At a time when several important players have withdrawn from the UK pickup market, SsangYong has set out its stall by making its contender bigger and bolder than ever.

The Musso Rhino LWB is now the largest double cab pickup with the biggest load bed on the market in Britain.

The introduction of this ‘longbed’ Musso was a move designed to underline the South Korean manufacturer’s growing reputation as a specialist producer of pickups and SUVs.

With its longer wheelbase, you now get 31cm of additional load length, making it an even more practical workhorse.

That brings an extra 35-45kg capacity, meaning the more sizeable Rhino can carry 1,140kg. Even more impressive is the fact it can carry a payload of over a tonne while also towing 3.5 tonnes – the only vehicle in its class that can pull off such a trick.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The SsangYong Musso Rhino pictured on test in West Yorkshire in atmospheric weather conditions in the Pennine hills of Kirklees

The Rhino’s strong ladder chassis enables it to provide a substantial towing platform, while the selectable 4x4 system offers trustworthy traction in all conditions.

During a week in its company, I was able to shift a whole variety of large appliances and household items while assisting a friend with a house move.

It was noticeable how easy it was to load such items and how the vehicle’s handling and acceleration coped well under the extra weight.

Such strong performance under considerable strain was helped by the Musso’s 420Nm produced by Musso’s torquey engine.

What’s more, the six-speed automatic gearbox, from Japanese manufacturer Aisin, produced very smooth shifts to ensure the rear luggage wasn’t rattling around during step-changes.

You’d think such brawn would come at the expense of comfort and refinement, but the Rhino is surprisingly well-mannered.

Indeed, the vehicle is extremely well kitted out, boasting an array of advanced safety and infotainment technologies.

Despite being potentially the hardest worker of the line-up, the Rhino is also positioned at the top of the range in terms of spec, gaining creature comforts such as dual-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel and additional technology,

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The SsangYong Musso Rhino pictured on test in West Yorkshire

The infotainment system is controlled through a 9.2-inch HD touchscreen with TomTom navigation.

There’s no shortage of space up front, with the raised ride height offering a commanding view of the road ahead. That double cab provides the flexibility to push the Rhino into action as a family vehicle when necessary, as it can accommodate five occupants, with people sitting in some degree of comfort on the second row.

The soft-textured nappa leather seats can be electrically adjusted and are heated front and rear.

You’re conscious of a bit of engine noise getting into the cabin, but nowhere near as much as you’d expect from a vehicle in this category.

The vehicle's length means the front and rear parking sensors offer much-valued assistance in tight spots, while blind-spot detection and lane-changing assistance also come in handy.

In terms of looks, the Musso has a distinctive appearance.

At the front, the ladder-style grille catches the eye, while the bold headlight units include daytime running lights, projection headlamps for better night vision, LED positioning lamps and directional indicators.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The SsangYong Musso Rhino pictured on test in West Yorkshire

The triple LED fog lights complete Musso’s frontal statement with both style and function.

For a commercial vehicle, it doesn’t look bad from the rear either, with the back lights adding to the purposeful design which features the SsangYong ‘shoulder wing’ image on the rear tailgate.

The look is competed by the Rhino logo on the side and the addition of 17-inch alloy wheels.

The Musso range starts from a shade under £23,500 excluding VAT, but you'll pay £31,495 exc VAT for the Rhino LBW version, or £37,728 with VAT.

Whichever way you look at it, it's a lot of vehicle for your money.

SsangYong Musso Rhino LWB 2.2 Diesel

PRICE: £37,728 on the road (inc. VAT)


POWER: 181hp

TRANSMISSION: Six-speed automatic with manual mode, 4x4

ECONOMY: 31.4mpg combined

EMISSIONS: 237g/km

MAX SPEED: 107mph