Big SUV lets you change the sound of your indicators to a galloping horse or singing cricket
FROM noise-changing indicators to off-road ability - this Ssangyong Rexton is in touch with its natural side.
FORGET the flying car, self-driving robots or vehicles that power your telly . . . I have just driven the future of the automotive industry.
SsangYong’s new Rexton lets you change your indicator sound to a cricket chirruping or a horse’s hooves.
In all there are six sounds to choose from – one for each passenger in this roomy 4x4.
The stocky South Korean off-roader is built to lug enormous loads and traverse mountains but I am fixated by those sounds.
The name is beefy enough – Rexton sounds like an overweight dog.
He might guff under the table but, boy, is he at home lolling around in the mucky stuff.
The front grille is styled on a bird in flight – but I see a growling dog’s mouth.
The SsangYong logo is a shiny dog’s nose, and its headlights are pulled back like a hound under a hairdryer.
It is a big beast, probably because the body is bolted on to the chassis rather than a monocoque such as in the Qashqai.
But this isn’t a fake SUV. It is designed to haul horseboxes or caravans and climb muddy slopes in the rain.
Switching to 4WD is as easy as the spin of a dial and the hill descent won my confidence as I took it off-road down some hairy slopes.
Although the 2.2-litre diesel engine is quiet, you do hear road noise.
The ride position is high and the steering light, though it can feel jittery in places.
Whether you are parking in Waitrose or pulling a trailer through a forest, the 360-view really comes in handy.
For an affordable 4x4, the Rexton is packed with tech – safety features, power sockets and USB points, most as standard.
The entry-level £27,000 manual didn’t rock my boat.
The engine sounded loud and the set-up wouldn’t suit smaller drivers.
But the top-end £37,000 auto is great value.
The five-seater will appeal to dog owners and luggers of large loads; and the seven-seater will woo large families.
Throw in the free five-year warranty and this is a serious contender.
SsangYong wants to be known as the Korean Land Rover, appealing to farmers and the show-jumping set. But the Rexton may go more mainstream.
Oh, and did I mention those chirruping cricket indicators?