The SsangYong Rexton, the Korean brand’s rival for the Isuzu MU-X, is getting a boost in power and a fresh face for 2021.

    It’s set for a March 2021 launch.

    The Rexton’s standard 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine has been given a bump in power and torque, up 15kW and 21Nm to 148kW of power and 441Nm of torque.

    The uprated turbo-diesel is now mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, replacing the old seven-speed.

    The increase in power and torque pushes it past the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (133kW/430Nm) and the current MU-X (130kW/430Nm), while it’s close to the next-generation MU-X due this year (140kW/450Nm).

    SsangYong’s teaser page lists fuel consumption at 8.9L/100km, which makes it thirstier than the current car’s combined fuel economy of 8.3L/100km, as well as the MU-X (7.9-8.1L/100km) and Pajero Sport (8L/100km).

    Braked towing capacity remains unchanged at 3500kg, besting the MU-X (3000kg) and Pajero Sport (3100kg).

    The 2021 update brings a more upscale new grille and revised headlights, along with a new LED tail light signature designed to help the Rexton stand out.

    All 2021 Rexton models will continue to come standard with the following safety features:

    • Nine airbags
    • Autonomous emergency braking
    • Blind-spot monitoring
    • Lane-departure warning
    • Rear cross-traffic alert
    • Front and rear parking sensors

    The base ELX will come standard with the following features:

    • 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
    • Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter
    • Ventilated and power-adjustable front seats
    • LED headlights
    • Dual-zone climate control
    • Keyless entry and start
    • Tyre-pressure monitoring
    • Automatic high-beam
    • 18-inch alloy wheels

    The Ultimate adds:

    • Surround-view camera
    • Leather upholstery
    • Wireless phone charging
    • Heated steering wheel
    • Power tailgate
    • Single-pane sunroof
    • Illuminated sill plates
    • 20-inch alloy wheels

    The Rexton has its work cut out for it in a large SUV segment brimming with options.

    Last year, SsangYong sold just 323 examples of it, though sales were up 51.6 per cent.

    Unfortunately for the Rexton, two of its similarly sharply-priced rivals were also up in a torpid sales year: the Haval H9 (349, up 11.9 per cent) and the LDV D90 (715, up 170.8 per cent).

    While the H9 is petrol-only, its fellow countryman from LDV offers both turbocharged petrol and diesel engines.

    The latter puts out 160kW and 480Nm from its twin-turbo 2.0-litre, putting it closer to the likes of the Ford Everest, though its 3100kg braked towing capacity falls short of the Rexton’s.

    MORE: SsangYong Rexton news and reviews

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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