Updated Jan 23, 2013
Mahindra launched the Ssangyong Rexton SUV in India at a really attractive price of Rs. 17.67 lakh for the manual variant and Rs. 19.67 lakh for the automatic variant in October. Prices have since climbed a little to Rs. 20.2 lakh for the top-end variant. Can this vehicle, that’s priced over Rs. 3 lakh cheaper than comparable Toyota Fortuner variants, beat the segment leader? Update: Mahindra Ssangyong Rexton detailed road test and review
CarToq looks at the specifications and positioning of both the SUVs. It’s going to be an interesting scenario playing out over the next few months, with Mahindra’s aggressive pricing and marketing strategy.
Where the Mahindra Ssangyong Rexton is better
There’s no arguing with that. The Mahindra Ssangyong Rexton is cheaper than all the other SUVs it is pitched against in its segment. The Rexton at Rs. 17.67 lakh for the manual transmission is nearly Rs. 3.5 lakh cheaper than the base Toyota Fortuner 4×2 variant priced at Rs. 21.16 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi.
If you look at the automatic variant as well, the Rexton automatic is priced at Rs. 19.67 lakh ex-showroom, which is Rs. 2.3 lakh cheaper than the Toyota Fortuner automatic 4×2 that’s priced at Rs. 22 lakh ex-showroom Delhi. Also read: Mahindra launches Ssangyong Rexton . Prices have since risen by about Rs. 50,000, but so have the Toyota Fortuner’s prices, and hence the Rexton is still more value for money.
Mahindra has also taken the challenge to the mighty Fortuner on features. Both variants of the Rexton are 4×4 variants, with the manual transmission variant also featuring a low-ratio gearbox. The Toyota Fortuner top-end variant is a full-time 4×4, with a low-ratio as well. But the price difference between the two is nearly Rs. 4.5 lakh! The top-end Rexton is an all-wheel drive automatic, while the Fortuner is only a two-wheel drive automatic.
The top-end Rexton also features an electric sunroof, cruise control, hill-descent control, GPS navigation and side airbags, features that are not found on the Toyota Fortuner. DVD player, power folding mirrors etc are common to both. Funnily, the Rexton does not feature Bluetooth, while the Fortuner does. The Fortuner also comes with a reverse camera, while the Rexton only has audible parking sensors.
However, going by the value of the accessories, the Rexton is better than the Fortuner.
The Mahindra Rexton is actually slightly bigger than the Toyota Fortuner overall (except in height). The Rexton has a huge 252 mm of ground clearance compared to 221 mm on the Toyota Fortuner. It also has a 2835 mm wheelbase compared to 2750 on the Fortuner, translating to slightly more cabin space. It’s also slightly longer at 4755 mm compared to 4695 mm with the Fortuner. It’s also wider at 1900 mm compared to 1840 mm for the Fortuner.
Where the Toyota Fortuner is better
The Toyota Fortuner has chalked up a premium brand image over the years and commands respect. It is a well recognized vehicle and is known for its reliability. That’s something that the Mahindra Ssangyong Rexton does not have, at least not in India. The Mahindra brand is well known in India, but is not seen as premium, especially when compared to Toyota. And SsangYong as a brand is going to take some getting used to. Also read:Toyota Fortuner road test
Toyota service standards are much better than Mahindra currently, although Mahindra has a vast service network. Mahindra service stations have just about managed to master servicing the Mahindra Scorpio, and are still coming to grips with the XUV500. It’s likely that it will take a while before the service centers will be geared to service a vehicle like the Mahindra Ssangyong Rexton.
Where Rexton and Fortuner are comparable
Engine and performance
The Rexton is powered by a 2.7 litre, five-cylinder diesel engine that comes in two power output variants – 162 bhp and 340 Nm of torque in the RX5 manual transmission variant and 184 bhp and 402 Nm of torque in the RX7 five-speed automatic variant. The Fortuner is powered by a 3-litre, 4-cylinder diesel engine that puts out 169 bhp of power and 343 Nm of torque in all three variants. Both vehicles weigh close to 2 tons in kerb weight and have comparable power-to-weight ratios.
The Rexton puts out more power than the Fortuner alright, but it’s the way this power is delivered that takes away some of the fun. The Fortuner feels peppier and has more instant throttle response compared to the Rexton. Also the Fortuner has lower body roll compared to the Rexton, which has a softer suspension set up.
The Fortuner has a claimed mileage of 13 kmpl and gives about 10.5 kmpl overall. The Rexton has a claimed fuel economy of 12.4 kmpl for the manual and 11.18 kmpl for the automatic. On average, we expect even the Rexton to be similar to the Fortuner in fuel economy.
The front two rows in both the Rexton and the Fortuner are comfortable. The third row in the Fortuner lacks legroom, while in the Rexton, the floor is too high, which means a person will have to sit with his knees raised off the seat. Both have pretty good luggage carrying capacity with the last row folded (the Rexton has slightly more space).
What we think
If image were taken into account, buyers will still look at the Fortuner as a vehicle that has a bit of a premium image at least in India. The Rexton looks a lot like the Mercedes M-Class since it shares a history with Mercedes. The clinching factor that may work in favor of the Rexton is the value-for-money card – at Rs. 3 lakh cheaper than comparable Toyota Fortuner variants, the Rexton offers plenty more bang for the buck. So will it dethrone the Fortuner? Not really, but it sure will take a healthy bite out of the Fortuner’s sales.
The Fortuner sells about 1,000 units a month on average, while the second best-selling vehicle is the Endeavour at barely 200 units a month on average. The total market for all the SUVs in that price segment is about 1,500 units. Mahindra plans to sell about 5000 units of the Rexton annually, which is about 417 a month. But going with the extremely attractive pricing, it just may do that in just half a year, knocking at least 30% off the Fortuner’s market share. However, if the past three month’s sales figures are anything to go by, the Rexton is just slightly ahead of the Endeavour, at just over 200 units a month, but still way short of the Fortuner’s figures. The Rexton claims to have over 1100 bookings right now and Mahindra is confident that sales will pick up, as it hasn’t been launched in all cities just yet.
Share your thoughts on how the Rexton compares with the Fortuner with the Cartoq community. Would you pick a Rexton over the Fortuner?