Sunday, 12 April 2015

The latest SUV from Mahindra and Mahindra-SsangYong

The latest SUV from Mahindra and Mahindra-SsangYong

Mahindra launched its first car as a joint venture with Ssangyong motors in the year 2012 as Rexton. It lies in the premium SUV segment.

Mahindra and Mahindra main objective when it decided to buy controlling stake in SsangYong Motors, in February 2011 was to increase Mahindra and Mahindra share in SUV segment. SsangYong is the South Korea fourth largest car manufacturing company. Mahindra and Mahindra’s first premium SUV XUV5OO had created ripples in the Indian auto market after it was launched last year and now in 2013Mahindra &Mahindra has introduced its latest car Ssangyong Rexton- a premium SUV. Rexton is mainly a muscular body-on-frame SUV. Mahindra and Mahindra has unveiled this new model of 2013 in order to give tough competition to SUVs like the Toyota, Fortuner, Mitsubishi, Pajero Sport and Ford Endeavour. For Mahindra, the decision to bring SsangYong to India was an obvious choice as the Korean car model has previously performed well in India. And the wait is finally over as Mahindra SsangYong Rexton has been presented as first brand new SUV fromMahindra-SsangYongconglomerate.

Rexton is one of the oldest SUVs being manufactured by SsangYong Motor Company since late 2001. It is a mid-sized Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) based on the Mercedes-Benz M-Classplatform. Rexton is equipped with some of the world class features and offers a quiet on-road performance, off-road capability and smooth car-like handling. Rexton is preferably a 5-seater SUV but can also be configured into a seven-seater SUV. The 2001 model of this SUV was revamped by the SsangYong in 2006 and renamed as Rexton II.

The present model of Rexton that has been introduced by Mahindra&Mahindra is its third generation model. The first generation of Rexton was produced from 2001 to 2006 by the company. That Rexton was then available in three engine options and single four-wheel drive option. A 2.7 litre engine producing a maximum power of 164 PS was one of the three variants that powered this SUV. It had a peak torque of 342 Nm and was a common rail diesel engine. All the engines used in Rexton were manufactured under the license from Mercedes-Benz.

After the Korean market, Rexton was first introduced in Europe in 2003. Some modificationswere made in original Rexton. Technically, the new SUV was based on a slightly extended chassis of the SsangYong Musso when it was introduced in Europe. A 2.9-liter five-cylinder diesel enginethat generatedpower of 122 PSand a 3.2-liter gasoline engine that generated power of 223 PS were the two options that were then available for this SUV in Europe. The transmission options available in the diesel model of Rexton were either a four-speed automatic with a gearbox from BTR Automotive (an Australian Company) or a five-speed manual with a gearbox from Tremec (an American Company).  Automatic transmission was offered only in the petrol variant of Rexton. The second generation Rexton was manufactured by SsangYong in 2006. The second generation of this SUV was launched in order to meet the changing demands of the buyers.Competitive Supreme Sdn Bhd (CSSB) assembles Rexton II in Malaysia. CSSB is the only importer and distributor of SsangYong vehicles in Malaysia.

The third generation Rexton has now been unveiled by Mahindra and Mahindra in India. It is a full grown seven-seater SUV. Mahindra & Mahindra first displayed Rexton at the Auto Expo, 2012, New Delhi, along with another crossover car, Mahindra Korando that has also been developed in association with Ssangyong Motors. Mahindra & Mahindra brought the Korean firm’s vehicles in India for the first time.

In November 2010, Mahindra & Mahindra had signed a definitive agreement with Ssangyong Motor Company for acquiring 70 per cent stake in the South Korean auto maker. SsangYong motors was on the verge of bankruptcy whenMahindra&Mahindrapaid an estimated amount of Rs. 2,105 crores in purchasing controlling stake. Apart from its iconic XUV500, Mahindra and Mahindra has other utility vehicles like Scorpio, Bolero and Xylo MPV in India.

Mahindra’s Rexton is the latest addition to this rapidly growing segment. Rexton is the first product from Mahindra& Mahindra-owned SsangYong in India. And it has been getting accolades since its launch, as it comes with a lower price tag than its competitor SUVs like Toyota. This new generation Mahindra Rexton is also based on the first-generation Mercedes-Benz M-class.It is equipped with lot of technology from Mercedes-Benz that is because SsangYong had technological collaboration with Daimler-Benz in 1991.

This SUV from Mahindra & Mahindrahas all new exteriors. The curved headlamps, the arc-grille laced with chrome, the sharply styled fog lamps and the long roof rails all gives a burly look to Rexton. Mahindra Rexton is a good-looking sturdy SUV. Rexton doesn’t look as big as its dimensions suggest but the SUV is long and wide compared to other SUVs of the same segment. The front slanting bonnet with the chrome grille and large SsangYong badge provides Mahindra Rexton an immense presence. The projector headlights are also engraved from inside. Indicators are present as separate parts and are present on the bumper.

Maybe at first sight Mahindra Rexton doesn’t look that aggressive due to the soft lines present in exteriors but the soft lines are deceiving. Although this softness of charactersomewhat extends to the rear as well with a smart set of vertical tail lamps. The black cladding all round the lower edge has disguised the SUV’s height and makes it look sportier. The black coloured cladding also enhances the flared wheel arches. The stylish raked D-pillar line is more accentuated by the rear window. The spare wheel is usually fitted on the rear gate of cars in this segment but in Rexton, it finds its place under the boot.  LED tail lamp is divided into three columns that gives this SUV a good look and is in synchronisation with the overall style quotient of Mahindra Rexton.

Rexton’s exteriors have been styled using excess of chrome. The extra usage may look odd to some of the buyers. Rexton has great off-roading capabilities that are further enhanced by an elevated stance. This SUV operates with an ease on all different kind of terrains. The whooping ground clearance of 252mm provides Mahindra Rexton a perfect smooth ride in difficult conditions. The rear lamps are in the design continuity.The confident D pillar flaunts a ‘W’ suffix in the latest SUV model of SsangYong Rexton. There are so many badges present on the body of Rexton but they don’t look peculiar. One of the most impressive is the one that displays the name Mahindra Rexton. While the far left upper corner of the SUV owns the owners badge ‘SsangYong’. Coming to the engine specifications, the model Rexton RX7 comes with a powerful car engine, XDi270 diesel engine having the 2696cc capacity and generates a maximum power of 186PS at 4000rpm while delivering a maximum torque of 402Nm between 1600-3000rpm. The similar inline-5 cylinder engine has been fitted in the topmost model of Mahindra Rexton which has a 5-speed manual transmission. The RX7 model of this SUV offers a satisfactory mileage of nearly 11kmpl. Keeping in mind the sheer size of the SUV, the fuel efficiency of 11kmpl seemssatisfactory.

The powerful XDi270 2696cc car engine installed in RextonRX7 is mated to a 5-speed automatic gearbox. The gearbox in this SUV is also a Mercedes product. The engine of this SUV is pretty silent and the cabin is noise free. One would get to know how silent the engine is after inserting the key in the illuminated ring. But the silence breaks when one starts to accelerate Rexton down the road. At higher speeds the engine becomes reasonably audible. Although, the 5-speed autobox is a Mercedes product but shifting is quite lazy. User friendliness is another advantage of Rexton’s gearbox. One can also use manual transmission andeven in manual drive, the gearbox acts on its own as it simply overrides one’s inputs and the cluster doesn’t even show the change.The gearbox may seem a little outdated according topresent times when compared with today’s dual clutch boxes. This Rexton’s gearbox is a torque converter type. There is a time lag between shift timing but still one cannot call the Rexton slow. Rexton can cruise up to a maximum speed of 194 km/h according to SsangYong.  Hill Descent Control and All-Wheel-Drive feature are additional attachment in this SUV.

Mahindra and Mahindra has given due importance to the safety of passengers. It knows the importance of safety on Indian roads and comes fitted with Anti-Braking Locking System (ABS) including two front airbags. Apart from front air bags side airbags are also present for additional safety and for an improved visibility at night a headlight levelling system is provided near the steering wheel. In handling department Mahindra Rexton lags behind a little bit from its competitorSUVs, but considering the specifications of engine, one is sure to be impressed with technical specifications. Further due to soft suspension, the Rexton drive can prove unsettling sometimes especially in cases of rough terrains. But the ‘not so good’ handling of this SUV is compensated by the large 235/75 R16 tyres.

The soft suspensions could also prove blessing in disguise for the urban usage of the SUV. These improve the ride quality of this SUV on city roads as they absorb the furrows and irregularities of the road. So Mahindra Rexton could be winner in the department of comfort on the Indian roads, if we consider the fact that Indian roads are not so famous for speed driving and have high density of bumps and craters.

Rexton seats are comfortable, stylish, modern and trendy. With style comes comfort, so the seats are provided with right type of support needed that makes them more comfortable. The driver’s seat is sufficiently elevated so that one can have complete view of the road ahead. While the Rexton comes with an automatic seat adjust function the top-end variant RextonRX7 has an advanced 8-way electrically adjustable system for the driver’s seat and comes with a 3-preset memory function.  The preset memory function in this SUV remembers ORVM settings. The huge collection of buttons on the equally whooping wheel makes driving a comfortable experience for the driver as the palette of buttons nearly control every function of audio system plus the collection of buttons are available on touch screen. The dashboard of this SUV looks pretty decent and the console system on the board is in continuity with the dual tone vertical split theme. Rexton’s carpets are light coloured and may get easily dirty keeping in mind the Indian traffic conditions. The light brown colour of SUV interiors would provide a luxury feeling to the occupants.

As the latest addition to the SUV segment, Mahindra Rexton, is the most awaited SUV of 2013 and has the potential to prove itself the best SUV to buy for customers. Positive car reviews from the critics are constantly pouring in. But to remain in battle against the seasoned and established SUVs in market like Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Mahindra Rexton has a long distance in to cover in front of it. Mahindra’s large network can also help Rexton in expanding its brand. The price reviews of this SUV are also positive, the base model ofMahindraRexton has a price tag of Rs. 17.67lakh and the top end variant of this SUV has the tag of Rs.19.67 lakh (ex-showroom Mumbai). Mahindra Rexton will surely achieve the best SUV status and surely will be the best SUV to buy among the latest SUVs.