For much of its existence, the SsangYong brand hasn’t exactly been known for making attractive cars.
In recent years, however, the Korean brand’s cars have started to improve styling-wise, even though there’s still work to do. If the brand’s latest concept cars are any indication of things to come, it’s safe to say SsangYong is on the right track.
Meet the Rexton DKR, SsangYong’s entry in the 2019 Dakar Rally (January 6-17). It has nothing in common with the road-going Rexton other than the name and the headlights. Coincidence or not, it’s the coolest SsangYong we’ve seen in ages.
The Rexton DKR will try to keep SsangYong’s reputation for building rugged SUVs intact and maybe improve it by finishing the world’s toughest rally in the first 20 overall. To achieve that, it’s built to be strong, fast and light.
Developed by SsangYong Motorsport in Spain, the Rexton DKR uses a dune buggy body style that gives it good attack angle and aerodynamics. The body is mounted on a multi-tubular chassis made from chrome-molybdenum and TIG welded for good torsional stiffness.
SsangYong says it’s agile and easy to handle thanks to a curb weight of less than 1,900 kg (4,189 lbs), a Torsen self-locking differential, as well as a double-arm suspension with King shock absorbers and helical extension springs.
Competing in the T1-3 class for two-wheel-drive gasoline cars, the Rexton DKR is rear-wheel drive and motivated by a mid-mounted 458 hp V8 race engine. Mated to a six-speed Sadev SL90-22 sequential manual gearbox, the engine allows the Rexton DKR to cover the 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint in 4.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 195 km/h (122 mph).
Stopping power is provided by AP brakes with “good heat dissipation and resistance to fade.” Finally, the Rexton DKR features 17-inch Yokohama Geolandar off-road tires that can be self-inflated from the cockpit. The car will be driven by Spanish driver Óscar Fuertes with Diego Vallejo as co-driver.
SsangYong wants to improve on last year’s result when the same team finished 32nd overall in the Tivoli DKR.