[TEST DRIVE] New Rexton Sports Khan offers unfashionable functionality
There is one area cash-strapped SsangYong Motor is doing well in — pickup trucks.
Being the only domestic carmaker offering a pickup truck, its New Rexton Sports Khan model accounted for some 82 percent of market share in Korea’s pickup truck market from January to November last year.
It has also become the carmaker’s savior, accounting for about half of the cars the company sold in domestic market last year.
The New Rexton Sports Khan has made a comeback with a bolder look and improved specifications. The diesel-engine truck can generate a maximum 202 horsepower and up to 45 kilogram-meters in torque, which is an about 8 percent and 5 percent increase from the previous version, respectively.
The Korea JoongAng Daily recently got behind the wheel of the Expedition trim of the pickup truck, the highest level trim, to test on a 50-kilometer (31-mile) course around Seoul starting from Times Square shopping mall in Yeongdeungpo, western Seoul. The test drive was originally planned for an off-road course, which the car is designed for, but was changed at the last minute in line with concerns about the spread of Omicron.
When walking to the parking lot, a smartphone was provided to start the engine. Before getting into the car there is the option of turning on the heating through the Infoconn app.
The first thing one notices, of course, is the large cargo bed, which is one of the most important factors for pickup trucks drivers. The cargo bed carry up to 1,262 liters (333 gallons).
Getting in the car, the first impression was that the interior looks quite old-fashioned, reminding this reporter of models from the early 2010s.
One notable change in the latest version is the voice recognition system. When asked about the weather, the level of micro-dust or requesting specific songs, it answered right away, even while the reporter was wearing a mask.
Due to its size, the truck easily veered out of its lane, however, the lane assistance system automatically detected the lane and moved the truck back.
It felt like it took a long time to accelerate after pressing the accelerator pedal — one of the most common disadvantages of pickup trucks.
Noise and vibration were quite noticeable, but it was understandable after the company explained that the car was equipped with cooper tires, which are specialized for off-road driving.
The cost may be the biggest advantage of the New Rexton Sports Khan. Its sticker price starts from 29.9 million won ($25,100), and under 40 million won even with the highest trim and full options. The prices of its rivals like Chevrolet’s new Colorado begin from 40.5 million won, Ford’s Ranger Wildtrak from 49.9 million won and Jeep's Gladiator from 70.7 million won.
The New Rexton Sports Khan pickup truck comes in four options depending on the specifications: Wild, Prestige, Noblesse and Expedition.
“The New Rexton Sports Khan is second to none compared to imported pickup trucks in terms of horsepower and torque, but it is cheaper,” said a SsangYong Motor official.
“The vehicle will attract truck lovers as it offers various functions that other brands don’t have.”
BY SARAH CHEA [firstname.lastname@example.org]