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First Oz look: Ssangyong updates Rexton

Coming soon: The Rexton RX270XDi will be on sale in Australia in April.

Korea off-road specialist plans model expansion down under

2 Mar 2004

SOUTH Korean brand Ssangyong will ramp up its quiet return to Australia when it launches a new turbo-diesel version of the Rexton mid-size four-wheel drive wagon here in April.

The brand went back on sale here about 12 months ago and has spent that time developing its distributor network and selling only a few hundred vehicles.

This is the third different venture for Ssangyong in Australia, previously sold through both Mercedes-Benz and Daewoo dealerships.

In 2004 it hopes to ramp that up towards 1000 sales as a 50-strong dealer network comes online and its range expands.

Leading the way is the RX270XDi, which made its local debut at the Melbourne motor show as the headline act for importer Rapson Holdings.

Rapson also announced a new utility version of the Musso and the return of the Korando short wheelbase off-roader.

The RX270XDi is fitted with a new third generation 2.7-litre common rail diesel engine mated to either a five-speed manual or a new Mercedes-Benz five-speed automatic transmission with tiptronic change.

There is also a strong Benz link in the engine design, as the German company still has a share of Ssangyong and has been a technology supplier.

Benz’s future links with Ssangyong are unclear because China’s largest automotive group, China Blue Star, is in the process of purchasing the company from a creditor bank which took it over after the old Daewoo Motor Company collapsed.

28 center imageThe XDi’s new five-cylinder common rail engine produces 121kW at 4000rpm with a maximum torque of 340Nm from 1800-3200rpm. Ssangyong claims acceleration from 0-100km/h in 13.4 seconds.

Features of the new Rexton include standard electronic stability program, a brake assist system, auto cruise control, speed-sensored power steering, Torque On Demand four-wheel drive, battery saver and a parking brake warning signal.

The XDi is on sale from $42,990 for the manual while the five-speed automatic is priced from $44,990.

According to GoAuto InfoTools that pricing pitches the XDi up against a host of light-duty four-wheel drives such as the Mazda Tribute and Subaru Outback, but only a few serious off-roaders like entry level versions of the Toyota Prado and Mitsubishi Pajero.

The existing RX290 Sport turbo-diesel will continue from $37,990 as a manual and $39,990 in four-speed automatic from.

The RX320 Sport petrol inline six also continues, priced from $39,990 for the manual and $41,990 for the four-speed auto is $42,990.

Topping off the range are Limited versions of the XDi and 320 Sport autos, priced at $52,990.

The Rexton’s Benz-sourced petrol engine produces 162kW at 6100rpm and a peak torque of 312Nm at 4600rpm, while the turbo-diesel is good for 88kW at 4000rpm and 256Nm at 2250rpm.

The Rexton is built on a traditional off-roader ladder-type chassis with a double wishbone front suspension and five-link rear-end.

Seven seats and dual air conditioning is available as a $2000option on all Rexton models.

In other Ssangyong product news:* The Musso Sports dual cab utility will be on sale from May 2004 and will start from $26,990 for two-wheel drive manual and $29,990 for four-wheel drive manual. Automatic will be a $2000 option on both 2WD and 4WD.

The only engine available for the Musso Sports will be the 2.9 five cylinder, inter-cooled turbo-diesel.

* In May, Ssangyong will also re-introduce Korando with the 2.9 diesel as the only engine option in both manual and automatic, soft-top and hard-top.

Prices for the Korando will start from $24,990 for the manual hard top, and $27,990 for the soft top. Add $2000 for the auto option in each case.

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