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[Behind the Wheel] SsangYong’s Rexton returns younger, stronger

New Rexton adopts bold changes in appearance and driving assistance programs as family SUV

SsangYong Motor’s new Rexton (SsangYong Motor)
SsangYong Motor’s new Rexton (SsangYong Motor)

YEONGJONGDO, Incheon -- SsangYong Motor’s new Rexton has returned, with a bolder look and enhanced driving assistance systems.

Introducing the new Rexton after launching the previous Rexton G4 model in 2017, the automaker said it sought to create a young and trendy vibe for the upper-mid-sized sports utility vehicle, targeting families that enjoy leisure activities.

The company expects the upgrade to raise the popularity of Rexton, which has been preferred by those seeking abundant interior space and affordable price, the automaker said.

After opening preorders on Oct. 19, SsangYong Motor said it received orders for 3,800 units before the official launch on Nov. 4. Adding up all purchase contracts made up to Nov. 11, the new Rexton has already sold 5,500 units, the company said.

The Korea Herald took the new Rexton for a test drive -- 55 kilometers around the island of Yeongjongdo -- on Nov. 12.

Replacing the Rexton G4 after four years, the latest Rexton embraced bold changes both inside and outside.

For the face, the automaker introduced a new large diamond-shape radiator grille, riding on the trend for bigger grilles.

The new Rexton glided along the coastal roads of Yeongjongdo, with ample stability and excellent interior noise control, blocking the whistling of the strong wind and other cars swooshing past. 

The newest Rexton is equipped with a 2.0-liter diesel engine that can exert up to 202 horsepower and a maximum torque of 45 kilogram-meters, up 15 horsepower and 2 kilogram-meters from the previous Rexton G4.

As the car weighs just over 2,000 kilograms, it did not have the lightest feeling when driving, but it was powerful enough to enjoy the speed.

The D-shaped steering wheel, newly introduced for the model, added a touch of sportiness to the driving experience. 

SsangYong Motor’s new Rexton D-shape steering wheel (Jo He-rim/The Korea Herald)
SsangYong Motor’s new Rexton D-shape steering wheel (Jo He-rim/The Korea Herald)

Intelligent adaptive cruise control has been applied, and it worked nicely to keep the car in the lane and also maintain a good distance with the car ahead.

The new Rexton adopted various advanced driver assistance systems from the entry trim, Luxury, including a blind-spot warning system and autonomous emergency braking systems.

The latest Rexton maintains storage space of 820 liters without folding the second-row seats -- a selling point for family travelers.

The car would also be suitable for car campers, as the trunk space increases to 1,977 liters -- enough to accommodate two adults -- with the rear seats folded down.

Looking at the preorders, the middle trim, the Prestige model, was most popular, accounting for 54 percent of contracts signed. The highest trim, the Black model, came to 41 percent, with the Luxury taking 5 percent.

According to the automaker, the new Rexton has attracted more female drivers compared to the Rexton G4. While 15 percent of Rexton G4 purchasers were women, the percentage rose to 29 percent for the latest Rexton when looking at preorders, the automaker explained.

The price of the new Rexton’s Luxury trim is 36.9 million won ($33,300), with the Prestige at 41.7 million won and the Black at 49.7 million won.

By Jo He-rim (
Korea Herald Youtube