Thirty miles per gallon! I thought I’d never see it. And the air-punch is even more intoxicating than all those repeated inhalations of alcohol hand sanitiser. Okay, it’s hardly headline stuff, but I’ve been gelling with the Rexton rather well. Yet, like some inappropriate uncle you hide the sherry from, this model’s broadly pleasant personality has been nobbled by its drinking habit. Run your Rexton on a diet of short, local pitstops and you’re staring at results that tank around the 25mpg mark. However, by summoning the skills I gained from MPG driving marathons of yore and exploring the sweetest spots of the seven-speed Mercedes-Benz automatic gearbox, I’ve achieved this breakthrough and remain confident of treading beyond the 32mpg mark.
All said, we should not be popping corks for any model in 2020 that does frugality as convincingly as a sumo does ballet, but the Rexton is no supermini and it is, from lofty roof down to those massive tyres, a proper 4×4 seven-seater. So there’s mitigation at least. I wish I could also say that the vastness of the project spells do-anything versatility, but as this domestic scene illustrates, the load capacity is curtailed by the fact that the sixth and seventh seats fold flat-flush. Sure, there’s an adjustable load floor section that can be raised to meet their edge, thus ensuring a flat loading surface (while the resulting length is also commendable). But the distance between headlining and floor measures 75 centimetres at the edge of these folded seats. And most sofas, I can attest after extensive measurement, do not limbo beneath that height. Hence my plans to dispose of two family-abused sofas at the nearest recycling centre were suddenly not so swift, after I realised they’d need to be filleted beforehand. And as for sofas to replace them, as I write this, I am yet to discover any sufficiently lozenge-shaped to be Rexton-friendly. That or I give in, listen to the kids’ complaints from the carpet and hire a van from Avis.
I sense the above isn’t going to be on a dealer’s coffee-table any time soon, but you have to balance my gripes against the Rexton’s list of pluses. Maybe most crucially for the brand’s journey, this is a handsome hunk of a machine. From the bold nose all the way to the uncluttered tail, via the neatly muscular wheel arches, it exudes raw Rex appeal. And space inside is a great balm when you have fractious lockdown-frazzled youngsters on board. Ours have taken to living in different rows, rows killing rows, so to say. For that reason, I’m grateful this isn’t a five-seater. As we move into the hottest section of summer, there’s also the cooled-air ducting through the front seats to relish. Given a back weary from sofa dissection, I’m exercising that button all day long.
Date arrived 19th March 2020
Fuel economy 32.9 (WLTP combined) 30.4mpg (on test)
Sky view for reversing adds confidence, given the car’s size.
Fuel bills… but it’s a work in progress.