From September 2008 issue

List price when tested: £24,995
Kerbweight: 2099kg
85% match: 1784kg
Max towing weight: 3200kg
Towball limit: 140kg
Braking 30-0mph: 11.5m

YOU WON’T find many 4x4s as big as the Ssangyong Rexton which cost so little. With a two-tonne kerbweight and a sky-high towing limit, it looks a tempting buy for caravanners.

The Rexton doesn’t quite live up to this on-paper promise. Through our emergency lane-change test, the Ssangyong lurched and leaned, even at quite modest speeds. Vague steering didn’t inspire confidence.

Engine up to the job

However, the 2.7-litre engine was more than up to the job of pulling an Abbey Expression 550 with a Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass of 1500kg. Accelerating from 30-60mph, as you might when joining the motorway, took just 12.2 seconds.

If you need to stop in a hurry the Rexton slowed from 30mph in 11.5 metres. That’s respectable, but we’ve towed with several 4x4s which stop more quickly.

Leave the caravan behind, and the Rexton is not a great car to drive or travel in. The steering feels as if connected to the front wheels by elastic bands and the ride is jiggly and uncomfortable.

Reasonable space

Inside, space is reasonable, although not outstanding given how much room the Rexton takes up on the road. The option of a third row of seats is useful and luggage space is good if you choose the five-seat model.

Although the Ssangyong is cheap to buy, don’t expect it to be cheap to run. You can expect around 30.7mpg, if the official figures are to be believed. Keep in mind that the Rexton is predicted to lose value quickly from new, so it’s not quite as big a bargain as it first appears.

We say
Towing: 3/5
Solo: 2/5
Practicality: 3/5
Buying & owning: 3/5

Verdict: 2/5. A big heavy towcar for not much cash, but cumbersome to drive.

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