from the very smooth 2,7-litre diesel engine, also to be found in the Mercedes Benz ML 270. Peak torque of 340 N.m is produced at 2 400 r/min.


SsangYong claims a 0-100 km/h time of 13,2 seconds, while, often a very important consideration for a vehicle of this size, the new diesel Rexton is claimed to used 8,9 litre per 100 km for the manual and 9,9 litres per 100 km for the tiptronic auto.


Since AMH took over SsangYong in April 2001 there have been no price increases throughout the brand while a 60 000 km/three-year maintenance plan is standard on all models.


The new SsangYong Rexton 270 Xdi costs R 369 800 for the manual and R 379 800 for the automatic. An executive Rexton 320 will join the range in the near future.