SOUTH Korean auto company SsangYong has relaunched its brand in Australia with a line-up of three models including the Musso ute, the Rexton SUV and the Tivoli compact SUV.

Missing from the range is the vehicle we’d most like to drive, the SsangYong Rexton DKR, which the company will use to compete in the 40th edition of the Dakar Rally in Peru in January 2019.

The SsangYong (in name and face only) Rexton DKR is a rear-wheel-driven rally-raid buggy powered by a mid-mounted 335kW petrol V8 engine that is capable of propelling the 1900kg buggy from 0-100 km/h in 4.4 seconds and to a top speed of 195km/h.

In an Australian link, the Rexton DKR’s engine is controlled by an ECU from Melbourne manufacturer MoTeC, a brand with a long history of supplying top-end race teams and performance cars with premium electronic control systems.

The Rexton road car in Australia will be powered by a more subdued 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that makes 133kW at 4000rpm and 420Nm between 1400-2800rpm. It’ll be backed by a seven-speed automatic transmission and part time four-wheel drive with low range, for some genuine off-road ability. It’ll be priced from $46,990, drive-away.

We expect the Rexton DKR will be more costly and harder to get behind the wheel of. It’ll be driven by Spaniards Óscar Fuertes and Diego Vallejo, while key Australians to look out for include 2016 Dakar champion Toby Price on his factory KTM motorcycle and Melbourne dairy farmer Steve Riley in his home-made Commodore ute. Price is the only Australian to ever win the gruelling desert race; for Riley, his ute will be the first Holden to ever compete.

The Dakar Rally starts in starts in Peru on January 6, 2019 and finishes in Lima on January 17. It covers more than 5000km of terrain, including 3000km in the 10 special stages on mainly desert sand-dune country.

Source: Whichcar

December 4, 2018