Rexton – the car is quite unconventional literally in everything. Even the classification of its generations today turns out to be contradictory. Having appeared in 2001 as an alloy of efforts of the Italian atelier Italdesign, licensed technology Mercedes-Benz and labor of Korean workers and engineers, it existed without major changes until 2006, and the next update occurred after another six years. Someone believes the formal names Rexton I, II and III (or W) and considers them as separate generations. However, taking into account the fact that the technique during these modifications changed little, it is more correct to classify them as restyling, by which Rexton was kept on the assembly line until 2017 – that is, almost two decades.
In our country, it was even localized since 2005 by SeverstalAvto at ZMA, but it has not made the model noticeably more popular. And for the Russian buyer Rexton disappeared from the radar much earlier than 2017: local assembly for the model ended before others, and by 2015 SsangYong actually curtailed sales in Russia. So on the secondary market, there are mostly cars after the first restyling and rare cars after the second restyling. So, on sale on Avito at the time of writing there were just over 100 prestyled copies, almost 300 Rexton II and less than 50 Rexton III, which quite clearly reflects the ratio of sales in the former years.
One of the important arguments in favor of buying Rexton is a frame, and it is worth to start acquaintance with used copies. The frame rusts slowly but surely, so on neglected trucks the power-structure, especially in the back part, can already rot. It is worth to examine carefully both inside parts, and a state of metal in the areas of active influence of external environment. Among the latter is the area behind the front wheels: on the right side there is a frame number, which is actively rusting. Curiously, according to the evidences, the frames on Russian-made cars sometimes are unnumbered – but you should make sure it is unnumbered according to the documents, otherwise instead of a nice bonus you may get the refusal in registration. And also don’t forget about the condition inspection of body-frame mounting points: if worn out pads can be replaced, then loose rust under them is quite another matter.
The body is not the weakest point of the used Rexton, but it is not an example of corrosion resistance. The most problematic place for the owners of almost new cars was the frontal part: corrosion on the windshield frame, front struts and roof edge, as well as the hood appeared quickly and required prompt intervention. Correspondingly, now a hood of majority of cars is repainted, and a windshield area should be inspected with attention. It is also necessary to inspect the wheel arches, bottom edges of doors, bumpers-wing joints and sills, which are covered with plastic linings.
By the way, Rexton may have painted plastic bodykit around the perimeter, and may not – if there is plastic, it is worth to inquire about the condition of metal under it. Roof rails may need attention not only due to leaking of their mounting points, but also because of bulging of paint on the elements. The trunk door can also throw up surprises. In addition to red stains on the bottom edge and in a niche of a license plate, it is necessary to check the back window opening mechanism. It doesn’t open on all cars, but on those ones, where this option is available, the glass sometimes breaks in frost from the stress made by gas pads. Experienced owners even remove the stops for winter, and overly frugal sometimes “muffle” the new glass with sealant to forget about the problem forever.
One of the key complications of SsangYong maintenance is spare parts, and it’s worth saying a few words about them with regard to the body as well. Certainly, body parts for Rexton are not so expensive and exclusive as for some Hummer, but there are still questions both to complexity of selection of spare parts and their cost. For instance, a front fender costs 12 to 15 thousand depending on the year of manufacture, a hood – from 25 to 50 and more, a door – the same 25 and more… In all cases we are talking about original parts, there are almost no substitutes. But if 25 thousands for a door is not so exorbitant amount, the same 25-30 thousands for a bumper – it is already inhumane. The headlamp depending on the year of issue can cost from 15 to 30 thousand rubles, and the price is only due to originality. A windshield, fortunately, has analogs: instead of the original for 20 thousand rubles it is possible to buy something for 4-15 thousand. A cracked rear window is 15-20k for an original and 7-10k for an analogue. And if we add to the prices of spare parts the selection difficulties, when even a search by VIN does not always guarantee the arrival of a suitable part, we understand that the life of the owner is not very simple, and restoration after an accident is a separate entertainment.
The running gear is also an occasion for some reflections. The fact is that even here variants are possible: depending on the motor and type of transmission the rear suspension can be both dependent with uncut rear axle, and independent. Anyway this question can hardly be considered as a decisive one. The suspension is notorious for validity and low service life of many elements, although someone manages to pick up components so that to remain satisfied. The question of spare parts rarity is actual here as well, though it is not so critical because of not so high prices for many original parts. For example, the front lower arms cost 6-8 thousand apiece, the rear transverse levers of independent suspension are not cheaper, but the “links” can be bought for 2 thousand. Small stuff like stabilizer bars are inexpensive – about 600 rubles. Somewhere you can find substitutes: for example, shock absorbers in original box cost 4 thousand, and parts from Mando – 2.5. True, there are also more complicated items: for example, front hub bearings complete with a hub. The original costs under 20 thousand, and it is inhuman, but even in spite of the fact that substitutes are available from 5 thousand, the part from a famous manufacturer will still be more expensive than 10 thousand.
The situation with the brakes is similar: they are disc brakes in front in any case, but drums at the back on the axle machines. Complaints about brake service life are not so frequent, and fortunately there is a range of spare parts. For example, a front brake disk costs 5-6 thousand for the original, and from 1.5 for a substitute, and the rear can be bought for about the same money. The drums are much more expensive to rebuild – here in neglected case you can spend more than 15 thousand just for spare parts. So the recommendations will be quite standard: check the condition of calipers and lines, and also the work of brake drums and parking brakes in order to estimate in advance the amount of potential investments. The same is true for power steering: it does not differ neither with unusual illnesses, nor with remarkable resource, so leaks and knocks are possible after 100-120 thousand. Fortunately, in extreme cases, the rack can be usually replaced not only on original for 40thousand, but also on restored for 17-20th, or rebuilt for comparable money.
The Rexton had, perhaps, even too many schemes of transmission for not so mass automobile. Judge for yourself: the pre-re-styling cars had the schemes with permanent four-wheel drive without step-down and with a rigidly connected front axle, and here in the transfer case was a full-fledged step-down gearbox. With the first restyling it became possible to choose the truck with automatically connected front axle (the scheme torque-on-demand), and after the second restyling – all rear-drive versions. In general, unlike a suspension, a design of all-wheel drive could well become one of the key questions when choosing a car. Worse, for this purpose it is necessary to understand the intricacies of combinations of motors, transmissions and schemes of transmission, which also changed during manufacture. For example, before the restyling the petrol engine was combined with a switchable all-wheel drive, and after it – with permanent all-wheel drive without a downshift and uncut rear axle. It is the same story with diesels: junior XDi is usually front wheel drive and lowering, and senior XVT – permanent all-wheel drive and independent suspension.
In general, it can be difficult to choose something concrete without corresponding preparation and patience. Besides, nuances of examination will differ depending on the type of drive: for example, one of weak points at the scheme with a detachable front axle is vacuum clutches of front wheels connection. In cars with automatic front wheel coupling, it is worth checking transfer gearbox. And also general recommendations for checking transfer gearbox and reducers oil condition, checking noisiness of all-wheel drive, cardan joints and splined joints condition. The rear axle can be equipped with a limited slip differential – in this case the oil condition check is obligatory, as well as the block itself.
After all we’ve learned about transmission and suspension, is it surprising that the transmissions are also various and non-standard. Initially the Rexton received a four-speed automatic M74LE from the Australian company BTR, which later under the name DSI was purchased by concern Geely. A little later the venerable automatic gearbox 5G-Tronic with the index 722.6 was added to the list of available automatics. In general, the Australian automatic can be called pretty good, although at the age of more than 10 years the question of overhaul is already urgent, because the life of the box hardly exceeds 150-200 thousand kilometers. Moreover, compared to the popular automatic transmission this one is worse mastered by masters, and the order of spare parts can be more complicated.
Against this background, the Mercedes automatic looks unambiguously preferable. Even though it got rid of its childhood illnesses a few years after the start of production, but it is familiar to everyone for repair, and its service life with good maintenance can exceed 300 thousand kilometers. Those who want to switch gears independently are addressed by manual transmission – usually six steps, which has replaced the five steps. Telling the truth, there are not many cars with it – about 20 % from all offers. Here one should remember not only about a clutch service life, which will cost 12-17 thousand depending on a version, not including hydraulic release bearing for 4 thousand, but also about a service life of dual mass flywheel. It will cost about 40 thou, which is not prohibitively expensive on general background, but very expensive for the car with average cost of 500-600 thou.
Engines with Mercedes pedigree were and still are one of the important arguments that guide the purchase of the Rexton. The German roots are really there, and you can’t call the engines bad. Most of the cars are equipped with diesels, the most common variants were two-liter four-cylinder D20DT and five-cylinder D27DT. It was D29DT, the prototype of which was German OM602 – archaic, but very reliable. With the restyling it became a thing of the past and a 2.7-liter common rail diesel engine, built under the license and likeness of OM612, came to the forefront. It has two power options on the Rexton: the XDi version has 165 hp, and the XVT has 186 horsepower. Both it and the four-cylinder D20DT are very good, and all possible problems are quite typical for diesels. The biggest potential investments are connected with fuel equipment and supercharging: here the injectors are 18-20 thousand, and HPF for 40, and a turbine for 30 (it will be a unit from Garrett, the original is twice as expensive). But there is a chance for success – there are still cars on the market that have gone 100 or less thousand kilometers, which is not much for a diesel.
One more good variant is a petrol 3,2-liter atmospheric G32P engine, which prototype is not young Mercedes M104. It is an in-line “six” with a cast-iron block, chain drive of timing and distributed injection – very reliable, provided good care and attention to cooling and lubrication. From the disadvantages can be noted only the power of 220 hp, which does not satisfy the thrifty owners, and the consumption of 15-17 liters per one hundred. Besides, there are few cars with this engine in the secondary market – in the structure of supply they are only about a quarter.
And now, having briefly understood with features of SsangYong Rexton, it is possible to try to form the portrait of an optimum copy. We must say at once that it is actually impossible to choose “absolutely optimum” car here: someone will certainly want manually shifted four-wheel drive and continuous axle in company with a frame, someone will not want to refuse a downshift, let it be with automatically shifted front, and someone will look for a rear-drive automobile (such, by the way, though in pieces, but in sale can be found). And loops with motors and gearboxes only adds mess in formation of an image of “the most preferable” variant. The year of manufacture, mileage and technical condition will be the most important for the man of no principle. It is difficult to consider Rexton as outstanding off-roader all the same, and its tuning is not justified, so it is possible to concentrate on basic consumer qualities. We can start with the engine: although the gasoline is very good, but expensive in terms of tax and consumption, and quite rare, so it is easier to look for a car with a 2.7-liter diesel. Depending on power, it can have different types of all-wheel drive, and the most powerful 186-horsepower cars have permanent all-wheel drive without a downshift. Taking into account the moderate off-road ambitions and the mentioned before problems with front wheel clutches, such variant can be considered quite decent for those who need the big capacious frame car with an opportunity to move down to country roads sometimes. So, if you will not take to heart the words of those who will call your car “a frame crossover”, it is possible to prefer such variant – with a moderate run, in a rich complete set and in good condition. And if we take into account that you can get all this for the price of a used UAZ Patriot, the purchase seems even more justified.