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Great SUV, good value for money given the choices available

By Purushotham Menon on 28 August 2013

Car's Age: 6-12 months

Summary

Overall Rating 5
Exterior 4
Interior 5
Ride Quality 4
Maintenance 1000/ month
Mileage (city) 6 KMPL
Mileage (highway) 10 KMPL

Detailed Ssangyong Rexton Review

What's Good?

The closest one can come to owning a M class merc without paying a bomb! A great effort by Ssangyong and a good choice by Mahindra, even though it would eat into the XUV market. A great package at 19.7 Lakhs odd (ex-showroom). has all the bell and whistles one expects in the high end cars seen in India today. While the M-class lineage is visible, Ssangyong has made enough subtle changes to give the car an identity of its own. The headlamps, tail lights and parking lights are signature styling and you can never mistake this car for any other similar models in the market. The ride and feel of the car is very good. The suspensions are sprung soft and this gives a comfortable ride on our pathetic roads. For all that bulk and tonnage the car zips when it reaches the required rpm. Some people may find the engine noisy on the lower rpms but remember thats a 2700cc power plant cranking out 184 bhp of power!! This is as true an SUV you can get at this price! If the engine noise bothers you pump up the volume of the CD/DVD player!! As expected with a power plant of this capacity the car returns only in the range of 7 to 10kmph per liter of diesel (depending on driving styles and road conditions). On the RX7 you get automatic tiptronic transmission which is by mercedes. Early tech & not the latest but still mercedes. There are 2 driving modes, standard and winter. Plus you can go to manual on the fly and control the gears on the steering wheel or by using a teeny weeny mouse like button on the gear knob. The drivers seat is fully adjustable (electrically) while the other seats are manual. 3 position memory and auto seat reverse for easy exit from the car when you switch off is a neat feature. Auto air-con, auto rain sensing wipers, auto headlights, cruise control, ABS, Hill descent control, heated ORVMs, polarising IRVM, leather upholstery and many more features. Fit and finish, paint job and interior decor and materials are on par with the best available today. The car comes with SAT/NAV built into the Kenwood CD/DVD/Ipod ready unit (Maps by mapmyindia) and features 4 speakers and 2 tweeters. There is an option of adding 2 more speakers on the rear hatch. The car comes with nice Hankook tubeless radials with nice looking mag wheels. All wheels have disc brakes only that the front ave ventilated discs while the rear are standard. On the whole a very nice car to drive and its been almost 10000km for me and no major issues so far. Now the only concern for me is if Mahindra service takes good care of this car as they have promised.

What can improve?

I am not an authority on the other SUVs available but I have driven them all before I decided on the Rexton. All things considered, right from the cost to number of features offered this car scores over all the others. Even so, I think the dashboard could have had some more info systems, like fuel consumption, service interval, etc. It would have given the car that much more modern appeal. The cars are being delivered with small irritating problems, I had a wheel alignment issue right from delivery which got worse after being attended by the dealer. Such problems create a lot of negative publicity. It causes the customer to lose confidence in the dealer & the capability of service being offered. After all an investment of 23 plus lakhs being handed over to people who cannot even align a wheel properly sounds scary! A reverse camera should be factory fitted. Making the customer pay 7000 for a ordinary 1500 camera is ridiculous! The kenwood unit already has the screen and wiring done. Only a camera has to be fitted. This is a cheap stunt. If the dealer has to make money why not display more recent models of the head unit and give the customer a chance for a buy back deal? The latest Kenwood systems are very attractive while the one supplied in the car is a 2011 model I think. The digital clock on the dashboard should be changed. It looks ancient as compared to the rest of the dash. At least change the colour to blue so it looks like its a part of the dash. While it is too early for me to comment about spares, costs of spares and such costs, the main concern according to me is service from the company. If they can deliver what they promise and manage to keep the costs controlled they are on a winning wicket with this car.

Exteriors (4/5)

4

Interiors (5/5)

5

Ride Quality (4/5)

4

Overall Comments

Good paint job but offering only 4 shades. Nicely reworked first generation mercedes M class lines with generous use of chrome in the front. The L shaped running lights are a definite head turner as are the eagle eye like head lamps. No other car in the market today has parking lights like these. Fog lamps on the front (nicely integrated into the bumper) and rear cluster is a good touch. Large wheel arches and overall stance is muscular without being over the top. The car is pretty big but you dont realise it till you compare it with other cars like the Fortuner. The car offers a very wide and large viewing area all around except for a blind spot at the junction of the A pillar and ORVMs. I am 5-6' so maybe it might be different for taller drivers. The sun roof, while not much use in our climes, is a good feature. I have noticed that it helps in cooling down a car very fast. Leave the car in the sun and when you get in later it is stifling. You have to crank up the AC and lower all the windows. With this sun roof I have discovered all you have to do is open it up and start the AC and the cooling is much faster. The ORVMs have provision for heating if the need arises.

High quality materials used inside. Seats, fabric, upholstery, steering wheel all have a premium feel. The dash is elegant and very functional. Everything you need is there but you cant help comparing with the BMWs, Audis & Skodas you get nowadays with additional digital info on the dash. A couple of these features would increase appeal further. The front seats are very comfortable. Driver gets fully electrically 8-way adjustable seats while everyone else gets the manual version. The second row of seats are perfect for us average height people. 6 footers would find the front seats better than the rear. Third row is strictly for small kids, pets and for those adults who like to lie down or maybe sit in Padmasan pose! Overall seats are not the soft sink into types and at the same time not super rigid either. The AC is quite powerful and cools the car very well. There are separate AC vents and blower with speed control provided for the 3 row which is very thoughtful. With the 3rd row seats down the boot space is very large. I could cram in 8 suitcases (3 large, 3 medium and 2 overnighters) without much problem. The interior lights are enough to light up the area quite well. Add on CD/DVD units with screens can be fitted into the head rests (front) at the dealers at extra cost. The control switches are laid out partly in european style and party in asian style. The RX7 has permanent all wheel drive so the dash has a blanked out area where the manual selector control used to be. The hand brake (conventional style) could have been a bit closer to the driver. A power outlet should be provided for the second row seats. There are totally 3 provided in the car but not in the middle row. A good feature is that the second row seats can recline which is useful on long drives. On the whole interiors are premium quality and if proper care is taken it should give good service for several years.

Ride quality is good. High seating position gives a great all around view except for that blind spot as described earlier. Suspensions are sprung soft and are supposed to stiffen with higher speeds. The car has auto ABS & skid control but yet has significant body roll. High speed cornering and turns definitely not recommended with this car. The gears are a bit sluggish in the sense that while pickup, after the small initial hesitation, is very impressive, the gears seem to linger in the lower levels even after reaching higher speeds. A tap on the accelerator sometimes convinces the gears to change. But once the car hits a steady 50-60 kmph it is pretty silent and with the music on you dont hear the engine at all. Engine is again audible post 120kmph. While switching over to manual mode the gears still behave as if they have a mind of their own. If you gun or rev the car in first gear, it simply changes to the next gear as if it knew better than you. Cruise control makes long distance driving a joy. Rain sensing wipers are efficient and you can adjust the sensitivity as against just the speed like in other cars. The maps provided are accurate. On my entire trip to the south it did not make a single mistake even through small villages and towns. Mahindra says they will update the software at first service. At 9500 kms I still dont hear any rattle or squeaks and for that I am thankful. Only time will tell how the car behaves over the years and what sort of service I will get from Mahindra.

I would definitely recommend this car. I have waited for it and was pleasantly surprised by the model released. I never thought they would release their latest model let alone add all the features it has come with since Mahindra would want to price it competitively in our market. But they have managed to pull it off which is great. I dont know who was responsible for the design of this car but I am certain it was not the team who designed the XUV. The XUV is design overkill and my personal opinion is that it looks quite ghastly. In comparison this car looks classy and stylish while still showing enough muscle. If Mahindra is trying to make the ownership of this car a elite experience then they should make sure that their service levels and quality does not slip up in any way because at the end of the day thats the only thing which will dissuade anybody from going in for this car today. And since I am already a customer I wish them all the luck there is. In conclusion I apologise if I have missed a feature or two but I plan to put down my Rexton experience as the years go by so it will get mentioned sometime or the other. Till then thank you.

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