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[Behind the Wheel] SsangYong’s New Rexton Sports Khan proves pickups can go smart, too

SsangYong’s New Rexton Sports Khan (SsangYong)
SsangYong’s New Rexton Sports Khan (SsangYong)
For SsangYong, Rexton is not simply a flagship SUV model that has significantly pulled up its sales among its complete lineup of SUVs ranging from those in the small segment to pickup trucks.

Following an unprecedented bumper year in 2015 for the small SUV model Tivoli, SsangYong needed to continue the momentum to keep the nickname “leader of SUV.” The fourth generation Rexton, launched in 2017, recorded a 200 percent growth rate that year.

A year later, SsangYong took its well-selling Rexton, combined it with its existing pickup truck model Korando Sports, to give birth to its signature pickup model Rexton Sports, hinting that it will compete against both SUVs and pickups.

And it worked. Debt-ridden SsangYong’s only profitable model is their pickup truck, seizing 82 percent of the market share here last year. SsangYong is the only Korean carmaker that makes pickups.

Despite pickups often being advertised for its roughness on the road and capaciousness in the back storage, the New Rexton Sports Khan has become softer inside, is equipped with 16 advanced driver-assistance functions, upgraded their connected car service InfoConn and comes with a mobile key. 

SsangYong’s New Rexton Sports Khan (Ssangyong)
SsangYong’s New Rexton Sports Khan (Ssangyong)


During the test drive of New Rexton Sports Khan’s high-end version, Expedition, on a 65-kilometer route from Yeoungdeung-po in Seoul to Paju, Gyeonggi Province, the vehicle was overwhelmingly large for a 158-centimeter-tall reporter.

The vehicle was 5,406 millimeters in full length, 1,885 millimeters in height and 1,950 millimeters in width. Its open-style deck can store up to and 700 kilograms and 1,262 liters for the Sports Khan model, 24.8 percent larger than the Sports model.

Steps underneath the front doors and rear steps under the deck allowed easy access of the vehicle.

Despite its huge size, driving was not difficult at all thanks to functions such as the lane keeping assist system and blind-spot collision-avoidance assist. The 3D around view and rear view monitor parking guide system allowed easy parking.

The New Rexton Sports Khan offers heated Nappa leather seats that can be turned on before starting the car through a mobile application key.

A high-quality 9-inch display and 12.3-inch digital cluster offers more things to explore in the infotainment system such as controlling temperature and searching news and music through voice recognition. SsangYong has adopted its connected car service InfoConn for the first time in its pickup.

After driving the New Rexton Sports Khan, it felt more akin to a family SUV than a pickup truck. 

SsangYong’s New Rexton Sports Khan (Ssangyong)
SsangYong’s New Rexton Sports Khan (Ssangyong)


The upgraded pickup houses a maximum of 202 horsepower with an improved engine and up to 45 kilogram-meters of torque to rhythmically drive the 2.2-ton vehicle.

Road noise did seep into the car while driving on the rough road, but it was a similar level compared to driving a midsize sedan. SsangYong said it has reduced engine noise and made it easier to navigate rough road surfaces with the quad-frame body.

Of all, the best part about the New Rexton Sports Khan is its price.

The Sports model begins from 25.1 million won, while the most high-end Khan model’s Expedition version costs 39.8 million won. It is much more economical compared to rivals Chevrolet Colorado (40.5 million won) and Ford Ranger (49.9 million won).

But what was missing was an adaptive cruise control function, although it has been upgraded with a deep control system renovation. Maybe that is why the upgraded New Rexton Sports Khan can stay in the 30 million-won price range.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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